Chapter 2Lack of Clarity Regarding What We are Trying to Achieve and Why

‘Clarity is the most important thing. If you are not clear, nothing is going to happen.’

Diane von Fürstenberg17

Having delved into some of the detail as to why people don't like change, let's continue our exploration of the other reasons why 88% of change initiatives fail.

Change initiatives that fail, fail to provide their people with credible answers to four key questions:

  1. Q1: What are we trying to achieve?
  2. Q2: What does success look like?
  3. Q3: Why do we need to change?
  4. Q4: What is in it for me?

Q1: ‘What are We Trying to Achieve?’

This the most important question for every single change initiative to answer. Actually, it is the key question for any leader and any manager to ask themselves a dozen times a day. Too many change projects fail because they don't manage to clear this first and most important of hurdles, and subsequently what they are trying to achieve is:

  • unclear
  • unrealistic and/or
  • immeasurable.

What business outcomes are we trying to deliver? What does success look like? How will we measure it? These questions need to be answered to the satisfaction of all involved – before the change leadership should even contemplate moving on to addressing ‘why’.

Clarity of Business ...

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