When do you obtain the return on investment in terms of any organizational change? Nobody would argue that the return is realized only once the change has been implemented and the new processes have been fully executed. No return on any investment has ever been realized by the mere intention to change.
However, the reality in most organizations is different: strategy implementations and change programs dissipate after the needed changes have been outlined, the responsibilities have been assigned, and the actual implementation has begun. Progress is not consistently measured, the accountable leaders move on to other assignments, and the motivation of involved people shrinks once they haven’t seen any of the much anticipated change for a while.
That kind of waste of resources and money is remarkable since the investment has already been made–however, in vain.
What to do to avoid the dissipation of change momentum?
- Determine objectives and progress measures beforestarting any strategy implementation or change initiative. This includes clarifying responsibilities and the process for measuring the progress.
- As the accountable leader, be rigorous in following up on the measures. Don’t focus on change methods. Insist on results. Many managers do it the other way around.
- Never ever let any project dissipate! Declare either failure or success. The former leads to the immediate end of the program, the latter to successful implementation. Most organizations waste tremendous amounts of money and resources by trying to compromise on success or failure.
In times when financial officers look for margin growth and cost savings... I wonder how much money they leave on the table by sticking to change programs that cost a lot to design but are actually never implemented.
This blog entry is from our Friday Noon Memo, the weekly memo for high-performing leaders and organizations. Click here to subscribe.