Without reaching a tipping point, transformation falls short of its potential value

Being able to pivot quickly matters—now more than ever. In this age of rapid disruption, change efforts that take two to three years are no longer viable. Radically different business strategies, new employee expectations, and hybrid workplaces require us to fundamentally change the way we work. Our goal at Korn Ferry is to activate organizational change faster. How do we do it?

  • By leveraging our 360 Toolkit, a holistic suite of solutions that work together to create alignment and momentum in service of the change management process
  • By bringing the Art of Movement Making™ and influencers at all levels to every engagement so we can reach “critical mass”—the tipping point of change—faster
  • By applying agile practices that allow us to iterate quickly and test for impact and scale

Together, we’ll ignite a movement inside your organization: a sustained change management solution led by a group of people with a shared purpose who create change faster, together.


“Change isn't a matter of time. It's a matter of will.”

Jenna Young, Head of Client Creative, Korn Ferry

How we can help you create a movement inside your organization

The key to driving change faster is getting to a “tipping point”, the point at which the rate of adoption becomes self-sustaining and new ways of working go viral. Our change management consulting solutions help you get to that point faster by:

Using our Movement Making Maturity Model and Readiness Assessment, we’ll help you design a movement that delivers on your strategy and build the capability to ignite it. Intentional design up front will save time down the line.

Through our instructor-led and digital courses, we help leaders understand the difference between traditional organizational change management and the Art of Movement Making.™ Korn Ferry’s partnership with Kotter, Inc. allows leaders to earn a change management certification as part of their learning journey.

We’ll help you identify your network connections and employee influencers leveraging Organizational Network Analysis (ONA) and turn them into grassroots change agents. Our Influencer Toolkit provides endless ideas to help motivated employees activate change at all levels.

We help you overlay an “always-on” communication campaign to fuel your movement. By leveraging authentic and inclusive storytelling, we reach people not just as employees but as human beings and accelerate your change objectives.

Tapping into Korn Ferry’s deep network, we help you connect to like-minded organizations to accelerate change. We’ll even spot opportunities to partner with your competitors on issues like ESG and DE&I that go beyond your business and have the potential to deliver real value to society.

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Culture 360: A Korn Ferry Buyers' Guide

This guide will help you anticipate common stakeholder questions about cultural change so that you can and create the desired behavior change at scale, faster.

FAQs for change management

What is change management?

Change management (also known as organizational change management) refers to the process of overseeing and facilitating change across all levels within an organization, corporation, or business. In today’s ever-evolving workplace environment, employees must develop the skills needed to adjust to change quickly and efficiently. Employers are increasingly turning to change management consulting firms and strategists to help them transition through many types of change as smoothly and economically as possible.

What is the Art of Movement Making™?

The Art of Movement Making™ is as much art as it is science. It requires the ability to interpret the mood of your work environment in real time, engage and activate key influencers, manage competing interests, build coalitions and reach audiences at the right time over the right channel with the right message.

What is the change management process?

The change management process is a systematic approach to dealing with change. In this approach, leaders respond to changes in the business environment or other external forces. Their response may require changes in business strategy, organizational structure, company procedures or organizational culture.

Typically, the change management process consists of five stages.

  1. Preparation: For change to stick, an organization has to be prepared for the change. That means leaders have to take steps to lay the cultural foundation for change, then prepare the logistical groundwork to support the change. The goal is to help people understand why change is necessary, including building urgency to address challenges facing the organization. To reduce the chances that people will reject change, it’s essential to gain buy-in at this stage.
  2. Planning: The next stage is for leaders to plan how the transformation will occur. The plan should set forth the goals that the change will achieve. Leaders should scope out the project, so they don’t get distracted by unnecessary tasks. The plan should identify the change management team, including who will oversee and implement each task in the change process. Finally, the plan should detail the metrics that the organization will use to measure its progress.
  3. Implementation: Now is the time to follow the steps outlined in the change management plan. Leaders should make sure their employees are empowered to take whatever steps are necessary to achieve their goals. They should also ensure that all steps taken align with their vision for the change. If any roadblocks arise, they should intervene and mitigate them where possible.
  4. Making the change stick: Here, the goal is to ensure that change is sustainable and that people don’t revert to the status quo. It’s easy for people to go back to what’s familiar. To encourage people to embrace change, you can use training, coaching and rewards.
  5. Analysis: After the change initiative is complete, leaders should review their successes and failures. This process will shed light on learned lessons that they can apply in future change projects.

What are the critical change management skills to develop?

Change is inevitable. But not all leaders and managers come ready to lead, equipped with change management skills. Fortunately, you can develop the change management skills required to lead your organization through transformation.

