You must be consistent if you want to change

A colleague of mine works for a time management company. The company sells diaries and organisers so we can manage our time more effectively and improve our productivity and performance. Great stuff!

So, can you imagine how my colleague felt when her boss said he just didn’t have time to meet with her to go through her performance review and career development plan! Does it surprise you that the company has a staff retention problem?

Common reasons for failure
That example set me thinking about why so many change efforts stall or lose momentum. One of the most common reasons is congruence or consistency (or lack of it).

For example, let’s say you decide that to remain competitive and relevant, your organisation has to change its corporate culture. To date, the culture has been inward looking and process driven but now this must change to become an outward, customer focussed one.

The company embarks on the change process. It restructures; it retrains staff and starts on a culture change program for the front line. But the senior management is still focussed on costs and the numbers. So despite the proclaimed reason for the change, it starts a cost cutting exercise. Senior management even visits the front line to drive the cost-cutting message home.