Change Management: The Key to Organizational Vitality

7 Steps to Ensure Your Organization Is Change Ready

Events over the course of the last two years have transformed virtually every aspect of how, when and where we work, leading to a Talent Uprising that continues to be a driving force for organizational evolution. Now, as we begin to emerge from the shadow of the pandemic, many organizations are looking to vitalize their business — revamping processes and operating models, transforming their culture and invigorating their workforce.

This new era will surely bring about more significant change. You might find you need to redefine your corporate strategy and rethink organizational priorities to remain competitive in this fluid and volatile environment. You might adopt a hybrid workplace model, which in turn may require you to re-envision your talent philosophy and your talent pools. In the face of new employee expectations, you might realize your leaders need upskilling to develop new competencies. You might wish to optimize your processes around succession planning and/or career pathing, or invest in diversity, equity and inclusion and/or HR transformation. You might even need to transform your organizational culture to invigorate your employees. Whatever you choose to do, the one constant among all of these will be the need for change.

With that said, harnessing the full power of the Talent Uprising and planning for this new era of opportunity (however it manifests itself in your organization) requires one to fully embrace—and plan for—change.

Simplifying Change Is Easier Than You Think!

Take this practical approach to prepare your organization for the transformational change (and the opportunity) you will experience with your Talent Uprising:

Step 1: Define What’s Changing, Why It Is Changing and Who Is Impacted

You can’t harness the transformational power of your Talent Uprising and vitalize your organization if you don’t have a clear understanding and vision of what is happening—specifically, what exactly will be changing in your organization, why the change is happening and who in your organization will be impacted by this change.

Step 2: Understand How People Are Being Impacted

Once you define the change needed and identify who will be impacted, you will need to probe a little deeper to understand how those people and/or groups will be impacted by the change. Determine their readiness for the change in four areas:

  • Understanding: How much will they know about what is changing?
  • Emotion: What will their feelings be toward the change?
  • Ability: How adept and capable will they be to change?
  • Intent: How motivated will they be to change?

Step 3: Build Your Plan

Assessing your people’s and/or groups’ level of understanding, emotion, ability and intent will ultimately help you appropriately plan for change. You will be able to determine and tailor the right change interventions to use, such as leadership alignment and engagement, culture and stakeholder experience, communications, learning and capability building, etc. You will also need to define up front how you will measure change adoption and resistance.

Step 4: Engage Trusted Leaders and Advisors

Before you begin to execute your plan, securing sponsorship from your leaders and key influencers will be critical. Akin to playing a game of chess, you will need to be strategic when leveraging these powerful advocates and allies. Know when and how to engage them, collaborate with them, involve them and inform them.

Step 5: Execute Your Plan

Once you have engaged the right people at the right time, you can then begin to more broadly activate the remaining elements of your plan. Communicate the vision for the change and bring your people along the change journey—be transparent about what will change and why, when the change will occur and how they will be involved. Train your people on any new ways of working and provide them with opportunities to learn and build capability and confidence in the change. Establish supporting infrastructure to enable the change (e.g., policies, processes, organizational structures, technology, etc.). Assess your people’s readiness, adoption and aversion to change. Iterate on your plan and activities as needed.

Remember, however, that change fatigue is real, so make sure you prioritize and do not take on too many change activities at one time.

Step 6: Celebrate Wins and Defuse Resistance

As you activate the change, never forget to continually monitor how the change is progressing as you look to vitalize the organization. It is just as important to celebrate positive behavior as it is to coach negative behavior. If you really want the change to stick, employ reinforcement tactics. Repetition is key.

Step 7: Address Gaps and Needs

Change is never static, so your plan and activities shouldn’t be static either. Take an agile and iterative approach with your change plan and activities. Be sure to remain vigilant to trends you are seeing as people and groups go through their own change curves. Additionally, be ready to adapt and act when you see spikes and dips in people’s understanding, emotion, ability and intent. This is inevitable and the only way through this is to push forward.

Harness The Full Power Of Your Talent Uprising (Together)!

A final thought: It’s how change is implemented that people react to, not the change itself. Be sure to consistently seek sponsorship, feedback and subject matter expertise from others. Maximizing your Talent Uprising and vitalizing your organization—and the transformative change that comes with it—will require a robust change management and communication plan, and will definitely be a community effort.


Senior Consultant HR & Talent Advisory | U.S.

We would like to thank Jenny Kim, Jill Kissack and Michael Martin for contributing their insights to this article.

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