Can organisational change be an exact science?


The vast majority of the business world is constantly looking to grow. That mantra is not just taken on board in terms of finances, but also in everything from personnel to the scope of ideas. Naturally, the key ingredient to any area of vast improvement is change.

In the past, myriad enterprises built unique plans from the ground up, and hoped that sound strategic management was enough to execute them and produce positive results. While many find success in that practice, research from McKinsey & Company explained that there could well be an exact science behind organisational transformations.

Four core principles

McKinsey & Company surmised that there are four points that have to be followed in any transformation efforts. Rather then being overtly complex, they actually focus on cultivating change through effective leadership:

  • Role mode​lling: Leaders must set an example for their peers to follow that champion innovation and the consequent change.
  • Conviction and understanding: Devising a compelling ‘story’ around any change processes, ensuring that employees know what role they will play in ongoing development.
  • Using formal mechanisms: Setting individual and company-wide performance goals and offering financial and non-financial incentives that reinforce the change process.
  • Cultivate talent: Assess any gaps in the workforce’s skills and fill them using targeted opportunities that equip employees to deal with change.

Developing strategy

As pointed out in research published by The Summit Group, an effective strategic planning process should be at the centre of any initiative aimed at cultivating organisational change.

While McKinsey & Company’s four golden rules should certainly be noted from a leadership point of view, there’s little substitute for a formalised and thorough plan when it comes to giving every employee a top down view of the company’s long-term aims and objectives.