and I mean the other changes happening in the organisation. Imagine you are driving on the road, what do you think causes the most accidents? A simple answer is other drivers. Agreed that even if you were driving on the road all by yourself you can cause accidents though chances of that happening are remote.
Now replace that road with any organisation and imagine the change programs as vehicles. What do you think is the biggest cause of accidents? It will be other change programs.
I am sure we cannot stipulate that organisations should execute only one change program at a time. We can however have everyone following some standard rules and regulations so accidents can be avoided.
If you read most of the text on ‘why change fails’, you will hardly every find ‘cannibalization’ as one of the reasons. I think it should be there right at the top. Most changes don’t fail per say, they get cannibalized. They get eaten by other changes, they get stopped in their tracks by other changes and in worst case scenario they lose their meaning because of other changes.
For me ‘other changes’ is the biggest barrier to any change initiative and I am sure there are many ideas under ‘change portfolio management’ to tackle this. I have few ideas of my own but that’s for another day.