Organizations Don’t Change Behavior, People Do

Any company that undertakes a transformation—to permanently take out costs, merge with another company or accomplish some other major endeavor—will have to inspire people to think and act differently. Yet in most large-scale change programs, there is a disconnect: Companies focus mainly on designing new processes or technical systems, and far less on how to motivate employees to adopt the solution. Consider a bank that installs an expensive digital platform so that customers can use its website or mobile app for routine transactions. Branch employees might not want to encourage customers to migrate to the app because they fear losing their jobs, or they believe customers should be served in person. Forced compliance from the top will likely generate ill will or even resistance. Senior management must anticipate why employees might naturally be wary of the change and create approaches that will motivate employees to embrace the solution. Otherwise, the entire value of the program stands at risk.

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