How to avoid change management failures

March 13, 2023by Editor

Accelerating the rate of digital adoption requires effective change management. However, research suggests that fewer than 30% of digital transformation projects succeed in Africa. Change management plays such an important role because it helps to ensure the successful implementation of new initiatives, processes or technologies. 

It helps to minimise the negative impact of change on employees and the organisation as a whole. By effectively managing change, businesses can embark on a process of digital transformation with a greater chance of success that new technologies and processes will lead to a high return on investment (ROI). 

Change management can fail in business for several reasons. A lack of leadership commitment, inadequate communication and engagement with employees, and resistance to change are all common issues that can affect the success of a change initiative. Without strong leadership, change efforts may lack direction and resources. 

Poor communication and engagement can lead to misunderstandings and distrust, while resistance to change can hinder progress and derail implementation efforts. Support in change management is essential for South African enterprises looking to drive digital system adoption, sustain change and improve business performance. 

By providing employees with the resources, guidance and support they need to navigate change, businesses can create a more positive and productive work environment. Change management is essential for the success of digital transformation projects, so enterprises look out for common pitfalls and take action to mitigate the risk of change management failures.  

Change management needs a clearly defined strategy

Having a clearly defined strategy provides a roadmap for how the organisation will manage change and achieve its objectives. A well-defined strategy includes identifying the change objectives, the scope of the change and the stakeholders impacted by it. 

This helps ensure that everyone involved in the initiative is aligned and working towards the same goals. It helps to establish a clear timeline, budget, and resources required to implement the change successfully.

A defined strategy also helps to anticipate and manage potential obstacles or resistance to the change. Any change initiative should include clearly defined accountability and metrics. Who will be responsible for what? How will success be measured? 

This ensures that the right people are responsible for specific tasks, timelines and deliverables. Establishing a metric provides a framework for measuring progress, identifying and addressing any issues and celebrating successes.

Change must align with company culture and business goals

There is a direct correlation between company culture and organisational change. Change initiatives must be aligned with company culture and business goals to ensure successful implementation and adoption. The culture of an organisation reflects its values, beliefs and attitudes towards change. This can either enable or hinder the adoption of new initiatives.

When change is not aligned with the company culture, it can lead to resistance, mistrust and disengagement from employees. As such, change initiatives must be tailored to the specific culture of the organisation, taking into account the norms, beliefs and attitudes of its employees.

It must also be aligned with the business goals and the overall strategy of the company. This can help to increase the likelihood of achieving the desired outcomes and value. Alignment to company culture and business goals helps to create a sense of purpose and buy-in from employees. This is critical for the success of any change initiative.

Support staff through the change

Supporting staff through different stages of change management is essential for the success of any initiative. Leading up to the change, it is important to have clear communication about why it’s necessary, the expected outcomes and the benefits to the organisation and employees. Providing opportunities for feedback and addressing concerns can also help to increase awareness and understanding.

During the implementation process, providing the necessary user adoption training, learning resources and development opportunities can also help to build confidence and increase buy-in from employees. While the change is being rolled-out, it is essential to provide ongoing support, feedback and recognition for progress and achievements. 

Celebrating successes and highlighting the benefits of the change can help to maintain momentum and increase motivation and engagement from employees. Companies should not ignore resistance to change because it can hinder successful implementation and decrease employee engagement and morale. 

This will ultimately impact the bottom line of the organisation. Addressing resistance to change is critical to managing the impact of change on employees and the organisation as a whole. This can be achieved through coaching, mentoring and providing channels for employees to provide feedback and raise issues. 

Ensuring success with digital transformation

A lack of in-house change management skills can be addressed by contracting third-party professionals. Bringing in specialised expertise enhances the success of change through objective insights and resources to help manage the complexities of change. 

Can!do has 30 years of experience in user adoption and training. Providing process education and embedment with digital application solutions, Can!do has worked with leading South African organisations to enhance business performance and avoid change management failures. For more information about our services, please contact us today.


Can!do works with large enterprises in South Africa to maximise the value of their employees, technology and business processes. To do this, we offer three fundamental services; change management, capability development and performance optimisation

We have 30 years of experience in these fields and have worked with leading companies in South Africa. We are a certified Level 2 B-BBEE company and a leading provider of new business systems and processes that drive user adoption. For industry insights and news, please follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.


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