The anatomy of organizational change

The anatomy of organizational change

In my other blog post, I wrote about what organizational change is and how it should be measured. In this post I’m focusing on the mistakes that usually cause the downfall of change.

Briefly and simply: change management is always managing the change of culture and that requires communication. In situation of change, communication is even more vital than in the everyday life of an organization. The most important thing during change is to inform about the progress, causes and consequences that the change will have.

As in every other form of communication, the goal is to create interaction. When you get the people involved in the change to share their concerns and fears, it is easier to motivate the reasons for the change. Mere reporting isn’t sufficient enough.

Change management is leading people by the means of communication. Inversely – the original sin of a change leader is attempting to lead concepts and forgetting about the people. Ultimately, people are the ones doing the change. That is why a change project is just as successful as its communication.

20 years ago Kotter defined the 8 worst mistakes in organizational change. They can also be translated to operating instructions. Do like this.

1. Ensure that everyone understands how important it is to react to change, here and now.

2. Ensure that enough people are committed to driving the change.

3. Ensure that you have a clear and realistic vision of the future.

4. Communicate about your vision often, understandably and consistently.

5. Clear the obstacles blocking your vision (e.g. a contradictory rewarding system).

6. Plan and execute the first, quick profits.

7. Don’t celebrate success before ensuring that the change strikes its roots.

8. Make the change a part of your corporate culture, so that the next change will be easier.

This list will help anyone avoid the worst mistakes. But a successful organizational change is, after all, much more than just avoiding mistakes. That is why I recommend reading what organizational change is and how it should be measured.

About the writer


Tommi Hermunen

Tommi is best described with passion and professionalism. He has lived and worked abroad in Europe for several years and is specialized in change management within new geographical and cultural business environments. He has gained practical experience in General Management, Finance & Control, Human Resources, Sales and Operations owing to his various positions in private sector within an international group and in public sector as a public servant.
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