Why Change Initiatives Fail

Jun 23, 2020

Whether it be for your sales teams, service teams, or in your culture itself, 70% of all change initiatives fail.

There is one overriding factor why most change programs fail, and it’s this:

Most change programs completely ignore human psychology.

No amount of great tools, great strategies, and benefits and perks you offer your employees can make up for ignoring human psychology.

Fact: Big changes rarely work.

Ever gone on a diet and failed at it? Ever taken on a resolution that you gave up after a few weeks (if not a few days)? If that is what happens at the personal level, how can it be any different at the organizational level?

Organizations spend a fortune in formulating strategies, developing products, teaching their sales staff the latest sales training methodology, getting tools and having a stocked fridge and cool lounges to “build culture.”

So what are the principles that work? What creates lasting change in your culture? In your sales team?

Consider water on a hot day.

If you throw a bucket of water on the ground, it won’t take long for it to evaporate away.

But take the same bucket of water and let it start forming a very small trickle. Let that water continue to flow out for the day, and you will notice that the water starts to pool together.

Most organizational change initiatives are like dumping a bucket of water.

There’s a big announcement by the CEO or by the sales manager, consultants come in, new vendors come in, there are speeches and a bunch of changes are pushed down.

That’s the bucket of water.

All those resources, time, and money evaporate soon. The stream of ideas barely have time to shape anything within the organization.

But if you focus on creating a small trickle of action, the effect can be significant. It can be so significant as to shape mountains and canyons.

This is the approach you need to create change that sticks.

Want to change your culture? Want to change your sales team? Want to change how your customer service?

Start with creating a small stream of changes. This is important because of one overriding factor in human psychology:

Most people don’t like overwhelming change. As humans, we seek a level of control with just enough stimulation to keep things interesting.

I help you create change within your organization taking human psychology into account.

Crises are not Enough

Many leaders believe that the market conditions demand rapid change and their employees have only 2 options: get with the program or leave.

Does this mindset help your organization grow?

What is the cost of replacing and retraining someone else to do that person’s job? What is the cost to the culture of an organization that demands this?

Are you likely to get your employees to voice out potential landmines along the way with a “get going or get out” message? Are you likely to get long term commitment and loyalty to the organizational purpose this way?

The answer is obvious. It is expensive to get rid of and get new people. The stress you create on your employees and the culture can’t be outsourced to a meditation app. You are not likely to engender lasting loyalty, trust, and respect with the organization.

If you’ve gotten results in the past this way, you can do even better with a different approach that respects human psychology.

More than ideas and strategies, it is our ability to unite and bring people together that is the competitive advantage that is unbeatable.

What is the Approach?

Stage 1: The Mindset

The first part of thinking about any change is to first think about mindset. We start off by adjusting how we view our customers, our prospects, our employees, and our vendors.

People are not objects to push, manipulate, drive, or any other such language that permeates modern organizations. The behaviors, the actions, the systems you design with this perspective creates dysfunctional companies that crack over time.

No wonder people so many dislike salespeople! No wonder the boss is seen is an enemy, and not an ally!

People are people, and we first try to understand how people like to change. You will gain a deeper insight into how you can change yourself as well.

This first step alone has created tremendous changes for people in how they think, decide, and act upon change.

Stage 2: The Map

In the second part, we look over the change that needs to take place and I work in evaluating the gaps that need to be crossed. This might mean interviewing your teams, your leadership, and your customers.

For many, this is a revelation because they have never seen the world from others’ eyes. This is about getting a map of the land to see how far apart everyone is on the terrain.

We need a map of the mental terrain of where your employees, vendors, customers are with any change to figure out how to bridge the gap.

Most leaders just assume that everyone is already at the same starting point. This is a big mistake that costs you time, money, and stress.

We don’t get to action before creating the psychological map of people.

Stage 3: The Action

Now we can get to work! I design and help implement the small “trickle of water” described above to create easy changes that compound with time.

Don’t try to get your entire sales team to start using the new CRM perfectly in one day. Don’t expect them to prospect in a new way immediately. Don’t expect your organization to become more willing to help each other out.

It starts with you and all other leaders.

I create 30-60-90-120 day plans with incremental actions that compound over time.

This is the heart of my work whether it be in sales or strategy or culture. I design these steps with you and your team, and by taking those steps together, you can transform cultures and performance.

Sometimes, it begins with a leader reaching out to an employee every day and talking with them about everything other than work. This encourages other leaders to start doing the same. This small incremental action can compound over greater team morale and greater cohesion and psychological safety.

Research show that this psychological safety is the #1 factor in creating the best performing teams. It is the feeling that creative conflict is welcome because it creates better outcomes, and no one will be judged for being themselves.

Stage 4: The Course Corrections

This stage takes place concurrently with the above stage. We continuously monitor progress & course correct to make sure we’re heading in the right direction.

Sometimes, the right direction can change. Organizations are surprised to find themselves going into a new direction altogether which is a lot more surprising, fresh, and better than you would have foreseen.

This happens when employees & customers start being treated like humans and not “assets” or “prospects”.

People speak out more. People take greater responsibility.

When people take small easy steps to change that compound over time, they feel confident in their ability to go even further.

Customers want to do business with you when it is based on trust and respect.

How to Begin

Step 1

Contact Me – Describe the issue you are dealing with and what your attempts at solving them so far have included. You can be as brief or as detailed as you want. You can expect to hear from me within 24 hours. You can contact me here.

**Step 2

Go through Clarity Call** - Lasting between 30-75 minutes, we will go through the call and understand the outcomes you are aiming for. My goal here is to start creating clarity for you.

Step 3

If appropriate, receive a plan of action - We will determine in the call itself if we have the ability to work together. If we do, expect to receive a simple proposal within 24 hours on how you can create the outcome you want.

FAQs

Q. What are your fees?

I do not charge hourly. I start off with $5,000 minimum for the first two stages which includes a workshop for up to 20 people, as well as the change mapping exercise in Stage 2.

This is not counting for the complimentary Clarity call I mentioned above. Beyond that, we can work in implementing the map, and course corrections based on the value I generate for you.

I will not draw out our work in order to bill you more hours. I believe it is in our best interest to work to solve the problem as quickly and effectively as possible. This also means you aren’t making an investment decision every time I engage with you and your organization.

Q. Why can’t I do this myself?

You can also fix the pipes in your house yourself when the basement is flooded, but it is often more effective to get someone external to help you. An outsider like me gives an unbiased objective view on your company.

Q. Why work with you?

Other consulting firms have layers of people around them. I am a solo-consultant with skin in the game with my clients and my business. Unlike larger companies, my reputation is on the line with my work. This means you can expect great responsiveness, and results-orientation than others who bill by the hour cannot provide. Plus my experience, thought leadership as a solo-consultant, and education makes me equally qualified.

I do not take on clients whose needs I cannot meet anyways. It isn’t good business for me to do that. We can determine this in our Clarity Call.

You can also read testimonials from other business leaders here.

Q. What geography do you serve?

I travel and work remotely as appropriate for the work at hand. Currently, I serve clients in North America and Europe.

Any other questions? Fill it out on the form above and let’s get talking!