Here is a list of change management skills to cultivate:

  • Communication: Communication plays a role throughout the change management process. Change leaders must communicate to justify the change and create a sense of urgency in employees. They have to communicate their vision for the change and explain why change is necessary. They have to persuade people to accept and sustain the change. Throughout, leaders should gather feedback from the implementation team and stakeholders.
  • Empathy: Empathy is the ability to understand how others are feeling. This change management skill is crucial so leaders can understand how others respond to change and address any resistance or concerns.
  • Active listening: Before change leaders can communicate effectively, they have to listen. In the change management process, leaders should spend at least as much time listening to their employees and team as they do talking about their plans. It’s important for people to know that their thoughts and opinions are valued and heard.
  • Strategic thinking: Every successful change management initiative has a solid strategic foundation. Change leaders must understand what the organization needs and then be able to plot how to achieve that goal.
  • Delegation: Leaders must be willing to empower others to take on projects without micromanaging. They must understand their team’s strengths and weaknesses, so they can choose the right person to lead the work.
  • Resilience: Change leaders must be adept at dealing with setbacks. They must bounce back quickly and thrive under pressure. The most resilient change leaders are creative problem-solvers who don’t shy away from conflict resolution.
  • Optimism: A positive outlook is contagious. Maintaining a positive attitude, even in the face of obstacles and resistance, will inspire productivity and engagement with the rest of the team.
  • Collaboration: The ability to work with a team toward a common goal is an essential change management skill. Teams that work well together accomplish more and lead to more sustainable change.

What are the principles of change management?

Sustainable change requires following a set of change management principles. Some of those change management principles include the following:

  • Remember that culture is everything: Change leaders must make the most of their existing culture and consider it as they develop their plan for change. They should look for elements of their culture that align with the change and emphasize those as they promote the change.
  • Get executive buy-in: Successful change management starts at the top of the organization. Executives must be aligned on the vision for the change and how it will benefit the organization.
  • Obtain input from every level: To reduce the risk of resistance, organizations should tap into the different layers of employees. Leaders should ask how the change is affecting employees and note any roadblocks or challenges they need to address.
  • Embed purpose in the change: A business goal doesn’t ignite the hearts and minds of your employees. But if you tie your change to an overarching purpose that resonates with your people, they’re more likely to support the change.
  • Redesign your structures and systems to support the change: You won’t sustain behavioral change if you don’t also change your workflows, training and operations to match.

What are the benefits of change management?

Change is accelerating — and there’s no sign that the disruption to organizations will stop in the near future. Organizations that aren’t equipped to manage change are likely to have upset employees. These employees are likely to become less productive and may even leave the company.

When organizations implement a sound change management process, they’re likely to see a number of change management benefits. For example, employees will be more prepared for the change, and there will be less resistance. You can also prepare your organization by ensuring your team has the right skills to manage the change, whether through upskilling, reskilling or hiring.

Additionally, change management benefits the organization as a whole. Effective change processes help organizations transform more quickly. Further, a formal change process helps leaders predict the costs of change. They can also build acceptance of change, so they won’t waste resources on changes that employees resist and reject.

When is organizational change management needed?

Change management should begin as soon as you recognize the need for a change. No set rule defines when change management needs to happen. But change is likely to arise in a number of circumstances that may need a change management response.

Here are some examples of scenarios when change management is needed.

  • Underperformance: If your organization isn’t equipped to withstand a constant cycle of change, it’s likely underperforming. Change will be needed to adapt your company so it can remain competitive in the market.
  • Inefficiency: If your organization is stuck on traditional ways of doing things, it may be left behind. For example, if your competition has undergone digital transformation but you’re still shuffling papers in your file cabinets, you’re likely to fall behind quickly.
  • New technology: A new tool may emerge that can help you become more efficient. If you adopt this new tool, you’ll likely have to train your team on how to use it. Other changes in your processes and workflows may also be necessary.
  • Novel opportunity: New markets may arise and, with them, new business opportunities may present themselves. Your organization may need to change its products and services or its market approach to take advantage of these opportunities.

Why is change management difficult?

Change is necessary for your business to grow and reach its full potential. But many people resist change.

People often fear change because it brings with it the unknown. Your employees may worry they’ll fail if their role changes and they can’t learn the new skills required to keep up. They may also fear that they’ll lose their job.

Sometimes people may resist change because there isn’t a sufficient or tangible reward for change. And sometimes it’s simply easier to follow the path of least resistance: keeping things just how they are.

This is why it’s so important to communicate throughout the change process. It may feel as if you’re overcommunicating about the change. But if you don’t communicate, employees will fill in the blanks, leading to rumors and misinformation. This risk is especially high if you’re in a remote work environment.

So, always communicate about the change, and then communicate again.