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Change management - faux pas and bon pas

We are all change-impaired in one way or another and sometimes can no longer hear the word. Too many attempts, wrong decisions and departures, too much inefficiency and disappointment have led to many employees and managers just rolling their eyes when the board has come up with something new.

The following is therefore a summary of the faux pas and bon pas in change management.

Unfortunately, unsuccessful change management and the reasons for it are often hushed up.

Yet it is precisely these that are so important in order to learn, to do things better or differently next time and, above all, to enable organic change. As is so often the case in our country, we are not in a position to treat our mistakes, misbehaviour and wrong decisions responsibly, to own up to them and take responsibility. Sometimes it is simply ignorance and has less to do with wilful action.


What are the specific faux pas that lead restructuring projects to failure?

In my view, the following issues lead to difficult situations in companies or departments undergoing change management:


Stubbornness and rigidity

·       Not being able to deviate from the adopted plan

·       Not admitting that the underlying plan is not working

Overambitious goals

·       Goals are not aligned with the operational business and prevailing structures

·       Too high ambitions, too big numbers, too tight schedules

Lack of prioritisation - everything is equally important

·       What comes before the other?

·       What should the focus be on?

Short planning, long implementation and few field tests

·       Lack of fast prototyping

·       Erroneous developments or planning errors are only recognised once the measure has already been implemented

Lack of scenario analyses

·       Need for guard rails to indicate that things are developing in the wrong direction or too quickly in a certain direction

Feeling of the test rabbit

·       Lack of motivation and trust in the company, managers and processes

·       Employees who have been affected by change have already experienced too much to continue to believe in good, meaningful change

·       Tiredness in terms of flexibility and adaptability

Permanent optimisation mode

·       Optimisation becomes the new credo, the holy grail, nothing can remain as it is, everything can be constantly optimised

·       Examination of whether some things can simply remain as they are

·       Reassurance for employees, a sense of security and trust, the certainty of knowing what to do and how to do it


Attitude of the management

The problem is that most employees, and managers in particular, are expected to manage these projects in addition to their normal working day. In most cases, this leads to considerable overload, which sooner or later causes motivated and committed employees in particular to burn out. It also becomes difficult when new superiors keep coming into the company who want to do everything differently again, want to change their ideas and are not willing to take on new challenges.



Egocentricity often reigns in the upper ranks, who pursue their own agenda, have their own target achievement plans and for whom the rest of the company is not the foundation on which they are allowed to operate, but the rank and file who have to fulfil the requirements. Whether these are realistic or not.



This often destroys motivation and team spirit and the restructuring process takes a disproportionately long time. A good figure to measure is a maximum of 6-9 months, depending on the scope and complexity of the objectives, of course. But especially in the area of M&A and integration, it should never take longer. Of course, this means that external resources must be brought in to drive forward and implement the issues on site at full speed. Rarely is the existing workforce so underemployed that it can handle these additional issues on the fly.


So how could it work better?

To change the way change management has been practised to date, it would make sense to engage in more dialogue with the operational units, to listen to them, to take them on board, to use them as a basis and, building on this, to analyse the extent to which which areas are adaptable and can be sensibly changed.


This means that a large part of the work is initially purely desktop-based. All, and I do mean all, areas and sources must be included in order to avoid the dilemma of getting stuck every few metres because a new challenge pops up that you didn't pay attention to because you wanted to follow a strict, tight schedule.


Goals must be set realistically. It's better to have a little more buffer and fewer goals to ensure success, feed motivation and strengthen the community in order to define and aim for the next milestone in the next step. In this way, we move step by step towards the overarching goal and there is still enough room for flexibility, consideration at every crossroads, reflection and review of the measures and changes already implemented.

Another key factor is to repeatedly carry out tests and field trials to check the current direction of travel and, if necessary, adjust it with the involvement of the operational teams in order to take the key information into account.


Communication is ultimately the key element, as is so often the case. Regular updates, information sessions and communications to employees, managers and stakeholders are essential to keep everyone on board, be transparent and avoid undesirable developments. However, this is not just about monologues, presentations and communications, but also about dialogue, collaboration and sharing.


It is better to talk and brainstorm once than to simply implement a measure, go through with it and then nothing fits afterwards. This avoids painful experiences.


In the end, change management focuses more on secondary factors such as time, flexibility and communication than on figures, data and facts.


So before you or groups in your company rush into change management, it's better to invest more time in planning so that the implementation has a chance of running smoothly, employees continue to enjoy their work and, above all, the goal is achieved in the end in the interests of the big picture.



Coaching can be the ideal support here on all fronts and lead to stability and increased motivation and flexibility in the team. It takes courage, creativity, strength and sufficient motivation to face up to change - for everyone involved. Caring and experienced support leads to more openness, honesty, good communication, the development of necessary soft skills and more confidence and inner stability for new tasks and processes, for example.


Coaching can provide you with targeted support in overcoming upcoming challenges in every stage -internally in a team or as a manager in the company. In a clarifying introductory meeting, a modular concept is developed that provides you and your project or your employees with optimal support and individualised assistance.

Contact me to fulfill your new tasks

Nicole Dildei Coaching

+49 157 58 267 427

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