How to navigate successful organizational change

Discover how to set the stage for successful organizational change. From vision to rollout, empower your team’s transformation journey.


How to navigate successful organizational change

Discover how to set the stage for successful organizational change. From vision to rollout, empower your team’s transformation journey.


Meet the author

Kaylin Malmquist


Jerry Baerwitz


Transformation and staying competitive during uncertain times are at the top of the agenda for many organizations. However, the way change is set up is just as crucial as execution. In this blog, we’ll explore how to set up your organization for success when preparing for a transformation.

Setting the foundation for successful organizational change

Change management is a difficult aspect to implement for any company that is conducting company-wide transformations. To strengthen your change efforts, collaborate, act and operationalize the requirements for change. Establish clarity among leadership on the purpose, focus, and goals of initiatives.

Establishing a clear vision for change

Unfortunately, many companies fail to communicate and drive the change fast enough internally to properly implement change. This allows competitors to walk past them and leads to confusion internally for different groups of a business. In general, organizations fail to institutionalize change because they lack alignment among their leadership team.

In order to avoid this failure, an organization must have a clear vision for its change. Clear and continuous communication with key stakeholders and leadership is necessary to achieve these objectives and ensure the end result is clear. An aspect that would bring clarity to the table would be having success criteria and clear roles and responsibilities. By defining strict criteria for success, the organization and leaders will be able to identify what constitutes a successful organizational change implementation. These endeavors will allow for an organization to be in an optimal place to quickly drive and implement change. 

You’ve established a vision for the change and identified key stakeholders, now what?

Navigating change implementation

Designing how best to deliver change is dependent on an organization’s culture, employees, and key stakeholders. Keeping stakeholders informed and involved as you shape the change will help you develop an understanding of the organization’s wants and needs for rollout, training, and engagement approaches.

When planning for change, early awareness is key. As defined by the Prosci ADKAR model, it is important to spread awareness of the why behind the change, not just that the change is occurring. Build awareness through various channels, such as email, slack messages, events, all-hands meetings, flyers, or social media.

Unfortunately, building awareness can be more difficult than it seems. Awareness of change can lead to resistance from impacted individuals, so it is important to take resisting factors into account to effectively communicate with stakeholders. Effective change management plans are those that are designed to mitigate resistance.

Training for success: Upskilling and knowledge transfer

Although awareness is key, oftentimes impacted stakeholders will need to be upskilled for the change to take place. This upskilling is the knowledge piece of the ADKAR model and comes in two forms. First, an individual must be knowledgeable about how to change (what to do during the transition). Second, an individual must know how to operate in the future state, after the change has occurred. For example, if an organization is rolling out new technology to all employees, it will be key to run training sessions to ensure employees understand the tool and are able to adopt it.

When planning for training, it is important to understand different learning styles and preferences. The most effective change managers will offer various types of training, whether that be in-person, online, self-guided, written, or visual training tools. By offering employees various forms of training or mentorship before and during a transition, there will be tools to cater to those who have certain skills, knowledge gaps, or learning needs.

Strategizing rollout for optimal impact

In planning for implementation, change managers must consider the best method of rollout. A common and proven method of rollout is utilizing small-scale pilots throughout an organization. Small-scale pilots are consolidated trial periods where a select amount of employees are exposed to the change before scaling. Throughout these pilots, change managers can work closely with those experiencing the change, and as a result, receive frequent feedback on its impact. Benefits include troubleshooting any challenges with a limited employee group and adapting the change for a smoother, large-scale implementation. 

Pilots and testing also allow change managers to understand how their initiatives affect different stakeholders and personas within the organization. Various stakeholder and user groups may experience the change initiative differently, so it’s important to understand how their workflows are impacted after implementation with frequent check-ins. In addition, different personas will also experience change with varying levels of resistance or enthusiasm. Taking the time to gauge these reactions in early stages of rollout will allow change managers to adjust incentives for full-scale implementation. Working iteratively and in an agile manner throughout the first phases of change with smaller groups and testing ensures a higher chance of success.

Tailoring change implementation: A personalized approach

Each organization’s makeup varies, and as a result, will have different needs and require different methods of implementing change. Therefore, taking the time to set up change throughout communication, training, and rollout increases the probability of truly embedding successful organizational change.

Ready to lead your organization through successful change? Implement these proven strategies to ensure lasting transformation and maintain a competitive edge. Whether you’re a leader, manager, or team member, understanding the dynamics of change is crucial. And if you need help to get there, we may be able to support you. Get in touch to start your journey towards successful organizational change today!

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