Leading Successful ChangeRecently I’ve been reviewing our lessons learned on organization and culture development. This is in preparation for our June 17 webinar on Leading a Peak Performance Culture.

“Making Change Work … while the Work Keeps Changing” is a new research report from IBM summarizing interviews and online surveys they conducted of over 1,400 leaders responsible for designing, creating, and implementing change in their organizations. A key conclusion, consistent with hundreds of studies on organizational change going back to the early eighties, is “only 20% of respondents are considered successful in managing change.”

The IBM study identifies and ranks 14 “most important aspects of successful change.” Here are the top six with percentages of participants citing them:

  • Top management sponsorship (83%)
  • A shared vision (64%),
  • Corporate culture that motivates and promotes change (57%)
  • Honest and timely communication (53%)
  • Ownership of change by middle management (51%)
  • Employee involvement (46%)

The study calls these “soft factors” and notes that the lowest ranking aspects such as efficient structure and roles within the organization are “hard factors.”

What’s the most effective means of changing attitudes and behaviors? Here are the top five:

  • Involve leaders in role modeling (73%)
  • Establish and communicate a compelling case for change (73%)
  • Identify and empower people who are passionate about change (64%)
  • Align performance goals (45%)
  • Use reward and recognition systems (28%)

The list of the biggest challenges implementing change has “corporate culture” at the very top. This is well aligned with decades of rigorous study and our own experience. View our Leading a Peak Performance Culture webcast now.