70% of change programs fail to achieve their stated goals. What do we need to do differently?

Time to choose a different approach.

You are about to implement your company’s new strategy, and this will require you to shift people’s behaviour, change what they do and how they have been working to date. So what approach will you take? A ‘directive’ approach or a ‘collaborative’ approach?

Analysis from some of the largest consulting companies and academics have demonstrated that around 70% of all transformations fail to achieve their stated goals (McKinsey & Co 2013), usually due to human factors not being skilfully attended to. The biggest variable identified between success and failure came down to the kind of change approach selected.

The least successful being a ‘Directive’ approach, with instructions on what is to be done and how it is to be done set top down and tightly controlled and the more successful being a ‘Collaborative/Adaptive’ approach where within a common purpose and direction, the organisation is engaged to co-create the change together.

Question to you: I’m curious to hear from others involved in transformation programs, large or small, your opinions as to why organisations continue, to pursue approaches to change that have proven to fail 70% of the time? What approach do you prefer? What has been your experience?