The biggest mistake I see organizations make is they decide what change needs to happen at the executive level and then they tell the rest of the organization what it is and what they need to do.

They forget that the rest of the organization has not wrestled with the problem, dealt with the change and figured out their role with it for the last few months like the executive team has.  Therefore, for the rest of the company, the new edict baffles them as to what it is, how it differs from the past and what they are suppose to do with it.

In order to combat these the most important part of change needs to be monitored–the campaign to sustain the change.  I think Rosabeth Moss Kanter said it best when she said, “CEO’s and senior executives make pronouncements about change all the time, and then launch programs that get ignored. To change behavior requires a campaign, with constant communication, tools and materials, milestones, reminders and rewards.” People have to see the importance of it, understand it and more importantly, FEEL it.

Think about diet and exercise.  Is saying, “I am going to lose ten pounds” going to make you lose weight?  No.  But looking at how you are shopping, what exercise you need to do and changing your lifestyle is what will help you lose the ten pounds.  Too often I see companies saying “we are going to…” but they don’t ever examine what is currently happening that will or won’t make that work, what changes need to be made, and then how they will ENFORCE those changes.  Instead it is left up to each individual to interpret what and how they will execute to the new change.

Hence, it becomes for the employees the “flavor-of-the-month” and they just sit it out because they know in another year it will change again.

So take a moment to look at change you want to see.  Ask yourself:

  1. What will stop this change from happening?
  2. What do we need to do to make it successful?
  3. How will we enforce this change?

If you aren’t willing to enforce it or you are hoping people will embrace it, don’t make the change because it will just cost you lost time and direction.

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