6 Important Causes of a Failing Change Management Process

failing change managment process

More than 70 percent of the changes that happen daily in the organizational world occur due to a failing change management process. You can call it “mismanagement” too – especially when stakeholders interfere too much.

Change as we know is an inevitable part of any development or management process. Indeed, there’s always a possibility of misfortune in the equation. However, when we are dealing with technology backed up by numbers, statistics, and previous data, you need to focus on the failing change management process.


Doesn’t misfortune happen because of change?

Well, yes, and no because not all changes are good and not all changes are bad. It is your job as a manager to foresee any changes along the lines of risk and scope creep that can harm the project estimates.

If you have been a part of organizational culture for some time, you may have noticed that change is all around you. It happens every day and it is a quite common factor in any process. It is a variable.

But the thing that you have to account is how well-equipped are you to track and manage that change promptly so that you can use it to your advantage and not get trampled by it.

It will do you good if you realize from the very beginning, how important this “timely manner” factor is.

Let’s take the example of a river changing its course.

We all know that rivers vary their flowtime when a change in course is about to happen. Under unnatural circumstances, if we are looking to change the course before the time curve, we must put in some effort; a plan that endeavors, consider every possibility, and use the most appropriate tools.

Then and only then can we succeed in doing what we set out to do. We can see that timely interaction helped us to change the direction of the river and gain many advantages. Also, we notice that not every change is bad if we do proper research.

Coming back to our topic, we always see that many barriers or causes make a change management process fail, but in this article, we will tell you about 6 of them.

Let’s see these causes and their fixes in detail.

1. Strategic Shortcomings

strategic shortcoming - failing change management process

For any positive change to happen in any field of life, the first thing you need to understand is that if you are a manager or a person in power and you’re not planning for every little thing regarding the project or a change process, then you are preparing to fail.

You need to know what the change is, what it means to the company, what is the possible impact it can have on the workings of the business, and how can you harness that change into something better for the organization.

When you have gathered all of this information, then and only then can you envelop change. Why? Because most of the change management processes that we see every day fail because the managers or the people in charge failed to see the little details.

How Can We Fix It?

Well for starters, the managers can use the Strengths, Weaknesses, Obstacles, Threats (SWOT) analysis framework to get into a more strategic shape to create the best possible strategy to eradicate strategic shortcomings.

Using this framework, you can quickly figure out what the actual strengths and weaknesses of your employees and your company are, and how can you possibly mold them into something beneficial for the company through the change management process.

As a company, you know that you can’t plan for every change and calamity that can potentially hit you, but what you can do is do just a bit of planning early on. Even this little spot of planning can one day help to avoid a failed change initiative or any other scope creeps.

2. Understanding Scale and Scope

scale and scope - failing change management process

As a manager, you need to understand that unless you give it all you got, you’re never going to accomplish anything that you set out to via the change management process.

And for that, you need to find out the amount of effort and resources needed to accomplish the organizational change you want to achieve.

Why is the tracking of effort and resources necessary? Well, if you have been a part of a change management process, then you might’ve noticed that countless change initiatives fail daily just because of the underestimation of resources and time by the manager or the stakeholders.

How Can We Fix It?

To fix this, you need to take a breather and find out exactly how many resources you are going to need to achieve the change you desire. You need to find out how you are going to get those resources when you are going to be needing them and how often will they be used in the whole process.

The number of resources will also depend on the size of the change that’s about to be implemented. You need to measure that size and find out how much impact is that change going to have.

Whether it’s going to impact a small group of people in your company or is it going to impact lots of different departments and their members across the company.

And don’t ever think, for any process, that you can remember all of this information in your head. Instead, you should always have a system to track and monitor all of this information, so that the resources that you gathered are utilized efficiently and nothing stalls the development process.

