A skeptical 83% of UK senior managers believe that strategic change initiatives do nothing to improve their organization’s profitability, according to a survey.
Rather than a blanket mistrust of change altogether, the UK managers and executives who responded to the survey by Pentacle, The Virtual Business School, were happy to face change – as long as it was managed properly.
But there’s the rub. The survey revealed a deep skepticism by respondents over their organization’s ability to successfully deliver major strategic change. More than half the respondents felt it was the execution rather than the idea itself that scotched a project’s success and blamed senior management for this failure. Two-thirds of respondents felt that strategic project failure was the fault of senior managers who did not lead the projects well enough or to let people know what was happening.
Communication was cited by 73% of respondents as a common reason for project failure. Such poor communication inevitably led to people feeling uneasy about the changes, so stress was a common by-product of strategic initiatives. Over three-quarters (77%) of survey respondents thought that senior managers underestimated how stressful repeated changes made staff.
So, it was not so much the number as the manner of these change initiatives that rattled people’s nerves. Provided it was managed well, 59% were unconcerned by the number of projects, while 76% felt confident initiatives would benefit their own organization.
Interestingly, the research revealed some gender differences. Men were seen as the thinkers and women as the doers when it came to strategic change. A third believed that men were better at visualizing a strategy, while a third thought that women were better at delivering strategy. Female respondents voiced this even more strongly, with 43% saying that they were more likely to get the job done.