Bad Change Management Examples

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Bad Change Management Examples
khanjan, Student (MBA), India, Member
Who can share a live example of a company implementing change management miserably? What went wrong and why? Thanks!

Change Management Worst Practice
Jaap de Jonge, Editor, Netherlands
One change management mistake was to appoint a young, ambitious and energetic change manager to introduce a new strategic technology concept throughout a large consulting organization.
This change manager had a very strong drive for the innovation and was anxious to achieve progress quickly. So far so good it would seem. However he was impatient to make sure everybody was on the same page and involved, and did not take enough time in the beginning of the project to educate and convince the rest of the organization that the change was really important for its future. The result was that after some time the change manager and his small team were the only ones trying to achieve the strategic change, leaving the rest of the organization behind. Certain parts of the organization with an interest to maintain the status were successful in blocking the entire change effort.

Bad Change Management
AMOS APPIAH, Manager, Ghana, Member
Human beings have always constituted the major source of resistance to change. How successful an organization's change management will be is highly dependent on the management of the concerns of the human resources available to the organization. Change management is a team process that should encompass all stakeholders of the organization. Change managers should have input from all stakeholders, particularly, the staff of the organization. Bad change management often ensues when there is misunderstanding between change managers and stakeholders of the organization.

Change Management Real Life Experiences
amandalewis, student, United States, Member
These articles are very helpful for students who are gaining their masters degrees. We need to read all of the real life experiences about the topics to better understand what is happening in the workplace.

Change Management Leadership
Gabriel Montgomery, Strategy Consultant, Sweden, Member
Why is no one talking about change leadership? I think the real problem is that too many try to manage change instead of leading change. There has to be a healthy balance between the two.

Change Management - Bad Experience
Gary Monti, Consultant/Educator, United States, Member
I believe it is better to know what question to ask than to have all the answers. The energetic, ambitious manager probably can see to infinity but with a span of vision about 0.1 meters. Success requires the blinders coming off and listening becomes almost a full-time activity. So, why was this person put in charge? Greed is a possible answer. For example, imagine there aren’t enough resources to bring about a needed change. Also, imagine a senior manager getting a 20% bonus upon the completion of the change. Wanting to please superiors a naive, narrow-minded-but-well-intentioned manager says he can make the changes successfully (unaware of the realities of the situation). The greedy manager will probably put him in charge. With that power structure in place agendas are hidden and it becomes next to impossible to bring about any lasting, successful changes. If the situation is bad enough a cynicism will set in that can make the situation worse than the original situation that created the need for the change.

Failure to Recognize Change Needs
To stick to a plan takes dedication, but failure to recognize change needs to be done, is fatal management.

Change Management Worst Practice
Anthony Houston
This example illustrates an abject failure by management to do their job. There cannot be any change, let alone change that is successful in implementing the new strategy, unless all senior management agree with the program and support it. If they did then the change holdouts could not block the change.
I have been involved in major change initiatives that were vital to the company's continued existence, and they were blocked at every turn by one person who had all the knowledge (and would not share it). Sacking that person caused two days of upheaval, we sent three people on software training courses and the entire change program was a resounding success.
My point is that if you don't have the signatures of all senior management on the change document - forget it. Don't waste your time pushing it uphill when someone else is holding the chain.

Mitigating the Downside of Over-enthusiasm
Gautam Lamba, United Kingdom, Member
From the replies above is seems that you often have individuals who is very excited/motivated because they can see the benefits the change will bring. But either:
- they are unable to communicate those benefits
- the benefits do not extend to everyone in the organization
- they simply do not wait for everyone to 'catch up' before forging ahead to the next step.
To mitigate this, wouldn't a simple oversight body that ensures collaboration, support and a set of checks to garner feedback be adequate?

When Bad Change Management Occurs
Krishna Bakaraju, India, Member
One can say that bad change management occurs when a stakeholder and the change manager are not in synch with each other. Either they are not ready for any change or are not willing to work towards organizational goals. It can be assumed that the change manager is not effective in his job of getting things done by the stakeholders.

Change Management and Communication
gurrin, medical, United Kingdom, Member
Communication... the one skill that any manager can not do without, especially when dealing with change. If you can communicate effectively then you are half way there.

Change Leadership & Management
Gabriel Montgomery, Strategy Consultant, Sweden, Member
My experience is that you have to both lead and manage change.
- LEADING CHANGE is all about setting direction, creating shared understanding and commitment.
- MANAGING CHANGE focuses on planning, setting targets, driving for quality, control cost and delivering consequences of good or bad performance.
In failed change projects one or both is missing or poorly executed. It is also common to compensate lack of one with more of the other and that is a really bad idea leading further away from the desired future state.

