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Do you need to change your approach?

Improvement projects rarely run according to plan. You make a change to your business processes and then find out that your initial assumptions were wrong. You gain new insights and these can be re-invested into your revised attempt. The key is to know when to change tack and when to hold.

When the results just aren’t appearing you need to ask yourself if the people who are involved with the change really understand what is happening. This is not a condescending point, this is reality. Communication within a change project often leaves people wanting. The instructions that get handed down are usually lacking and this can lead to a less than satisfactory attempt.

The method that is being used may not be as efficient, or effective, as you may have hoped. If the initial expectation is that there is a lot of work to be undertaken then try stopping the work after a few hours have passed. Can it be done differently? Can a different approach yield results much faster? A little bit of doing and a little bit of thinking can make a big difference to the rate of change experienced. Just ploughing ahead with a less effective strategy does not make sense.

Sometimes the idea just doesn’t seem to work. It might be the idea itself. It might be the people involved with the change. It might be the culture you work in. It might be a number of factors at play. The ability to isolate the handful of factors that encourage success may be outside your control. It is at this point that you may need to consider a course of change that suits the characteristics of your business better.

Knowing when to stick with a change programme and when to tweak it is a skill. It is a skill that can be developed over time and I hope the above helps.

Recommended Actions


  • Review your change projects for their rate of implementation, look for those lagging behind.
  • Decide which projects aren’t a good fit for your business and consider reconfiguring or replacing them.
  • Review the methods being used to implement the changes and question their effectiveness.
  • Ensure that communication of the ‘why’, ‘what’, ‘when’, ‘who’, ‘where’, and ‘how’ is clear and consistent throughout the change process.



Giles Johnston
Author of 'Business Process Re-Engineering', a practical plan to improve business performance.