All businesses must adapt to changing customer needs, technologies, market conditions, costs and competition to remain effective. Change management is the practice of managing the impact of these changes on your business’ people.
According to McKinsey 70% of change management programs fail. The largest single factor is poor internal communication. Take Daimler’s failed ‘merger’ with Chrysler. What seemed like the ideal marriage of complimentary products and market presence failed. Why? Chrysler’s more relaxed management approach jarred with Daimler’s formal, numbers-driven ethos and whatever communications strategy was in place failed to bridge the gap. Consequently the companies shed shareholder value and split seven years later, in large part because Chrysler’s employees felt too disenfranchised by Daimler’s hierarchical style of decision-making.
Rapid technological advances now prompt increasingly unpredictable change. To cite a less unpredictable case, the U.S. Postal service has shed 200,000 workers in 10 years as it struggles to match its competitors’ cost efficiency and diversify away from a product largely substituted by email. Its top-down communication culture and failure to listen to its people has prompted many experienced people to quit, leaving novices in charge of critical operations and thus exacerbating its decline.
Established businesses need to get better at change management, and fast because there will be a lot more of it in the years to come.
Here are seven things that I have learned while helping organisations save money and become more profitable:
Christopher Winning is an expert in change communication in large organizations, helping to build the strategy, and working with diverse groups to roll it out to employees.
Christopher has worked with CCOs in 150 large companies and has experience in change management, reputation-building, project management, coaching and facilitating learning sessions.
He started in broadcast journalism where he covered events in Latin America for NBC News, based in Mexico and later in Europe and the Middle East for Sky News, based in London. Chris has an MBA from London Business School and an M.A. in Spanish and Russian from the University of Edinburgh. He speaks English, French and Spanish.
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