Most organisational change projects fail

by 15 Dec 2008

NEARLY 60 per cent of projects aimed at achieving business change fail to meet their objectives fully, with the biggest obstacles to successful change being rooted in people and corporate culture, a global study has found.

Sixty per cent of the executives and project managers surveyed said that changing mindsets and attitudes is the biggest challenge to implementing change in an enterprise, followed by corporate culture at 49 per cent. These challenges were flagged as more impor tant than shortage of resources, high lighting that these problems are seen as inherently more difficult to solve, even if given sufficient resources.

“In tight economic times, a wise investment in establishing an internal capability will result in reduced ongo ing costs for change management on projects (rather than hiring in exter nal specialists) and increase project success rates,” said Matt English, strategy and change lead, A/NZ for IBM, which conducted the study.

“The increased levels of change due to the turbulent environment will only exacerbate the need to effectively man age change to maximise success and the achievement of project objectives, and adequately managing the people- oriented issues (that is, the “soft stuff”) was found to be the most significant change challenge.”

English said that HR profession als must help invest in building an internal, sustainable core change management capability within organ isations. This must be accompanied by a specific and formal change man agement method that is consistently used on projects.

The study of more than 1500 change management executives from 15 coun tries found the most common business objectives for change programs were cost reduction (57 per cent), higher customer satisfaction (48 per cent) and increasing revenue and sales (40 per cent).

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