Learn how to build resilience in crisis: 

Leadership in Crisis Management: 10 Effective Ways to Build Resilience

3. Neglected Stakeholders

neglected stakeholders - failing change management process

If you are working in a big organization, you might not always know all of the stakeholders and the connections they have with the company.

So, if you don’t know the severity of those connections then you will always have a time gathering information about the impact of the changes on all of the stakeholders, that you are trying to implement.

You should always have that information because they have just as much to gain or to lose as you do, or even more.

In a CIO article, written by Bruce Harpham, named “8 Ways You’re Failing at Change Management”, he says:

“Successful change management requires strong input from stakeholders, but if you fail to properly map out who the true stakeholders are and what they will need to get out of the project, your change management efforts are sunk.”

How Can We Fix It?

To fix this issue, the manager has to be vigilant from the very start of the change management process. They need to make sure that every stakeholder is on-board with the change that is about to happen.

They also need to sign-off on every bit of resource that you require to complete a change management process. If they do not take part in the process early on, it is your job as the manager to convince them about the importance of this change initiative and how beneficial it can be.

You should also make a change management team that consists of all of the stakeholders that have the same interests as you in this change initiative. This will help them grow more interest in the process and even spot some weak points or scope creeps that even the managers can’t see.

4. Poor Communication

poor communication - failing change management process

Whatever you are trying to develop, whether it’s a small application, a mammoth software for a big MNC or a change initiative that will bring a difference in the way your company does business or any other type of change, the first thing you need to perfect among the team members, is the conversation.

Miscommunication or lack of the whole thing altogether is one of the leading causes of failing change management processes all over the world.

According to a study conducted by Willis Towers Watson:

“Only two-thirds (68%) of senior managers say they are getting the message about the reasons behind major organizational decisions. Below the senior management level, the message dwindles further. Only half (53%) of middle managers and 40% of first-line supervisors say their management does a good job of explaining the reasons behind major decisions.”

How Can We Fix It?

To fix the communication problem among the different hierarchies of the company, you as a manager have to make sure that all of the levels are strongly aligned with each other. This will enable you to transmit information from top to bottom or bottom to top without any interruption.

All of this transmission of information will help them understand the importance of the change that you are trying to implement and what role they have to play to make the change management process a success.

5. Lack of Vision

lack of vision

To make any project, process, or initiative a success, the manager has to have an impeccable vision that will lead the whole team and the company towards success. This vision is so important that if the manager doesn’t have it, the initiative is surely going to fail. No doubt about it.

According to an article named “Leading Change: Why Transformation Efforts Fail” which was published in the Harvard Business Review:

“In every successful transformation effort that I have seen, the guiding coalition develops a picture of the future that is relatively easy to communicate and appeals to customers, stockholders, and employees.”

How Can We Fix It?

To fix this issue, the managers have to cement their visions in a coherent, simple, and compelling narrative and point to the direction where all of the work is headed.

If that’s a tall order, then you can always brainstorm different ideas with your remote teams or on-site teams. This will help you get a rough idea of what you should be thinking and how you can create a vision that will benefit the company in the years to come.

6. Lack of Tooling

lack of tooling - failing change management process

Envisioning a change management process, assembling a team for the initiative and gathering resources for the whole shebang, is no good if it isn’t seasoned with an amazing tool to take care of all of those elements of the initiative.

Without a tool, you can lose a lot of information and your team can develop a lot of blank spaces between them. This is why you always have to keep in mind that an idea of change that has all of the qualities of being a huge success can fail very quickly if there is no tool to support it.

How Can We Fix It?


To fix the tooling issue, you need to opt for a digital one that is effective and durable for all of the people that use it. In our opinion, you need to get the most famous project management software in the world for this endeavor and that is nTask.

This software will make sure that all of your team members are in the mix, and all of the resources and ideas that are attached to the change initiative are not wasted.

Over to you!

The above change management issues can make turn your business growth plans into a nightmare. So, try out the fixes mentioned in this article and let us know how these have helped you in overcoming those hurdles.

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