Why Change and Transformation Programmes Fail - Part 1. Emotion

03 May 2021


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Emotion (Kubler Ross) – companies do not pay heed to the fact that individuals impacted by change undergo emotional and psychological challenges. Kubler-Ross’s 4 Stages of Emotional Change provides an excellent structure to enable companies to appreciate the challenges individual’s face:

  1. Shock and Denial (6 months), a period where individuals are unlikely to be able to fully absorb the change initiative due to all the clutter inside their mind in trying to come to terms with the fact that life will change.
  2. Fear and Anger (6-12 months), post exiting the first stage, individuals are consumed with fear of what the change initiative might bring to their personal well-being and job security, as well as anger that the previous equilibrium has been broken.
  3. Acceptance (12 months), as the change initiative embeds itself within the organisation and the new methodology is applied, individuals begin to accept the new universe within which they operate. However, without constant reinforcement and accountability and it is easy for individuals to regress back to old habits and behaviour
  4. Commitment (12 months), the new behaviour becomes institutionalised - routine and the norm, supported by constant evaluation, reinforcement and zero acceptance of old practises.

I am yet to find a client that readily appreciates the need for, commits to, and maintains that commitment to a minimum 3-year window for investing in a customer service change initiative. The reasons are generally impatience to deliver results quickly; an unspoken yet apparent preconceived 2-year window for senior executives to achieve results and move on; constant pressure to declare victory at the acceptance stage and move on to new initiatives – leading to individuals resetting to old behavioural norms and management being distracted by a new change initiative.

Click here to listen to Podcast 2. Planning