Benefits are at the centre of change

Benefits central to change
Image credit: on Freepik

Benefits are at the centre of change. Organisations change because of the promise of benefits, or beneficial outcomes. Benefits matter. Disruption is worthwhile to gain efficiency, increase revenue, reduce cost, increase security, achieve growth, solve a big problem or create new products and services. We all like benefits which is why business cases are full of them. But how many of those benefits have a life beyond the business case?

People need to believe in benefits of change

Organisations don’t always focus on ensuring people believe in the benefits of a change. Believing in something is not the same as having something sold to you. Most of us like benefits but don’t like a hard sell. I don’t like the term ‘resistance’ in relation to organisational change. It implies the application of force and it labels people as enemies because they like to understand and believe in a cause before they get behind it

That hasn’t stopped me from pushing a change agenda or working to deliver projects and initiatives to a deadline. But it has motivated me to understand how to get people to work together to get things done. When I first started work I thought that if change stacked up it should be full steam ahead from Day One. I then discovered that what was rational to me was not so clear to everyone else. Communicating benefits is central to change success.

Benefits help people buy in to change

Over time, I came to realise that change means giving up lots of things that are familiar for things that are not … and people find that hard. On top of that, it is a whole lot of extra work. Even worse, when it is done, those affected will no longer know more than other people. Why would anyone buy into that?

Benefits are central to to why people buy in to change – not just “what’s in it for me?” but a broad range of positive outcomes. Most of us want to make a difference and, once we understand how we can do that, we usually get on board – if we trust that the benefits are real.

Benefits need to be real

A big reason people don’t buy into change is that they don’t believe the benefits are real. People may know from experience that it is rare for anyone to ever check that the promised benefits are delivered after the change is complete.

The failure to realise promised benefits is a reason people don’t trust change initiatives. It is also why executives and boards don’t always trust business cases. Nor should they … because a lot of the benefits promised in projects are never delivered. No one measures them, no one takes the actions to ensure they are delivered. The value is left on the table.

Lost benefit capture – realise value left on the table

Our firm has a focus on strategy implementation so we do a lot of work up front to ensure projects, initiatives and service improvement is planned and funded to get the desired outcomes. Far too often, the focus on outcomes fades rapidly once the funding is approved.

We still do all the right things up front but we now offer services to capture the value of strategic change after it is implemented too – to pick up that value left on the table. Before you consider your next big strategic investment get in touch to see how we can capture your lost benefits.

Phil Guerin, Consultant/Director, Hague Consulting Ltd. © Hague Consulting Ltd 2024.

Follow on LinkedIn