Whether your change challenge is a multinational transformation initiative or a five day Kaizen event, managing the inevitable need to change needs to be understood and managed.  When asked why initiatives fail, one of the top reason most often given is the blanket statement, “a lack of change management”. To avoid this ubiquitous pitfall, organizations need to begin the change journey by understanding the complexity of the change effort that is being faced. This simple and critical assessment, if done with diligence, will get your team off to the right start.

To score your Change Challenge matrix is straight forward; change management teams typically rate each element by identifying the level of complexity their organization faces against the five change assessment elements. The next step in the process is to identify the processes, functions, or staff who will be impacted by the identified issues. The insight provided by this due diligence is critical.  Assuming one does not ignore the identified impacts, a course of action can be charted to counteract the identified issues.  In some situations, the effort may be abandoned as the change challenge may be deemed to be too great to overcome. Typically this is the exception and not the rule. More often, the challenge is understood and a plan is developed to overcome the various elements to ensure success. 

When this exercise is not performed with appropriate due diligence, the complexity, scope, and resistance of the change challenge  may not be truly understood. When one combines a lack of understanding with limited change capabilities, the initiative could be facing a potential disaster. The tangible cost of these types of failures is manifested in both the short term and long term for an organization. In the shorter term, transition costs, productivity disruption, and customer service failures are the typical results. In the longer term, profitability, customer retention, and reputational issues can be traced back to the lack of change planning. To facilitate the avoidance of these risks, take the time to know and manage your Change Challenge.