“The Reasons Why Many Change Programmes Fail”

Part 9

Disregarding the Domino Effect

This month I’m looking at another reason why significant change programmes can fail. “Disregarding the Domino Effect”

In this blog I am going use personal experience from my own observations of “disregarding the domino effect”.

Firstly, let us just remind ourselves of what we mean by the domino effect.

It’s when a person or group of people in an organisation, with all good intentions, makes a change in the business to address a potential issue and that change has a negative effect on other parts of the business or organisation. This is true when sometimes the change is only a symptom, but other times it is a genuine root cause.

I have found over the years in consultancy, this is far more common than we ever wish it to be, and as I said, it’s often driven by good intention. However, it is also driven by inappropriate management and management infrastructure.

The main reasons for this to happen are…

  • Individual budgets where individual managers are only driven by their own department’s success
  • Lack of communication between different functions and areas of the business
  • Lack of planning and attention to detail
  • “Group think” where departments think alike and lack creativity
  • Lack of the use of problem-solving methodologies that promote the testing of ideas before implementation
  • Lack of holistic thinking leading to “reductionism”
  • Binary thinking where people think things are only joined in a logical linear fashion

Reductionism is when an individual or group look at one single symptom and do not see the connections between things in a holistic fashion. Inside an organisation everything is joined up (yes everything, one way or another, like a ball of cotton wool!). Reductionism is the curse that prevents a good understanding of change management and causes so many problems. You must know of many examples yourselves.

I see these following examples often…

  • Increase in sales without the manufacturing capacity to match the volume
  • Maintenance budgets reduced and then long-term chronic issues affecting production machinery
  • IT upgrades that prevents the functionality of end users
  • New commitments by managers at management meetings without understanding the detail
  • Despite having well-formed plans and objectives a senior manager trying to address an isolated incident and sending everyone in a tailspin

How to prevent reductionism and therefore the domino effect.

  • Use a problem-solving methodology that promotes thinking and gaining the understanding of the consequences of one change against another. For example, the use of force field diagnostics or even simply a SWOT analysis, brainstorming the potential weaknesses and threats of such a change
  • Make an agenda point of a cross functional management meeting an item where everyone shares what they’re doing, any highlights and discuss concerns about it.
  • Insure you have a Plan-Do-Review-Improve mentality to adopt more thinking when reviewing and improving implementation of ideas
  • Find many opportunities for cross functional communication
  • Use multi-functional teams when problem solving even if it is perceived that the problem is in only one area
  • Join the business up with the “NewLeaf International OGSM Process”, where every department and every location is connected to the top-level business objectives and vision

In a good OGSM implementation every department and location are joined together to work on strategies (projects) which are interconnected with each other.

Get in touch for an informal chat about you, us and your opportunity.

Martin Gummery, Managing Director, NewLeaf International Ltd

Tel: 01905 425209

Email: headoffice@newleafinter.co.uk