5 Warning Signs Your Change Project May Be in Trouble

Posted by Don Harrison on Wed, May 29, 2019 @ 10:51 AM

Between Healthcare and Business Transformation, the amount of money currently being spent on organizational change is staggering. Unfortunately, as the amount of money being spent on transformation continues to rise soIs Your Project in Trouble? do the number of unsuccessful implementations. Recent studies confirm only 25-30% of all business changes achieve full benefit realization. Yes, you read that correctly. 

Approximately 70% of business and healthcare initiatives continue to be sub-optimized, if not facing outright failure. Thankfully, there are several clear warning signs your project may be at risk of becoming just another statistic.


5 Indications Your Project May Be Heading for Trouble


There is No Clear, Concise Picture of What the Future Looks Like
Here’s where I usually ask, “If you don't know where you are going, how will you know what it will take to get you there?” The starting point for every change must be a clear, compelling definition of the change. Most projects have a project charter that states objectives for a timeline, a budget and the technical objectives. Where the problem typically lies is the lack of a commonly held definition of the business and human objectives. These human objectives are the behaviors you need to see in the future if the change is implemented successfully. What we are doing? Why are we doing it, and what are the consequences if we don’t succeed? What are the new behaviors we need and that we will be able to observe in the future, and how will we measure those behaviors?


There is Too Much Focus on the "Go Live" Date, Not Enough on Sustained Adoption
Unfortunately, organizations often make the mistake of putting all their focus on getting to a project’s “go live.” The thought process is, “If it runs and hums, we are done!” This is what I call successful installation. I find most organizations are very good at installing all kinds of changes. But when you measure success at the point of installation, it’s just change at the surface level; you are not getting sustained behavior change, and therefore, value realization for the investment made. Remember, a project cannot be successful until all 5 of the following measures are met:

  • It’s delivered on time
  • It’s delivered on budget
  • The technical objectives are achieved
  • The business objectives are achieved
  • AND it meets the human objectives that have been established for the change

Agents and Sponsors are Focused on Actions That are “Safe,” But Have Low Impact
Simply put, your Change Agents and Sponsors can be very busy, but are they busy doing the right things? With the rate of change at an all-time high, organizations simply cannot afford to have their resources spend time on things that are not delivering value. The pace of your project is based on Sponsor drive, not on the level of project activity from the project team. So, it stands to reason that if your team isn’t focused on securing active Sponsorship, creating Reinforcement, and dealing with resistance, your project could be in trouble.


Sponsors Say They “Support the Change,” But Reinforce the “Same”
It is critical for Sponsors to be consistently expressing, modeling, and reinforcing their personal and collective commitment to the change. But, when there are inconsistencies between what Sponsors say, versus what they do, and even more importantly, what they reinforce, you have a problem. This includes Executive leaders down through the middle layers of your organization. When you have Sponsors at each level of the organization who are expressing, modeling and reinforcing their commitment to the business change, you will get acceleration and ultimately a successful implementation.


Lack of Rigorous Governance
If you are investing in an organizational change that is transformational in scope and complexity, you can't have multiple approaches with no oversight on how the program is being managed from the portfolio down to the sub-project level. The governance structure should provide a clear line of sight from strategy to portfolio to programs, projects and sub-projects.


Are you currently implementing a change? Do you see any of these warning signs? To fight back against the plague of sub-optimized projects, organizations need to employ a structured approach to implementation, (such as the AIM Change Management Methodology). AIM provides systemic, systematic principles, strategies and tactics that can be the central cog of every project, regardless of your project management protocols. It serves as a robust planning and execution tool for the people side of any implementation. Using the AIM Change Management model is one way to tackle these warning signs and may be the best way to take a step in the right direction toward full value realization for your change initiatives.

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Topics: Change Management Methodology, Barriers to Change, Accelerating Implementation Methodology (AIM), Value Realization/ROI