Change Management Challenges That Could Derail Your Next Project
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Change Management Challenges That Could Derail Your Next Project

Constant organisational change has become the norm for most businesses today, and there are many reasons why. These include the need to pursue growth opportunities, respond to economic challenges, adapt to technological change, or manage competitive pressures. Yet still so many organisational change initiatives fail to achieve their intended outcomes and such failures may even stymie a business’s potential and its people.

This article outlines some of the most urgent change management challenges organisations need to address.

Change Fatigue

When an organisation experiences multiple changes over a sustained period, there is a real danger that people will be overwhelmed and lose their sense of direction and belonging. This can lead to a general sense of anxiety, stress, apathy or passive resignation we call change fatigue. Is this inevitable? It doesn’t have to be.

In far too many cases, a change initiative is the brainchild of a senior executive following a personal agenda. This forces people to implement a change process that has been conceived with little consideration of the realities on the ground. Confusion and resentment are the result, as people scramble to keep up with their boss’s disjointed demands.

Successful organisations mitigate change fatigue by having clear decision-making processes and being rigorous about which change initiative is prioritised.

Change Resistance

The term resistant is often an unkind label planted on employees who struggle to come to terms with shifting targets and expectations in the workplace. It reeks of judgement when leaders bemoan the erosion of productivity, the lack of enthusiasm or a bafflingly uncooperative mood in the team. And yet, it is the most natural of human responses to be confused when asked to navigate the fog of ambiguity and complexity that a change effort can create.

People crave clarity. Where are we going? Why is this journey important? What about that other thing that’s also going on? What’s in it for me? Am I allowed to give my input to the process? These are all questions the change leader needs to respond to when guiding people through the messy, uncertainty of a change process.

Change Continuity

How can organisations offer teams a semblance of continuity in the face of ongoing change impacts from outside and from within? Not changing at all is often not a viable option, and teams need a certain level of stability to keep core business processes running smoothly. Alignment should be at the heart of any organisational culture. So organisations need to ensure that change initiatives are coordinated, connected and coherent.

Coordinated in the sense that appropriate people resources, budgets and executive sponsorship are available to manage them. Connected meaning that, rather than conflicting with one another, initiatives are aligned towards a shared strategic goal. And coherent from the perspective of managing change in an understandable and meaningful way, within the context of the wider organisation.

Conclusion

The lack of effective change management can be disastrous and long lasting, so it’s important that change agents understand the issues and equip themselves with techniques to ensure a successful change management process.

It is critical that change management expertise is embedded throughout the organisation; from management teams deciding on the change priorities, to managers helping their team navigate through change, to teams implementing the new ways of working.

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