Success that kills – Beware of the Silver Bullet
You have done everything right so far. You overcame the uptake problem, you secured commitment and built momentum. Your implementation quickly produced significant results. You met everybody’s expectations. But your change initiative still failed.
Often people assume an implementation will continue to thrive and produce benefits once it is well begun. It is true that benefits gained early can help to justify and give momentum to the implementation. Unfortunately, if benefits of an change initiative start well before the organizational DNA has changed, an associated “silver bullet” effect can lead to the failure of the implementation.
The initial problem, the reason for the change initiative, was solved and therefore the urgency relieved. Your success turned out to be a silver bullet.
Who wants to continue to pour time and money into a problem that is solved?
Unfortunately, there are still associated costs: internal experts, consulting support, licensing fees, and so on. Without continues support your change initiative will fail.
Another reason for disappearing support could be a changing business environment. The replacement of a senior executive could lead to a complete change in the focus of an organization or a market downturn could result in drastic cost cuttings. In other words, the perception of what problems exist, and their urgency, changes over time.
Therefore you have to make sure to monitor the level of urgency at all times and secure continues commitment by communicating the value of your change initiative.
Furthermore most change initiatives represent a real shift of paradigms for most organizations. Until new habits are part of the organization’s DNA and the old habits are gone, people have to weigh alternatives and consider multiple approaches. They have to think. Meanwhile, the old approach continues to be an easy option, so backsliding is common. Until the DNA has changed and new habits formed, the change process is not complete.
Your goal is to “Making change stick”, to produce and sustain long-term benefits.
In my next blog I will outline a process which will support you in the achievement of this goal. Part 5 will be online available from Dec. 17th on.