4 Ways To Lead Employees Through Organizational Changes

4 Ways To Lead Employees Through Organizational Changes

My phone rings and I pick it up “Hi Simon, I need to talk to you”. The voice was stern and I sensed a level of stress.

“Simon, we’re in the midst of an organizational change and I don’t think it’s going as well as we wanted it to. We need your help.”

This was a call from a former client. I knew about the upcoming organizational change but we hadn’t talked in a couple of months and I knew timely intervention was critical here.

According to research conducted by change expert and professor at Harvard Business School, John Kotter, 70% of all major changes in organizations end up in failure.

Let’s talk about why that is and how you can help your organization beat the odds when transforming your business or implementing important changes.

1. Provide the “Why” for the  Organizational Changes

In order to make a successful change, leaders must continuously inspire their teams by making them aware of the improvements the changes will bring.

If employees are educated on the why of the necessary changes, it will make their lives easier, they will be more motivated to implement the changes and support them.

They will also be more open to dealing with any new learning curves and other factors that may cause discomfort and uncertainty.

2. Create Urgency for Change through Rigorous Communication

Organizational changes often happen company-wide and if you’re working for a large corporation, that could potentially involve hundreds to thousands of people.

For changes to be implemented smoothly and efficiently, a rigorous system of communication should be in place. This ensures that people feel fully informed about the way these changes impact the expectations of their work and how they will affect their career and jobs overall.

A breakdown in communication can lead to confusion and a lack of support.

3. Anticipate Roadblocks and Potential Obstacles

Not every organizational change will go smoothly. In fact, in most cases, some sort of obstacle will arise.

This can be due to the structure of the business, compensation, the systems currently in place or a leader’s lack of vision. I recommend to brainstorm any possible roadblocks ahead of time and then devise a plan for dealing with them effectively.

4. Provide Regular Progress Updates  and Don’t Declare Success Too Soon

It can take a while for a new organizational system to take effect in a business. Even if workers are trained to implement the new system, it may take a few months before you are able to make sure it is successful and that employees are not falling back on their old ways.

Decide up front on clear measures to track success and allow for enough proof to consolidate before you declare the initiative a success.


Change is not easy. It can make people feel uncertain, worried or even fearful. A good leader will help their teams see the benefits of the changes that are being made and feel confident about them moving forward.

This attitude will allow companies to take the necessary steps they need to grow and thrive.

If you’re spearheading an upcoming change initiative or are in the midst of one that’s facing some challenges, like the one my former client is going through, then make sure you get a coach with experience in organizational change.

Working with someone who can broaden your perspective, identify blind spots, and guide you through roadblocks can be what makes the difference between failure and success.

Contact me at simon@simonvetter.com to learn more about coaching on organizational change.