Explore these 4 key inter-related components of successful change implementation in organizations. In all organizations, change only happens if and when it is initiated. Successful change implementation cannot happen without these 4 key components. Miss any of these 4 components from the onset of a major change and the change efforts will fail.

4 Components of Successful Change in Organization

*Infographic inspired by Braden Kelley's Five Keys to Successful Change and reproduced with permission

By Catherine Adenle

Recently I came across Braden Kelley’s Five Keys to Successful Change as part of a sneak preview of his upcoming new book, Charting Change (Feb 2016). I found it compelling, and wanted to share it with you and expand upon it further with some of my own thoughts.

For successful change implementation in organizations, there are 4 main components serving as pillars holding up the change.  These pillars are various distinct phases of change – planning, leadership, management and maintenance of change.

Treating change as a process should be a central factor of change and its management in all organizations. By breaking change down into these distinct phases (planning, leadership, management and maintenance), organizations can create roles and responsibilities, customize and tailor approach to change to ensure that employees successfully adopt change.

Change Ready Organizations Survive

Today’s business landscape is Darwinian! In these times of economic volatility, competitors are moving at lightning speed.  They are agile and highly innovative. Their products and services get quickly upgraded, changed or even eliminated through constant continuous improvement initiatives.

Those organizations that identify new opportunities and take quick actions to capture them are the ones surviving. Those who learn to make successful change implementation happen are doing it over and over and they are thriving. In other words, organizations must learn how to change and treat these 4 key change components as their number one mission-critical discipline for change. The winners and losers of today’s global competition are determined by one common factor and that factor is Change.

The most successful organizations and leaders are not fearful about making changes because they are always change ready.  They have the skills as well as these main components required to drive and execute any successful change. It’s known that successful change implementation only happens through possessing change management skills and the rudimentary know-how of change implementation. These two things in organizations increase the likelihood of quick innovation and transition success rate by up to 49%.

A change ready organization embraces these cultural norms and displays these characteristics:

  • Have a team of change agents, champions and cheer leaders
  • Supports employees involvement at all levels
  • Engages in constant incremental changes
  • Rewards creativity and risk taking
  • Allows failure and learns from it
  • Promotes collaborations, partnering and team work
  • Links the present to the future
  • Embraces change
  • Celebrate change

See Survival of the Most Adaptable: Becoming a Change e-Ready Culture

These 4 main components of change as highlighted on the Infographic above are critical to organizations given that a poorly executed change initiative can greatly damage organizations’ good intentions. A failed change effort will make employees confused, unhappy and doubtful of future change initiatives. Most of all, change initiatives that are poorly executed can drive stress which can decrease employees’ performance by about 12%.

4 Components of Successful Change Implementation in Organizations

Having a plan for change in organizations should mean realigning some employees’ job roles and responsibilities in order to make change initiative successful.

For a major change initiative, individuals who are responsible for change execution must not keep doing everything they were doing before and then expected to simply add or pile on the new change initiative work and responsibilities on top of their already overwhelming list of things to do daily at work.

One of the reasons why so many change initiatives fail is that leaders keep adding more work on the plates of employees’ in charge of change. They also add more work to their own plates, but forget to focus more on the change at hand. However, in order for successful change implementation to happen, organizations need to create the space, roles, responsibilities, resources and capacity for change to occur and stick.

For successful change implementation in organizations, these are 4 vital inter-related components:

  1. Change Planning
  2. Change Leadership
  3. Change Management
  4. Change Maintenance

Identifying and indicating ‘who will do what,’ ‘how,’ and ‘by when’ before embarking on change will ensure that change is successfully implemented.

Successful Change Implementation in Organizations: Roles and Responsibilities

To embark on any successful change implementation, change should not just begin with projects and initiatives. Change may happen as a result of continuous improvement projects or initiatives, but change implementation must not start via a project. Otherwise change message will be lost and people will forget that change does not happen instantaneously.

Change is a process and should be treated so. The easiest and most rudimentary approach to understanding change is to break it down into different, understandable elements following three states of change. These are: the current state, the transition state and the future state.

Successful Change Implementation 3

1. Change Planning – This is where the roadmap of change is put together. The individuals here don’t live in the future state, they plough the way to get there. For successful change implementation, whoever is in charge of this phase of change plans, creates and explains the roadmap of change, its objectives, goals and success measurement.

As most change management challenges are tied to the current state, for this phase, knowledge of what is currently happening is required. There will be a collection of processes, behaviors, tools, technologies, organizational structures, responsibilities and job roles that establishes how work is currently done. The current state defines what an organization does and how. Things may not be working well for now for the organization, but things are familiar and comfortable for its employees because they know what to expect daily. Anyone responsible for change planning does not jump into the future state without painting a pictures of how to get there through change. They aim to move everyone to the future state and they work closely with leaders to craft the roadmap for successful change implementation.

See 5 Characteristics of a Change Agent

4. Change Maintenance – This phase ensures that change remains a priority. This is where the reinforcement and maintenance of change happens until it is measured, declared successful, transferred and embedded. Once an organization sees that change is happening as planned, this phase takes care of its maintenance.

Here change is evaluated through these following questions:

  • What went well in initiating, managing and transferring the change initiative to the owners of change?
  • What could have been done better and why?
  • What else should have been done so that future change initiatives are quicker and far more successful?
  • How do we maintain momentum until change is fully embedded in the organization?

This phase is where lessons learned are captured to understand what might be done on future change initiatives to ensure they are more successful. When change initiatives are successful, people are more apt to adapt to change more easily in future. They are confident in the change process in the organization overall.

Via the answers to the questions above, an organization then develops a plan to maintain the change. They also have a plan in place to evaluate the change regularly; they monitor and continue to strengthen change. This might be on a 3 or 6 months basis. However, as with any process within an organization, regular evaluation is essential to ensure the process still meets the needs of the organization.

See How to Sustain Change in a Large Organization

Now that you have explored the 4 key components of successful change implementation in organizations, what else can you add? Leave your comments below.


Founder, Catherine's Career Corner. The career site empowering and inspiring ambitious candidates of all ages and professions to thrive and work smarter on their careers. Gladly helping you to explore your career at any stage.

8 thoughts on “Successful Change Implementation in Organizations: 4 Components (Infographic)

  1. This is a great article on the components of change. I like how each component is explained. Indeed, no organization can successfully execute change without these components.

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  2. This is a well-rendered Infographic! I love the article too. In fact, I’ve read all your change articles for my MBA program. They are great. Keep up the great work.

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  3. Pingback: 12 Deadly Sins of Change Implementation in Organizations | CHANGECENTRALPRO

  4. This 4 components are interconnected during change, one cannot ignore any of the 4 during change.

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