The Ingredients For Successful Organisational Change

The Ingredients For Successful Organisational Change

The Ingredients For Successful Organisational Change 

By Mark Wager

The Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said “The only constant in life is change.” In business if you are not changing then you are falling behind because the business world as in life is constantly changing and with the recent coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent world-wide economic recession, many, if not all business are finding themselves in the position that they have to implement change very suddenly and very quickly. It may be a structural review, reassignment of duties or even deciding which employees are not longer required,. Change can be a difficult  challenge for leaders to implement because if the Leader doesn’t lead effectively then lasting damage can be inflicted on the organisation. 

So what would be the correct way to lead an organisation through times of change? Well this is a complicated answer which is why companies contract people like me to train their leaders to manage change but I can share with you the guiding principles every Leader needs to know which is the four key ingredients of successful organisational change.


The first ingredient for change is one that I’ve seen Leaders overlook and it’s a big mistake to do so. To successfully Implement change the first thing you need to do is to explain why the change is required. I know when a Leader does this there tends to be a tendency to focus on the positives  on how life will be better which is good but it’s not great. The key is for everyone to accept that change is not just desirable but is absolutely necessary and this can only be achieved by stressing the negatives of what happens if change doesn’t happen. This may not seem natural for some leaders but the reality is people need to know the truth even if that truth is undesirable. If the truth is that the business will close if you don’t change then don’t hide from it instead be open and explain what is truly at stake, people will respect you and accept that change is necessary.


The next ingredient is vision. Once people have accepted that change is necessary then they need to know that their Leader has a vision. You will need to provide people with a picture of how the change will be managed including the timeframe, who will be affected and in what way they will be affected and how people can make their voices heard during the process. The Leader will also need to explain who will be making the important decisions and the criteria on which those decisions will be made .The biggest concern people have with change is the uncertainty that change brings so the more the leader can lay out a roadmap then the more comfortable people will feel during this process.


No matter how well you detailed your plan, there will always be unexpected obstacles and to overcome these the Leader will require the next ingredient of change which is courage. Successful change requires difficult decisions and difficult decisions requires courageous conversations. It may be you find yourself in a position that you have to decide that some people are no longer required, you have to decide who leaves and tell them that their employees may no longer be required. It’s important that you don’t shy away from your responsibility as a Leader. Do not delegate these conversations it has to be you, people need to see you leading because how a  Leader navigates change impacts how people view that leader afterwards.


Once people have a reason to change they need a reason to try, because none of the ingredients will work without the final one which is hope. Successful change doesn’t happen when people agree it happens when people believe. Napoleon once said that “A Leader is a dealer in hope” and in relation to change hope is the main responsibility of the Leader. You need to be able to demonstrate to people that they can trust in your knowledge and ability to guide the organisation through change, make sure you are the main source of information and that all Leaders within the organisation are saying the same message. You need to be visible as well as available during this time so if some people are unhappy then you need to be in front of those people addressing their concerns. You can’t allow their negativity to spread through the organisation and above all make sure you are personally demonstrating the behaviours that you want others to display.

Look for ambassadors within your organisation, people who  believe in your change and are also influential. These people don’t have to be the Managers, just people that the employees respect, the kind of people that others seek out for advice and guidance. Identify these influencers and bring them into the Leadership inner circle for the duration of the change process. Get them to believe and they will help others to do so as well. 

When the tide rises some people drown while others surf. This economic revision will bring a lot of change to the business world but change doesn’t have to be bad. While some companies will fail others will soar to new heights. The difference will be down to the quality of Leadership those companies possess.

About the Author

Mark Wager is the Chief Leadership Coach at the Australasian Leadership Institute. Originally from the United Kingdom but now calling New Zealand his home, Mark shows leaders across the Asia Pacific region how to influence, motivate and inspire their teams. Driven by a frustration of attending many ineffective workshops during his 30 year managerial career Mark has made his passion in life to redefine how leaders are trained.

Mark takes advanced psychological theories and makes them accessible to the modern leader regardless of their background, experience or industry, by developing customised Leadership workshops and individual coaching sessions that combine practical real-life scenarios with a mixture of British wit. Mark dispels the myth that there are certain Leadership skills that can’t be learnt. 

Leaders from some of the regions most prestigious organisations have been trained by Mark including the delegates of the European Union, Weta workshops, Amnesty International, Unicef, Barnados, St Johns, Red Cross, NZ Basketball, NZ Tennis, NZ Hockey, NZ Netball, NZ Rugby League, Ministry of Justice, Department of Internal Affairs, NZ Defence Force, the Fijian Broadcasting Corporation, The Fred Hollows Foundation, Sofitel resorts, Raddison Hotel Group, Te Whanau Waipareira and many more.

Posted: Thursday 18 June 2020

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