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Up to 70 per cent of all change management initiatives fail, according to research carried out at the Ken Blanchard Companies. Yet, change is being forced upon us every day — whether we like it or not — and being able to cope with it and take advantage of it has become a key competency in business.
Any organisation that ignores or resists change is likely to go the way of Kodak, which turned its back on digital photography and filed for bankruptcy in 2012.
The thing that drives resistance to change is fear. In Kodak’s case, it was a fear that film-less cameras would take away the film giant’s business. It tried to kill off the idea and ended up being mortally-wounded itself.
Nobody knows what lies around the corner: it could be another economic shock, new business-transforming technology, threat to your client base or a natural or man-made disaster. This kind of uncertainty can lead to high levels of anxiety, which means that even small changes — such as the introduction of new software — can have outsized impacts.
Managers have their work cut out to try and get employees to comply with variations in behaviour or routine to ensure that introduced changes succeed, rather than getting tossed onto to the pile of the 70 per cent that fail.