Two stats that reveal how most organisations struggle to lead & deliver change


January 29th, 2014

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The Roffey Park Management Agenda 2014, due to be launched on February 27th,  contains a great deal of meaty and interesting data. Two things that jumped out as I read an excerpt were this:

  • 77% of HR managers report their organisation has attempted culture change in past five years
  • 37% of HR managers said cultural change had not been “that successful”

The reasons respondents gave are several, and sizable:

  • The sheer scale of change required
  • A lack of appetite for the risk associated with change
  • The failure to take account of the ‘unwritten realities’ of the organisation, relative to change
  • An over-reliance by HR on systems and processes rather than equipping managers with the capabilities to hold effective conversations

Those last two are particularly striking.

Dancing in the shadows

The failure of any organisation to get to grips with the unwritten realities is fundamentally about the inability to engage with its ‘shadow side’, defined by Gerard Egan as:

All those things that substantially and consistent;y affect the productivity and quality of the working life of a business, for better or worse, but which are not found on organisational charts, in company manuals, or in the discussions that take place informal meetings.”

The art of conversation

Organisations are relational human systems. Changing patterns of behaviour requires interpersonal skills rather than the ability to wield a good model or tool. If all you want to change is the server you use to process data, maybe you can get away with not talking to many people (technical change). If your change is about how people work with each other or use the server, the ability to influence, support and challenge comes to the fore (adaptive change).

An unashamed plug

The above goes to the heart of why our Leading and Delivering Lasting Change programme is relevant to managers and leaders, in HR or not, who are struggling with how to successfully change the organisations they work in. It is not the only way, clearly, and we advocate that whatever you choose to do, thinking of change in organisations as being anything other than both a technical and relational challenge is a recipe for increasing the % of HR managers who next year say their organisations have not been successful in changing their culture.


This webinar was held recently which goes into some detail in terms of what the Leading and Delivering Lasting Change programme offer participants.