How to Deal with Monumental Change

I was recently reminded of how easy it is for leaders to lose sight of how much change their organization is experiencing.

One leader I spoke with has experienced a lot of downsizing in the last year and is now experiencing some very positive growth. Even though the organization is now well positioned for this growth, they are still reeling from the downsizing actions.

Another leader I spoke with continues to go through a downsizing process. Not only that but they are converting many of their staff to on-demand contractors. This is a huge cultural shift that impacts all aspects of the organization!

Good Leaders and Great Leaders

Good leaders understand that change is constant and their organization must always be innovating and adapting or it will become irrelevant.

Great leaders also understand this. However, great leaders continually balance their organization’s capacity for change with the programs currently underway. Then they carefully manage the change cycle to ensure that their people are not overloaded or over stressed.

A friend of mine has an amazing organization that has grown significantly over the last 10 years. He has seen an increase in:

  • Clients
  • Leaders
  • Staff
  • Budgets
  • Assets
  • Office space
  • Workload

This growth has come with significant change that has not been lost on this business leader. He continually monitors himself and his organization for signs of overload. They regularly meet with stakeholders, actively gauge the stress on the organization, celebrate wins, and constantly evaluate their capacity for new change programs.

So, how do you measure the potential impact that change is having on your organization?

Organizational Change Impact Assessment

The easiest way to measure the change that your organization is experiencing is to sit down with your leaders and run through each major initiative underway within your organization. To do this simply:

  1. List all the initiatives
  2. Then rate the size of each initiative on a 1 to 10 scale (10 is large)
  3. Now rate the magnitude of the organizational change impact that the initiative will have on a 1 to 10 scale (10 being large)
  4. Then, multiply these two numbers together for a rough impact score (100 is the upper end of the scale and indicates a large organizational impact)
  5. Put each initiative on a timeline to show when the change will be impacting the organization

Download an Excel based template that guides you through this process by clicking here (the Change Tracker file is in the Operations Engine section at the Business Tools page on this website). The resulting analysis will give you a graph that looks something like this:

Once this has been completed, the next step is to review the resulting information and do an honest assessment of your programs by asking questions like.

  1. What is your organization’s current ability to handle change?
  2. What changes have just been implemented and has the organization had a chance to adapt properly?
  3. How many programs are now underway?
  4. Are you implementing a number of these programs concurrently? Also, what affect will these concurrent changes have on the organization?
  5. Are there large, overlapping initiatives that may overwhelm the organization?
  6. Finally, do some of the initiative start and/or finish dates need to be re-evaluated to spread some of the organizational change load out?

Take Action

Get started this week and complete an organizational change impact assessment. Then spend some time analyzing the results and actively gauge the capacity for your organization to take on more change. Are you ready for new change or do you need to let the organization catch its breath before embarking on new change programs?

Finally, take a look at these related articles for more great information:


Change is not merely necessary to life. It is life.” Alvin Toffler


What are your experiences with implementing organizational change? Leave your comments below!

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