Many people believe that an effective Change Management process, has become essential in delivering successful projects and getting a return on investment. This is part 3 in the series about change management. This article will look at the negative effects of insufficient change management as well as the barriers to a successful implementation of change. Click Part 1, Part 2 to read previous articles before this one.
Common barriers to the successful implementation of change, include the following:
- Lack of shared vision and an understanding of what needs to be accomplished
- Change fatigue
- Lack of leadership support or alignment
- Sustainability of the project
- What is happening outside and in parallel to the change
- Not enough understanding of how to measure the value of a benefit.
When change management is insufficient, it can have some negative effects. Let’s look at a few.
Employee retention levels may drop
During times of change, especially when the people component is being neglected, it may bring about the loss of key staff. If people are not being heard or equipped to manage the change, people may choose to move onto another environment.
Insufficient focus on managing the impact of change on people
The objective of change management is to minimise the impact of a project and to support the realisation of benefits and to embed the change. Without sufficient change management the focus on the people aspects of the change is neglected and all benefits reliant on people will not be realised.
Risks may not be highlighted
One of the roles of a Change Manager is to highlight the risks that would impact on people. A lack of risk management, may also have an impact on the project timeline.
Drop in customer service
If users who are going through a change experience a productivity dip, or an inability to use the new system or any other negative side effects, it will have an effect on the customers they deal with. It can result in loss of customers and damage to an organisation’s reputation.
Increased resistance to change
People who are not involved in the change process and having change forced upon them, often shows signs of active resistance or even anger. Often just by engaging with employees and allowing them the space to raise and address concerns, can provide a platform for resolving their issues before they impact on project success.
Lower adoption or adaptation to change
Without managing a change properly there may be an increase in resistance and a greater likelihood of impacted staff not adopting a new system or new way of working. Change Managers often play the role of a bridge between the solution and the users and without this bridge there may be poor or no adoption.
Lack of ownership or shared vision
A project or change initiative has an end date. This means that after project completion some-one will need to own the change and ensure its sustainability going forward. During the course of the project there needs to be alignment and shared vision. When perceptions and visions aren’t aligned and no-one is taking ownership of the success of the implementation, the benefits will ultimately not be realised.
Negative impact on productivity
Productivity dips can be caused by factors such as a lack of planning, duplication of effort, despondent employees, ill-equipped stakeholders and business as usual versus project responsibilities overlapping. By equipping the individuals with the knowledge, skills and abilities they need to cope with the change, the dip in productivity can be minimised.
In addition to this, the issue of role uncertainty can negatively impact the individuals within the project team and stakeholders involved. When people are unsure or what they’re supposed to be doing, they can swing from either doing nothing or doing too much of the wrong thing.
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