There are implementation projects and implementation recovery projects. The key difference between success and failure is most often related to the lack of change management — employees neither ready for, nor engaged in, the change.
Towers Watson research shows that many large change initiatives — system implementations and reorganizations, for example — fail to achieve their goals. Often when these projects fail, it’s not because of the people involved, the project plan or the technology. It’s because investments in employee readiness and engagement — critical training, communication and leadership activities — were underfunded or not included.
At Towers Watson, we define change management as the actions an organization takes to ensure employee readiness and alignment when changes are rolled out. These are the initiatives that build a more agile and responsive organization, and help ensure change success. Our critical levers for driving readiness and behavior change — i.e., leading, involving, measuring and sustaining — go well beyond basic communication and training. And this is the common dividing line between successful implementations and recovery projects: making the necessary investments in change.