Why do some people see change management as unnecessary? Why do far too many senior managers think change management is something they can make up as they go along?
It’s usually because they buy into one (if not all) of these all-too-common change management myths:
1. The myth: People will always adapt to change.
The reality: People resist change, even if it means the organization may suffer. Although we are a naturally adaptive species, we are also cautious, so resistance is a common reaction to change.
2. The myth: Our managers know how to manage change—it’s what we pay them to do.
The reality: Many managers lack the necessary skills and training to manage change, and even if they have done the training and do have the skills, chances are that they are so caught up in carrying out tasks on a day-to-day basis that structuring a change implementation program is the furthest thing from their minds.
3. The myth: Change happens – you don’t have to manage it.
The reality: Too many factors can converge and sabotage change. Studies show that without change management, between 50 and 75 percent of all manufacturing and technology change projects fail; up to 76 percent of all business re-structuring efforts do not produce the expected results. Experts are unanimous that it is crucial to manage people throughout change. Left to chance, change can be as detrimental to an organization as no change at all.
Change doesn’t just happen, and it’s not something you can ad lib. It requires a solid framework that includes a plan and a process, as well as skilled people to design, implement and anticipate the implications of that plan and process.