CEOs who are passionate about change need to support the front line.

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We know leading and implementing successful change is difficult.  For decades, a consistent and generally accepted statistic is that 70% of organizational change efforts fail.  Narrow the focus to corporate transformation programs, and Bain research “shows only 12% achieve or exceed their aims.” Further narrow that to corporations trying to implement sustainability programs, and the number that achieve or exceed expectations drops to 2%.   

Based on their study of some 300 companies, Bain concludes, “Sustainability transformations add another dimension of challenge. Often, enthusiastic leadership teams overlook the difficulties frontline employees confront when implementing new approaches. If employees feel forced to choose between sustainability targets and business targets, for example, most choose business targets. As a result, corner-office passion remains stuck at the top.” 

Simply stated, “Change is hard; sustainability change is even harder.”  Not good news for our planet.

But the study also concludes that there are “four guidelines to beat the odds and deliver impressive sustainability gains.”

“The first and most critical one is making clear public commitments with quantitative targets. Public targets send a ringing message throughout the ranks that helps overcome resistance to change. Second, CEOs show the way, not just with words, but by rolling up their sleeves and becoming deeply involved in the transformation. Third, leadership teams make the business case for change throughout the organization. Finally, leaders use process and incentive changes to reshape behaviors and ensure line managers incorporate sustainability into daily decision making.”

So, sustainability change is hard, but not impossible.  Good news for our planet.

Contact us and we can help you better understand and improve your change leadership skills so your change efforts have a higher likelihood of success.