Analysis of a Failed Change


A major organisation implemented a short-term incentive program for employees as opposed to an annual merit increase. Although senior management thought it was a great idea, employees reacted negatively to the announcement. Senior management wanted to analyse what went wrong with the change.


At a senior leadership offsite, the senior management team were taken through a deconstruction of the change using Blanchard’s Leading People Through Change Model. The team quickly realised that most of the elements of an effective change were missing.

  1. Options for the merit increase were not discussed, brainstormed, or evaluated against external benchmarks
  2. Buy-in was not sought prior to the announcement
  3. There was no change leadership team established
  4. There was no compelling case for the change
  5. There was no inspiring vision for employees to align with
  6. The change was not piloted
  7. Ultimately significant emotional and productive effort was expended trying to resolve what should have been a very positive change.


As a result of the facilitated workshop, the senior leadership team agreed to include elements of the change leadership model in all major organisational changes. This resulted in more employee alignment to future changes, and increased the senior leadership team's change capability.