How to Set Up Organizational Change for Success

How to Set Up Organizational Change for Success
Facebook Twitter Email LinkedIn

Organizational Change Is Inherently Messy
Since change is so constant, isn’t it surprising that we are not better at it? In fact, the record of successful corporate transformations is very poor — less than 33% make it successfully across the finish line. And yet change is something that every company needs to learn how to do if they want to stay competitive. Companies that hope to remain in the game need to learn how to set up organizational change for success.

Organizational Change Is an Ongoing Journey
Based on change management simulation data, we know that leaders first need to accept that organizational change is not “one and done.” Rather, change management consulting experts know that change is an ongoing journey. Throughout the process of change, leaders need to course correct as lessons are learned and flex as unexpected obstacles force tweaks in direction.

Organizational Change Requires a Compelling Reason
Next, change leaders need to make a persuasive business case for change — a case that all employees can understand and support. This includes clearly articulating the vision for change and creating a collective sense of urgency for change.  Your objective is to make it as easy and desirable as possible for employees to change and somewhat uncomfortable for them to stay the same.

In addition, leaders must model the desired behaviors, address any issues with transparency, and provide incentives for behaving in a way that promotes the change.

Organizational Change Needs Accountability
Successful change is more likely if you take two key accountability steps:

  1. Project Sponsor
    Put the right person with the required level of power, influence, and credibility in charge of the change so there is one clear leader held accountable for agreed-upon milestones.

    You will know you are on the right path if your project sponsor consistently provides the right amount of context, expertise, guidance, resources, funding, prioritization, escalation, and decision making.
  2. Measure Change Readiness and Progress
    Set up a reasonable system of regular and frequent progress reviews so you can focus on what’s working from a hearts and minds perspective and eliminate or improve what’s not working.

    From a change readiness perspective, you will know you are on the right path if you know where all key stakeholders stand in terms of their level of dissatisfaction with the status quo, vision for the desired future, key steps to make it happen, and level of change resistance.

Organizational Change Demands Discipline
Ultimately, the critical driver of successful change is rigorous discipline. Check-up meetings with reports on progress should be scheduled at least every week so that there’s time to recoup if critical milestones are in danger of being missed. Discipline is needed even as enthusiasm for the change wanes — maybe even especially then.

Studies show that the one-year mark of an organizational change initiative is a critically sensitive time. This is when change can be accelerated, or progress can be in jeopardy. Change catalysts must maintain focus on the prize and stay fully engaged. Otherwise, complacency or doubt invites failure.

The Bottom Line
Has your company set up organizational change for success? It is up to you to ensure you have taken the steps that support successful change — making the case, setting up a system of accountability, and maintaining focus and discipline.

To learn more about how to set up for change success, download The 5 Change Perspectives that Leaders Must Get Right

Evaluate your Performance


Get key strategy, culture, and talent tools from industry experts that work


Health Checks

Assess how you stack up against leading organizations in areas matter most



Download published articles from experts to stay ahead of the competition



Review proven research-backed approaches to get aligned



Stay up to do date on the latest best practices that drive higher performance


Client Case Studies

Explore real world results for clients like you striving to create higher performance