10 Mistakes to Avoid When Managing Change

December 13, 2023 Maddie Grant

Change is an inevitable part of the business world, and how you manage it can make or break your organization’s success. As workplace culture designers at PROPEL, our mission is to help organizations navigate change effectively and create a workplace where all humans love to work. In this blog post, we’ll discuss ten common mistakes to avoid when managing change in your business, drawing from our expertise and experiences.

1. Neglecting the Human Element

One of the most significant mistakes is neglecting the people affected by the change. Change can be unsettling, and not addressing employees’ concerns, fears, and emotions can lead to resistance and decreased productivity. To avoid this, communicate openly, listen actively, and involve employees in the change process.

2. Lack of a Clear Vision

A clear and compelling vision is essential for guiding your organization through change. Without a well-defined purpose, employees may feel lost and disengaged. Ensure that your vision aligns with your Massive Transformational Purpose (MTP) and communicates the benefits of the change to all stakeholders.

3. Failing to Communicate Effectively

Communication is key during change management. Inadequate or unclear communication can lead to confusion and misinformation. Craft a robust communication plan that includes multiple channels, feedback loops, and consistent messaging to keep everyone informed and aligned.

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4. Overlooking Cultural Fit

Change initiatives should align with your organization’s existing culture or include plans for cultural evolution. Ignoring cultural fit can result in resistance and pushback from employees who value your current culture.

5. Rushing the Process

Change should be well-paced and thoughtful. Rushing through it can lead to mistakes, resistance, and a lack of buy-in. Take the time to plan, execute, and evaluate the change process thoroughly.

6. Ignoring Resistance

Resistance is natural during change, and ignoring it can be detrimental. Instead, acknowledge resistance, identify its root causes, and address them constructively. Encourage feedback and involve resistors in shaping the change whenever possible.

7. Neglecting Training and Development

Implementing change often requires new skills and knowledge. Neglecting training and development can leave employees ill-equipped to navigate the change successfully. Invest in training programs that empower your team to thrive in the new environment.

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8. Focusing Solely on Short-Term Goals

While short-term goals are essential, it’s equally vital to consider the long-term impact of the change. Short-sighted decisions may lead to unintended consequences or hinder your ability to achieve your BHAG and MTP.

9. Lack of Accountability

Change initiatives require clear accountability structures. Failing to assign responsibility for specific tasks and outcomes can result in confusion and delays. Ensure that everyone knows their role in the change process.

10. Neglecting Continuous Evaluation

Change doesn’t end once it’s implemented. Continuously evaluate the impact of the change and be willing to make adjustments as necessary. Regular feedback loops and data analysis are crucial for ongoing success.

Successfully managing change in your business requires a strategic approach that prioritizes people, vision, communication, and cultural alignment. By avoiding these common mistakes and embracing a proactive change management strategy, you can create a workplace where your employees thrive, and your organization flourishes. Remember, our ultimate goal at PROPEL is to help organizations like yours achieve self-driving culture change, and it starts with effective change management.

Maddie Grant

Maddie Grant, CAE, is an expert culture designer and digital strategist who focuses on helping organizations unlock the power in their culture and navigate culture change. She has specific expertise in digital transformation and generational differences in the workplace. She has explored the language of workplace culture for several years through her books, co-authored with her partner in business and life Jamie Notter, including Humanize: How People-Centric Organizations Succeed in a Social World (2011), the Amazon category best-seller When Millennials Take Over: Preparing for the Ridiculously Optimistic Future of Business (2015), the Non-Obvious Guide to Employee Engagement (2019), and Culture Change Made Easy, coming out in Fall 2023.