Change, Transformation and Organisational Context

In our thirteen-part series “Change or Chance?”, we discussed the science, principles, and “accelerators” of change programs.

Our “Change or Chance?” posts can be accessed either in our LinkedIn post feed:

 or via The Sixsess Consultancy’s Insights’ Archive:

But in what organisational context can these be applied?

To quote Antonio Nieto-Rodriguez from his outstanding book The Harvard Business Review Project Management Handbook (Harvard Business Review Press)

We have moved “….from a world driven by efficiency to a world driven by change” and “….in fact, in organisations the entire decision factory should be thought of as nothing but projects”.

Essentially, organisationally, everything is a “project” and, by definition, projects are all about “change’. 

Some organisations have now removed positional titles – because, in an environment where, to be effective, they need to be both stable and reliable but also agile – roles must be similarly lithe and flexible.  

We’ve discussed the dual structure that enables organisations to be effective in this, the age of accelerating change.  

The dual structure consists of a hierarchy (for reliability and stability) and a creative network, operating symbiotically with the hierarchy, and our two posts discuss this:


Does this mean that the change principles and accelerators should only be applied to large-scale projects?

Well, no! 

Whether a start-up or an enterprise, or indeed a department (even small one) within an organisation, the principles, processes/accelerators can (and should) be applied if effective and sustainable change is going to be implemented. 

It’s not just about large-scale change.  

Departmental leaders can use the principles and accelerators when undertaking any change initiative.  

The KOTTER INTERNATIONAL principles remain the same:

  1. Management PLUS Leadership – (leaders create a shared vision)
  2. Select Few PLUS Diverse Many – (get out of the silo, out of the office and collectively innovate)
  3. Have-to PLUS Want-to – (yes, there are “have-to” items on everyone’s agenda, but leverage volunteerism, “Want to” – to really turbocharge innovation and creation)
  4. Head PLUS Heart – (communicate a vision of the future that ignites emotional involvement)

Traditionally, many organisations have used the first method in each of the above – eg change “management” – and have omitted the essential second eg “leadership” and have suffered the consequences as a result. 

They’re both required.

And the Kotter change accelerators also remain the same:

  1. Create a sense of urgency
  2. Build a guiding coalition
  3. Form a strategic vision
  4. Enlist a volunteer army and communicate for buy-in
  5. Enable action by removing barriers to change
  6. Create short-term wins
  7. Sustain acceleration
  8. Institute change

The most technically and strategically sound initiative will fail unless an organisation’s stakeholders buy-in to it, the executive sponsor is committed to it, and the momentum behind it is maintained until it’s fully instituted within the organisation.

And this translates to almost any change initiative, because effective and sustainable change is about people, first and foremost, regardless of the scale of the program.

Having committed to the principles and accelerators, then a business model canvas (BMC) and value proposition canvas (VPC) and project management canvas (PMC) are ideal collaborative tools to help stimulate innovation and ideation within the creative network of the organisation.

We’ve included images the BMC and VPC from our go-to resource StratNavApp.

A PMC is very similar in construction to the BMC.

Let the thoughts flow – these canvases are remarkable in their ability to assist teams in developing ideas, concepts and benefits to create the delivery of a shared strategic vision. 

Other strategy models and tools can, of course, be applied as and where appropriate.

It’s also important to stress that the use of the word “project” does not constrain the method of its delivery.

Project Type:

Continuous Improvement: 

Not suited to project management techniques. 

Use PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act)/Gemba Walks/Kaizen/MBWA (Management By Wandering About)

Project Management: 



Program management & Mega Projects: 


Transformative initiatives: 

Ideation or 

Lean start-up (“learn-fast, fail-fast”, “build, measure, learn, pivot”


A strategy is the central rule of a framework, designed to unify all decisions and actions around busting the bottleneck to achieving aspirations.” Peter Compo; The Emergent Approach to Strategy; Business Expert Press

The domain of leaders is the future. The work of leaders is change. The most significant contribution leaders make is not to today’s bottom line; it is to the long-term development of people and institutions so they can adapt, change, prosper, and grow” and “Leadership is everybody’s business” Jim Kouzes, Barry Posner, Ph.D.; The Leadership Challenge; Wiley. 

Equipping your organisation to rise to, and benefit from, the immense opportunities afforded by the paradigm of continuous change, whether your entity is commercial or public sector, is the challenge before its leadership.

Seize it.

Barry Eustance CMgr MCMI

Principal Change Practitioner The Sixsess Consultancy

#change #transformation #leadership #kotter #stratnavapp 

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