Why is change so difficult in business?

Every business must evolve, or eventually die and most people understand that, so why is making those changes so hard and how can the change become smoother?

Why is change so difficult in business?

It is logical that every business must continually evolve or at some point they will be replaced. This is true even more so in todays world where by new solutions seem to emerge faster than ever. If we can have self-driving cars, how long will people continue to stand for having to do the hoovering themselves? If we can go on passenger journeys into space, how long will people stand for slow plane and train journeys?


Even the most basic of businesses are having to wake up to constant customer expectations around evolution, with their own apps and technology to make both the staff and the customers lives easier.


So why is change so hard to implement if it is logical that everything must continually change?


Change requires patience and persistence, measured in years not months. When change does not produce the desired results as quickly as many may have hoped, the skeptics can say, “I told you so” and confidence about the change begins to erode.


Employees being to wonder if the change effort will continue. Top management’s long-term commitment is especially critical, to shore up support and keep up morale.


Poor business results that are usually totally unconnected to the change effort can often put pressure on management to “get back to basics.”  

And the danger of a never ending circle of change initiatives that are terminated midstream or left to languish indefinitely, can begin to make it impossible to gain employee interest in later programmes. Employees can often list at least a half dozen failed initiatives, or “flavors of the month” programmes.


Meanwhile, as this is happening, others have flourished because they have taken the difficult ground in getting their workforce equipped for the new world of work.


So, what is the difference and how can you make sure that your company can make the move to embrace the changes needed to continually evolve as a business?


Mark Burgess, CEO of Iceberg Digital, who has helped 1000’s of business navigate digital transformation over the years says:

“For me one of the key things to allowing a big change to happen is to allow your staff to know that they are being judged on how much effort they put into the change as opposed to the usual results and targets-based approach. This is important because as an employee if I feel that the most likely thing to stop me from getting sacked is to do deals anyway possible then making changes become a very secondary and unimportant part of my day and I will default back to the quickest and fastest way which will probably be the ‘old way’. However, if my role is based around how well I am embracing and implementing the new change and I am rewarded for that, suddenly it becomes a priority.”


Adoption of new technology or a change of any process in your business is always going to cause some disruption but the ultimate question is; Are you just changing things for change’s sake or when the change settles down are you moving to something that really will help to create a safer future for the business? If it is the former, perhaps it can wait. If it is the later, then that change, no matter how hard it will be to rip off the plaster, really does need to be made as soon as possible.

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