Initially, the level of enthusiasm towards projects is al-
ways high. Especially when analysis and concept both
speak the same, clear language – when for example,
there is approximately €20 million to be saved by suc-
cessfully implementing a new contractor strategy. The
two primary goals are to reduce the number of contrac-
tor companies by half and engage cheaper companies.
The relevant Business Units agree to the plan with ap-
And then? Just as quickly as it was ignited, the fire be-
hind the consultant concept burns out. As things begin
to get going, disputes arise, doubts emerge, quarrels be-
gin and plans are disputed again – and eventually ev-
eryone agrees to test the new strategy in a pilot project.
The next part is inevitable. During the pilot phase it
becomes clear that the new contractor doesn’t know the
plant as well as the old one, and therefore works more
slowly. As a result, the new contractor is engaged less
frequently. After six months, he removes his team from
the plant as the amount of work is lower than stated
in the contract. He is actually making losses. In short:
the strategy needs to be rethought; implementation has
failed. Who’s to blame?
More Than Two Thirds Of All Projects Fail
Most corporations can likely tell a similar story about
consulting projects – whether it’s the implementation
of a new strategy or the reorganization of the interface
between operations and maintenance – which haven’t
run according to plan. This is the reason why change
management exists as a discipline, why thousands of
books have been written about it and millions invested
in the necessary tools and training programs. Return-
ing to the old, functioning way of doing things seems
logical when the new way doesn’t work. According to
the Harvard Business Manager
magazine, a number
of studies show that up to 70% of all implementation
(read: change management) projects fail. So what’s the
point in making all the effort and bringing in external
consultants, who in the end only cost money and don’t
actually change anything?
“It’s good to know why implementation projects fail.
You can learn a lot from that and also sometimes read
something amusing about it,”
says Frank-Uwe Hess,
Co-CEO at T.A. Cook.
“But it’s more important to un-
derstand how change actually works.”
ment is a recognized discipline and there’s a reason for
that. It’s natural that management is interested in the
fastest solution to a problem.
“The fact that the imple-
mentation is actually more relevant than the strategy is
explains Hess further. Managers try to
accelerate the change process instead of allowing the
necessary time for ‘ripening.’
An oversimplified formula for consulting services is
100:10:1, where consultants invest 100 hours in the
analysis of processes, ten to discuss results with man-
agement and one hour to communicate that to staff.
“The whole effort is only worth it when it works in ex-
actly the opposite way,”
says Markus Treiber, also Co-
The kick-off meeting has taken place and time is ticking. Where in the past, one had all
the time in the world, today nothing can be done quickly enough. This is the same during
Implementation Projects - known as “change management” today. Managers want results
as soon as possible: they should be sustainable, reach maximum potential and ideally, be
delivered at the start of the project. And that’s exactly where the problem lies.
Text: Christian Raschke
“The fact that the implementation is actually more relevant than the strategy is often missed.”
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