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From theory to practice: factors of success in Change Management

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On the first day of the 4th attendance block, our Executive MBA “Class of 2017” dealt with the topic “Change Management”. After presenting the individual Change Management projects, the module was rounded off by an evening session with Anabel Houben, Managing Partner at Point B Consulting. After a short introduction round, during which every participant briefly described the results of their change project, Ms. Houben started with the presentation of the study “Successfully designing change – a representative investigation of success and failure in the area of Change Management (Veränderungen erfolgreich gestalten – eine repräsentative Untersuchung über Erfolg und Misserfolg im Veränderungsmanagement)”. This study was carried out by Point B Consulting and Prof. Dr. Trinczek, likewise lecturer in the module Change Management, in the year 2007. Anabel Houben and the participants discussed thoroughly the major reasons for the failure of larger change projects in German corporations:

The most frequent reason is a missing shared understanding of the change measures by the top management. It was said that the whole change process would have a bad start if not enough time was reserved for it by this group of people. Often, the top management would reach an agreement upon the strategy, however the consequences for the corporate culture and the own leadership style were not discussed sufficiently. The most important advice to avoid these mistakes is to schedule enough time to consider the corporate culture and the individual leadership behaviour.

Another reason for failure is the “Change Leaders’” lack of competence. Important attributes are, for example, a feeling for the consequences of change, the employees’ sentiment as well as their appreciation. In order to prepare managers for these situations, for example hotlines are installed. These can be used by the executives to discuss their questions and insecurities.

Additionally, the study shows that the incorporation of the middle management is an important factor of success. It’s crucial that change processes involve this group and that they are informed adequately.

We would like to thank Mrs. Houben for this interesting evening session and refer to the Executive Training “Challenge Change” on the 7th and 8th October which is carried out by the TUM School of Management in cooperation with Point B Consulting.

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