According to a 2013 HBR survey of 3500 global senior executives on culture and change management, the success rate of major change initiatives is only 54 percent. This is far too low. The costs are high when change efforts go wrong—not only financially but in confusion, lost opportunity, wasted resources, and diminished morale. When employees who have endured real upheaval and put in significant extra hours for an initiative that was announced with great fanfare see it simply fizzle out, cynicism sets in.
Our experience with organizational change management suggests that there are three major hurdles to overcome. The first—no surprise—is “change fatigue,” the exhaustion that sets in when people feel pressured to make too many transitions at once. Lack f a long term sustainable strategy isth second reason many change initiatives fail. The third major obstacle is that transformation efforts are typically decided upon, planned, and implemented in the executive office, with little input from those at lower levels.