People Have to Choose Change
Ellen Lake, Coach, Australia, Member
You can't manage change or change people. People have to choose change. And people will choose change when they connect with the greater vision, the end result, and it becomes a personal experience.

Change Managers not Needed
Balachandran Nair, Bank Official, India, Member
You don`t need change managers if you have a proactive HRD that encourages feedback, both positive & negative, from all employees and adresses the same in a structured manner. I totally agree with Ms. Elen Lake who said that people have to choose change.

Recognising the Need for Change
Wesley Floyd, Consultant, United Kingdom, Member
Wow! I'm quite new to his site and these are all really interesting threads and very inspiring. My question is... How do you persuade people of the need for change when they cannot see it themselves? When they are just all so busy running around fighting fires, I find it is very difficult to get them to invest the time in strategically planning a sustainable way out.

Find the Way to Communicate the Benefits
Rebecca Roe, United States, Premium Member
Nobody really likes change, but change occurs constantly. We just may not realize it. The situational management style seems to work very well to individualize and prioritize what and who needs to be involved to study the need for change and implement the change. You always have those who blindly accept change and those who will initially always reject change. The key to implementing strategic change is to find the way to communicate the benefits of the change if there is a choice. If change is mandated by regulatory changes or due to negative outcomes or inefficiency data, then that too needs to be communicated possibly through case study scenario. I feel that if people know the rationale for the change, the buy in will be more successful. If leaders don't support it, then say how you feel, don't sugar coat it. Let your followers know that even though it may be painful, the benefit will outweigh the resistance.

Crucial Actors, Participation and Communication
vrooland, consultant, Netherlands, Member
Most success stories are based on good leadership. Those are little helpful for other managers. You can identify the crucial actors and ask them about their own advantages or their advice to moving others. After that participation and communication are crucial. Sometimes, pilots will help a little,

My Change Management Amalgamation
Rebecca Roe, United States, Premium Member
Good leadership is a complex amalgamation of trial and error, research, and a true love of working with people. My definition of what makes a good leader may differ from others, but I do value what you say about asking advice about moving others. Mistake proofing change (planning for the pitfalls) is crucial to laying the change blueprint out and being able to make necessary adaptive measures to facilitate the transition. I work with very literal and rigid folks who want decisions to be long lasting. They are very resistant. So my role is to think of all the landmines, external and internal, which makes my focus more in tune with the anticipated outcome. Envisioning what I want to see when the change is complete is the first step. I really like the oz principal when looking at who is committed to assist and gives me valuable tools to articulate to others where we are going and what it will look like. That to me is good leadership. A clear vision of where we are going and that we are going together.

@Wesley Floyd: How Do You Persuade People of the Need for Change ...?
Gabriel Montgomery, Strategy Consultant, Sweden, Member
You don't. It is a question of getting a shared understanding of reality. If management and rest of organisation have different perspectives on reality there will be resistance. To apply change management in that situation will be more or less hopeless. As soon as “management pressure” is reduced, things will go back to “normal” as it is defined by the organisation’s immune system.
First step in change leadership is always to get a shared understanding of the present situation and then create shared view of what a desirable future would look like. When those two are in place you can start to plan for how to get to that desired future. Involving people in that process will dramatically improve your chance to get commitment.

Persuading People to Change via Strange Attractors
Gary Monti, Consultant/Educator, United States, Member
The key is finding people's strange attractors. Strange attractors are stresses that if let unaddressed will cause damage or destroy a situation. They can be positive (selling a contract requiring more resources than we have) or negative (entrance of a new competitor into your market niche). Change is motivated from within. You can only work with their strange attractors and show how cooperating with you is in their best interest. Otherwise, you are asking them for charity.

Persuading to Change
vrooland, consultant, Netherlands, Member
Why should they cooperate with you? Not always necessary. Working in the same direction is enough. En why persuading? With good questions about common or individual interests you can get the wind blowing the right way. Asking to think or to do the same things is too much. Change is about the wind blowing in the right direction. Participation and dialogue are based on recognising individual differences. But perhaps I believe too much in chaos-theory.

@Vrooland - Persuading to Change
Rebecca Roe, United States, Premium Member
They don't have to cooperate--that's their choice. You can look at it in two ways.
1) Find out who's committed to work with you and for you for the betterment of the organization --you make it clear that they work for you or go somewhere else. Or
2) Listen to the resistance and find solutions based on your feedback. These are the landmines or roadblocks that can make or break the implementation of change. You set a time frame for feedback if the change is not immediately mandated, once you get your feedback then act on it. If feedback is not given during that time, then move on and address those problematic people as necessary. You gave everyone a chance and honored their input, but there are limits. You can discuss and discuss and nothing gets done.

