By Dora Wang
Part 2 of 3
In our last article, we looked at some examples of successful change management. Now, let's shift our focus to some instances where things didn't work out as planned.
But the move never really took hold. Higher-end consumers were decidedly underwhelmed and lower-end consumers started looking elsewhere for bargains. Walmart got a new advertising agency and forged on. But it was not to be. In 2012, they announced plans to refocus efforts on low prices.
(Recently, however, now that its traditional superstores are losing traffic, Walmart has begun experimenting with upscale goods in smaller stores. Will this strategy work better the second time around? We’ll see.)
Unfortunately, customers hated the idea and criticized JCP’s implementation. The company suffered a 20% drop in profits in the first quarter of 2012, along with strong negative consumer feedback. JCP’s then-president, Michael Francis, announced his resignation soon thereafter.
Unfortunately for JCP, consumers want sales, and they want coupons even more. There's something about getting a deal, even a fake one, that feels good.
Futher, as consumer sentiment shifted, Borders refused to build up its e-commerce capabilities. Instead of launching their own site like B&N had done, the company chose to outsource their internet sales to a relatively new company called Amazon.
We all know how that turned out.
When changes are too incompatible with the existing brand — or when they just come too late — the odds are stacked against them.
Now that you're familiar with what successful and unsuccessful organizational change efforts look like, it's time to learn about why companies opt to change in the first place.
Reasons for Organizational Change
Here are a few examples of obstacles you can turn into opportunities:
Take charge to close the gaps. Maybe reorganizing teams and reallocating personnel will result in more efficiency. You can take a look at the distribution of budget and resources to make sure everyone has the tools they need.
You might also work with individual employees during performance evaluations to align each person’s goals with the big-picture vision.
While you're at it, invest in new tools, devices, and platforms that enable your workers to stay productive wherever they happen to be. Not only will your team become more effective, they'll also become more engaged.
Exit interviews are vital. But don’t wait until someone quits to react. Reach out to see if the members of your company are happy — and if not, why not.
Do managers need additional training? Is the company culture in need of an overhaul? Engagement surveys let your employees tell you how your organization is doing now, before they decide to leave.
It isn’t always possible to predict when organizational change needs to happen. But you can keep an eye out for the signs that indicate the time of need is approaching. Being proactive gives you more time to prepare for success.
Take a look at some of the top reasons employees say that they resist change:
44% don’t understand the change they’re being asked to make
Over one-third don’t agree with it in the first place
If the members of a company don’t understand or agree with a change, that means there’s a deep disconnect between that change and the culture. It could be that the change goes against the established values — or maybe the overarching vision just hasn’t been communicated clearly.
And don’t get misled by early success. For the change to actually last, employees need to stay committed even when it’s all “done” and no longer a top priority.
On the other hand, values are permanent. If the change doesn’t mesh with them, the change won’t last. You can push and pull with temporary pressure or rewards. But that progress has to be reinforced by your culture to truly become a part of your organization.
This article by Dora Wang originally appeared in TINYpulse.