Mistakes In Mistakes

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Ten Common Mistakes in Leading Transformational Change

After more than three decades of working with executives in organizations undergoing transformational change, we are in the unique position to be able to identify best practices and common mistakes being made across industries. This document provides an overview of our latest findings.

There is no reason to be repeating mistakes we can so plainly name. We want to make you aware of these mistakes so you can both avoid them and consciously set up your organizational change efforts to produce successful results. Here are the mistakes, along with a brief description of how they play out, why they occur, and what to do about them. Consider the degree to which your current organizational change
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Employees know they are being asked or pressured to change, but they often do not know why in terms that are meaningful to them. This makes it difficult for them to personally commit to the organizational change. Leaders often experience this lack of commitment as resistance, but actually, it is simply a lack of understanding about why the changes are essential to the success of the business.
This is usually NOT an employee issue, but a leadership issue. Smart people, hired into organizations, commit to what they believe in. And to believe in anything, people must see its relevance and meaning. Without perceiving relevance and meaning, there is no commitment.
In general, relevance occurs when people see how something fits into the larger scheme of things. Most major organizational change efforts are initiated to enable the organization to effectively implement its overarching business strategy in response to marketplace dynamics. When people can see how the organizational change contributes to business success— how it responds to the marketplace, the company vision, and the execution of strategy to achieve the vision—they perceive the change as relevant. This big picture view gives the change purpose, and raises the awareness of the workforce. Leaders are responsible for ensuring stakeholders have this larger understanding.
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An enterprise change agenda enables executives to ensure that they are focused on the most strategic of organizational change efforts required for business success, and that they have the capacity to lead these changes effectively. It ensures that the organization is focused, aligned on its priorities, and able to measure the ROI it needs for business results from organizational change. A common change methodology enables greater coordination and integration across change efforts, and enables the leadership development required to ensure strong oversight of change. Change infrastructure encompasses change governance and standard systems and practices for setting up and orchestrating the effectiveness of organizational
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