Facilitating Engagement and Creativity
Ellen Lake, Coach, Australia, Member
I totally agree with Wesley Floyd. When people are encouraged and invited to share an honest view of current reality and can also share in the desired end result there is more chance of facilitating engagement and creativity. Otherwise the temptation is to manipulate people through managing variables and then all the energy becomes focused on the variables.

Leading Change
Wesley Floyd, Consultant, United Kingdom, Member
Thanks all for your comments. It really helped me clarify a few things, so it's been very reassuring.
In essence, I think, it's a question of believing a change is needed and then recognising what aspects really need to change to make a fundamental difference. One can tweek around the edges but without clear, sustainable vision and SMART objectives any change is superficial and not sustainable for the long term. I also agree with Gabriel in that management and org may not agree on what the real problems are and therefore may resist. However, I particularly like the idea of renaming resistance to 'feedback' mentioned by Jutta (above).

Producing Innovation
Carlos Oliva-Velez
Though many companies cannot stop innovating from scratch in order to survive (i.e. software industry), some others need to "push" for innovation. This process is not only related to individuals but mainly to organizing, systematizing the way you approach and decide on innovation. I call this the need of an "innovation machine". As any machine it will demand, resources, organization, procedures and systems. Without this kind of organization general trend will be to minimize the impact of innovation instead of propelling it. There is no standard innovation "machine" like a CRM as I know. Thus each company needs a tailored machine that can cope with each business environment (external and internal).

Introduction Change vs Credibility
Rene Sirois
Another thought on change introduction: Each company has its own culture and history. The success of introducing change will depend on the credibility of its management. That credibility has been built over the past year. If that is not there, your employees will resist and complain. The acceptance of change needs to be supported by good rational. Also employees need to dicover a benefit for themselves.

Change Managers not Needed
Nelson Hernandez Manso
Q: How many psychologists are needed to change a light bulb?
A: Only 1, but the bulb "would desire the change"
Agree with Ms. Elen and Mr. Balachandran.
And I add: if the pyramidal celestial bosses don't show themselves on all the changes meetings: forget it! As Mr Antony (Australia) said.

PRASAD SN, Professor, India, Member
Kudos to 12 manage for throwing up such a great subject for discussion.
I feel that one of the major reasons for resistance to change are:
- Lack of frequent communication between the top management and the people who are being subjected to change.
- Secondly, the fear of unknown and uncertainty play greater part in making a person to resist change. Here, the opponent even if he does not understand the purpose of change in the larger interests of the organization, still resists.
- Thirdly, any change, which is not inclusive in affecting the entire organisation, but favors one or few categories of people, may lead to the organization to bear the brunt in the long run.
- Lastly, the bottom pyramids of perception-belief & power-politics are closely related to the values of culture, ethos and esprit de corps. These evoke extreme sensitivities in the subject and the resistance to change is stronger on these counts.

When Bad Change Management Occurs
Mosa Justin, Management Consultant, Madagascar, Member
Bad change management occurs when:
1- the diagnosis of the situation is not well done
2- there is not a holistic approach of the issue
3- the adaptive questions are not tackled
4- the implementation of the new vision is is done through people not committed to the change because of lack of communication and lack of courage to fire if needed those who do not believe on change
I agree with the fact we need both to lead and to manage change.

My Change Management Points
Roger Shields, Management Consultant, United States, Member
First, the previous points made are very interesting. My comments are basic:
1st: the key to managing change is to keep everyone involved informed. The "rumor mill" is your worst enemy.
2nd: understand, that no matter what you do, people are gong to perceive any change as either positive or negative.
3rd: be aware that there are specific sequenced emotional reactions to a negative as well as a positive perception. If you understand that this is normal, and you know the reactions, then you can better deal with each individual. If handled correctly, the end product is completion and acceptance.

Bad Management Occurs
Responsibility is a funny concept to some.

Relationships/communication is the Key to Successful Implementation
I know we're all discussing things that went wrong here however I would like to point out what could have made it go right. Having just done a lot of research on the topic of change management I have found that the key to making change a success is mostly based on 2 factors: communication and personal relationships. If either of these fail then so too does the change program itself as people don't perform their roles as planned. In many cases you could blame a worker for poor performance and so forth, however he was employed on the basis that he knew what he was doing and so this assumption change failure gets discarded. Other reasons for what could make the implementation a success is based on certain management qualities which are sometimes lacking.

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