Strategy – Execution & Change – 70% failure or success?

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Why do organizations have a 70% (source: Forbes) failure rate in implementing, executing and successfully adopting change?

Strategic Planning

Recently, via a human capital consulting firm, I was asked about my experience and expertise in working with companies to facilitate effective change and strategy execution.  When I thought about the two, I realized that the two must go hand in hand.  I thought about how I have worked with various industries, company sizes, locations, et al and realized that the one thing that is consistent is the inconsistency.  What this means, is that company may measure and they may manage, yet they do not necessarily do them together and in synchronicity. When I replied to the interviewer with the information below, they proceeded to tell me that I was correct.  So my question is, how can your perception and experience be incorrect?  It can be different approaches, strategies, results, etc., yet wrong?  All of us have different experiences and approaches to the way that we deal with change and executing strategy for results, yet the end “result” is just that, “RESULTS” and having time and cost effective ways to measure and manage YOUR business.

Change is just that.  How you make adjustments in your business. So again, Why do organizations have a 70% (source: Forbes) failure rate in implementing, executing and successfully adopting change?

In general most organizations are not working in synchronicity with one another.  What this means is that while change may be the norm instead of the exception in today’s world, the opportunity that exists is how people adopt, adapt, implement and of course monitor, measure and manage.

CEO’s and thus there businesses focus on the symptom over the system. We always seem to stop and start initiatives.  We get people excited about what we want to do, implement surveys, assessments, programs and the likes, yet then what do we do with it all afterwards and how do we know if change has been or will be successful?  This is the $1M question.  

  • How do you plan and communicate consistently and constantly?
  • Can you measure results? 
  • Do you know what results you are measuring and why?

Stops and starts without any real communication do not make for appropriate and realistic change.  As complacency grows, leaders listen less, which makes complacency grow some more. It can be a vicious cycle.

Years ago Elizabeth Kubler-Ross created a process on death/dying, and over the years this has been transcended into many aspects of our everyday lives, inclusive of business.  The bell curve  (denial, anger, bargaining, fear/depression, acceptance) that she identified works well as it translates to business change initiatives.  Exorbitant failure rates come from lack of continuity and synchronicity. 

Businesses spend so much time talking to and about business to their employees, yet they do not speak with them.  This is a huge concern and opportunity.  When things don’t happen, loss occurs and initiatives do not transpire as they should, then who gets blamed, where do the fingers get pointed at, when do things get to the simple point of looking at whether it was something about what was being measured and managed and if it was consistent.  

So often the change, the loss, the doing or not doing is about the lack of coordinated effort and the toll and cost on the business is huge and often unknown upfront.

Simply ask yourself whether you can clearly identify what you do (Vision) and how to support it (Strategies), and does your organization know them clearly and use them to measure and manage to?  You cannot have a clear change initiative if you do not have clear plans, processes and communication.   You cannot have clear plans, processes and communication if you are not on the same page as a business – Vision and Strategies – and measuring your Activities to and against the same Vision and Strategies.  So how can you believe that change will be successful and easy, if you are not measuring and managing on and against the same things?

Again, simply, are you aligned and executing together and how do you know? 

Strategic Execution

Work toward the system/process  – measuring and managing  – over the symptom, and create change from the 70% failure to success.