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Why do so many businesses struggle to achieve change?

Many business owners that I engage with have a desire to effect important change in their business – often relating to growth or transformation or both - but struggle to achieve it. Why?

A common explanation is that change is hard. When you read statistics such as “50% failure rates for IT projects” and “only 30% of employees hired considered a success by their employers”, it’s easy to accept the explanation, but is all change difficult?

Think about a situation when change has been forced upon you – a key employee tenders their resignation or market conditions change swiftly for the worse – and how clearly you make decisions and how effectively you can implement those decisions. In these circumstances, your readiness to effect change is heightened and streamlines the way for action.

So, part of the explanation for why business owners struggle to achieve important change is their lack of readiness – they lack the motivation to change, the confidence to do so or a plan to achieve it.

Think about an outcome that you viewed as difficult – expanding into a new market or transferring operational control to a new leader or leadership team – but then a competitor or a peer successfully achieves that outcome and how your perception of difficulty and attitude changed. Suddenly it’s doable because someone else has done it.

So, part of the explanation for why businesses struggle to achieve important change is their belief system acts as a blocker – they lack the confidence or the self-belief to pursue change.

Think about a situation where you’ve employed or contracted an expert to do a job for your business that you or your employees have struggled to do themselves – build your website or complete a piece of technical work - and how easy it seems for them to do what you couldn’t. In these circumstances, your capability to effect change has improved by accessing resources with the right skills and experience.

Another part of the explanation for why businesses struggle to achieve important change is their capability – change is hard to achieve unless your business and your people have the skills and experience to effect it.

If you think of change as a process with certain conditions increasing the chances of that process succeeding, then that means that those conditions are capable of being measured up front, identifying where those conditions are poor or low and doing something about changing them.

So, if you’re a business owner contemplating a substantial change in your business, how can you assess and improve your chances of success?

Start by asking yourself these three questions:

1) Is your business ready for the change?

2) Does your business believe it can achieve the change?

3) Is your business capable of effecting the change?

The answers will provide you with some insight to your chances of success and what you should focus upon to improve those chances.

If you'd like further information or discuss, please contact our Principal Cam McMillan on 0436 474 797.

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