Whether dealing with culture, process or structure, only 25 percent of change management initiatives are successful in the long term, according to a study from Towers Watson.

That 75 percent failure rate? It often can be attributed to a lack of communication and lack of time for transition, says Bernadette Johnson, who will lead the “Change is a Good Thing – You Go First” workshop on May 8.

“Usually, when leaders make decisions, they push it out and then wait for everyone to be excited about it,” Johnson said. “Then six months pass, and no one has adopted or accepted the change. It’s because no one has thought out how to help them through their transition."

Johnson says she turns to William Bridge’s “Managing Transition” for the three questions for leaders to ask when going through change.

  • What is the change?
  • What’s going to be different as a result of the change?
  • Who’s going to lose what? For instance, is someone going to lose their job? Are they moving to a different department?

It’s only when leadership understands the answers to these questions, that they can help others as they transition to the new change.

“As leaders, we have to address these questions on the front end, rather than in response to water cooler talk,” Johnson said. “It’s not that employees have to agree with the change. However, it is important that they understand the change – why it is, why it’s happening and how it will impact them.”

One of the key things that Johnson hopes to dispel is the idea that change and transition are the same thing. “We use those words interchangeably. But change is external, and transition is internal. It’s our response to that change.”

According to Johnson, workshop attendees will walk away with an understanding of how they personally manage transition, comfort level tools to minimize fear and relevant tips they can use in the workplace and at home.

The workshop will be held from noon to 2 p.m. at Brick Street of Grand Blanc, 1223 E. Grand Blanc Road. To register, click here.