It’s a known fact that rate of failure of organizational change is always high. And this failure comes with a heavy cost. It’s not about only lost opportunities but it may cost time, resources and reputation of an organization. 

There is no single reason which causes failure of organizational change. But after studying literature and scientific evidence and learning from practitioners, we can find out common mistakes which leaders and managers make during implementation of change.  

Knowing these mistakes may help change leaders to make their initiative a successful. 

Let’s check it out what are these mistakes and how these have negative impact on organizational change. 

Unclear Reason for change 

Change is often unsuccessful when there is no clarity on reason of change. Employees and other stakeholders always want to know what is the reason or causes for change. Why it is necessary to change? 

One of the biggest mistakes on the part of change leaders is that they fail to respond these questions which may create anxiety among employees. And this eventually leads to failure of entire change initiative. 

The first step to make change happen is to explain your case of change to everyone. Getting buy-in of everyone or at-least who really matters will ensure success of change process. 

Poor planning

Planning is critical and very important for a successful organizational change. Poor planning is bound to fail any change initiative. Without a well-designed and proper planning, the likely outcome will be a wrong start which leads to the failure. 

By using effective planning and change management process, the risk of these issues decreases and the organizational goals and changes are successfully achieved on time.

Inadequate Resources 

Implementation of change requires lot of resources. It needs skilled team, realistic time, updated technological support and above all finances. If an organization lack these resources and unable to manage these resources then it is less likely to succeed in implementing change. 

Change leaders must ensure availability of required resource before embarking on the journey of change. So, success of change initiative largely depends on availability of right kind of resource at the right time.

Lack of Leadership 

Every change is led by a leader. It’s because of a visionary and effective leadership that organizations become successful in undertaking change and entire transformation. Leadership models change for the rest of organization by constantly supporting and motivating employees to implement change. 

If leaders are not prepared to stay actively involved in change process by listening and responding to employees then it is not the right time to initiate organizational change. This means that absence of strong leadership may lead to failure of organizational change. 

One way Communication 

Change leaders often make mistake by having one-way communication with employees and other stakeholders. They fail to engage their employees. 

Change doesn’t happen when message is only coming from top. If organizational culture fails to exchange ideas and share experience then it’s hard to implement transformative change. People learn by acquiring and applying the information and not just by absorbing it. 

Ineffective monitoring 

It’s very crucial to check on progress being made on implementation of change. So an effective and efficient monitoring system is required to track progress on change. When organizations lack effective monitoring mechanism, they actually put their change initiative at risk. 

A good monitoring mechanism doesn’t mean identifying problems but taking corrective actions and finding solutions. Monitoring provides with valuable information and insights about what is working and what is not. And many a times this kind of monitoring system is missing in change initiatives and organizations have to pay heavy price for this. 

Insufficient training

Another significant reason for failure of organizational change is absence of training program for employees. Organizations often ignore this fact that certain level of knowledge base, updated skills set and positive attitude is required to drive change process successfully. 

It’s essential to design a right kind of training program catering to needs of employees and help them to sail through hard journey of change. Failure of entire change initiative is costlier than building capacity of human resource to lead change.


A successful organizational change takes long period of time. Leaders and managers shouldn’t expect any change to happen in at least 12-24 months or so because it’s hard to adopt new ways of working. So a great deal of patience is required to adjust with changes and achieve satisfactory results. 

It’s again very common mistake that change leaders and managers become impatience with process of change. Out of frustration they start making irrational decisions i.e shuffling of key team members, cutting down budgets and making abrupt modifications in change strategies and plan. 

Such a kind of impatience ultimately kill the purpose of change and eventually lead to failure of organizational change.   

Inability to overcome resistance 

It’s not easy to embrace change. There are many reasons for resistance to change but employees mainly resist change due to fear of uncertain future and loss of their jobs. 

Ever successful change management demands timely response to resistance. An advance attention and dedication to help people reduces a chance of this resistance. But when change leaders remain indifferent to resistance and fail to manage resistance, then they are actually on the losing side. 

They should first know what are the specific reasons for resistance to change and after knowing these reasons they can prepare their strategies to overcome and manage resistance. But failing to manage this resistance is a big mistake which they don’t afford to make. 

Wrong Priorities 

It’s people who envision change, execute and make it successful. And on the other side, it’s again people who resist, block it and make it a failure. So people are at the center of every change project. 

But sometimes leaders ignore this fact and they put all their focus and energy to system. They mindlessly invest in developing technologies and creating transformation through building new system. 

It’s people who make change sustained in an organization not technology or systems. This should be the priority of change leaders in order to make their change project successful. 

Take Home Points:

  • There are 10 common mistakes which can be avoided to increase the chances of success. 
  • The first mistake of change leaders is that they are unable to explain effectively reason of change. 
  • The second mistake is that they start implementing change without proper planning. 
  • The third mistake is that they fail in having right assessment of available resources. 
  • The fourth mistake is that they are unable to provide effective leadership. 
  • The fifth mistake is that they communicate about change without listening from their employees.  
  • The sixth mistake is that absence of effective monitoring system which not only indicate progress but also suggest corrective actions.
  • The seventh mistake is that organizations often ignore the need and importance of building capacities of their employees through training programs. 
  • The eight mistake is that change leaders often become impatience and start making insane decisions in the middle of change process. 
  • The ninth mistake is that they are unable to identify reasons of resistance to change and fail to overcome and manage resistance. 
  • The tenth mistake is that change leaders focus more on system instead of people who matter most in making change successful.