Organisational change – the human factor

Organisational change? The irony and paradox is that despite the prevalence of change, organisations struggle to manage change projects successfully.

Focussing on system, process, or infrastructure change alone rarely achieves objectives. Insufficient is  given to the ‘people’ aspects of change. This is more complex, and without it, successful change is unlikely.

Many organisations fall at this hurdle because they either neglect the human aspect of change completely, or they do it badly. This is partly because of a lack of knowledge and understanding about how to drive people change, and partly due to an imbalanced focus on task, rather than people.

Change models

From a human factor perspective, some knowledge of the theoretical models around change can be helpful. For example, understanding the different stages of change in the ‘change curve’, (see further: Lewin, Kotter, Nadler, etc.), provides some insight into which stage someone is at, e.g. denial, resistant, pre-contemplative, explorative, or committed.

However, the change models only provide part of the answer. Ideally, organisations also need to understand more about individual responses to change. Why are some people more resistant to change than others? Why do some people adapt quicker to a new process, whilst others seem to flounder, or worse, attempt to derail change?

What drives change success?

In terms of understanding more about how individual responses to change affect change success, there are some important factors to take into consideration.

My research indicates that there are 3 core elements of change which relate to people, and more specifically to mindset. When we understand how mindset influences behavioural response to change, we can introduce strategies which help shape new behaviours required to support change.

The 3 core areas to focus on are: confidence, openness and commitment.

When someone is confident, open-minded and positive, motivated and committed they are much more likely to succeed in the face of change. They will adapt more easily, feel more resilient and able to cope and they will demonstrate the commitment and motivation needed to drive change.

A data driven approach to establishing benchmarks around these core aspects, removes the guess work. This empowers organisations to implement the right strategy, to the right people, at the right time. This drives successful change.

For a free trial of the Engage Change Readiness Assessment tool click here.


Dr Jodi O’Dell is the founder of Engage, a tool which drives organisational performance through people change.

(C) Engage Coach International 2017