In the strategy meeting at the weekend, the participants decided in a relaxed environment to change the product portfolio and focus next year on customer service. The following Monday, day-to-day business caught up with them. Some people started to raise doubts as to whether what had been agreed in the euphoria of the retreat was actually feasible. But since there was no time to discuss these doubts with the colleagues, nothing happened. It all came to nothing.

It is astonishing how quickly parallel worlds can form between what is worked out in workshops and what is actually implemented. The reason for this can often be found in the systems and structures that govern our daily actions (communication structures, target agreements, renumeration systems, budgets) and the way we make decisions and communicate them. Only once change has been established in these systems, i.e. once bonus systems are being changed or strategic priorities included in next year’s budget, for instance, new behaviors will evolve.

Change managers face the challenge to notice which established systems and structures can constructively support the change and which ones need to be thrown overboard.


  1. Critically investigate the management’s annual goals. Where have change projects been included? What incentives are used to implement these things?
  2. Put an implementation controlling for the agreed measures on the agenda of your regular management meetings: a brief, efficient review of the implementation status should take place regularly, content reviews and interim evaluations at greater intervals.
  3. Check the budget approach. Does it only include cost-cutting measures or also investments in innovation? Have the new fields of business developed in the strategy been incorporated in the revenue planning?