Making change happen

Change is rarely a straightforward linear exercise. It usually involves experimentation, failure and a willingness to see failure as an opportunity for learning and development. It requires consistency of purpose combined with a willingness to rethink the vision and objectives set out at the start of the journey. The more you try to change an organisation, the more you learn about it and the higher you raise your aspirations. Your understanding of the nature and extent of the change required will certainly deepen as the journey progresses.

Above all, it means making change happen with people, not to people. They have the knowledge, experience and creativity that can make change happen, and make it stick. Use it.

Go for it!

  • Do members of the senior leadership team understand that change will involve asking difficult questions and challenging established practices? Do you really have their support?
  • Have you involved all the relevant stakeholders from the beginning? Does everyone understand how they will contribute to the journey?
  • Have you anticipated the potential sources of resistance? What is the best way of dealing with it?
  • What are the mechanisms for two-way communication throughout the process? How will you evaluate progress? How will stakeholders be involved in shared learning and adjustments to change processes and goals during the journey?
  • How will you know whether you have succeeded? And how will you celebrate success?
  • How will change be embedded and sustained?


Leading change can be superbly rewarding, and it can sometimes be a lonely and stressful business. You will be challenging established practices, asking difficult questions and taking people out of their comfort zones. Be prepared for resistance, denial, criticism and even moments of self-doubt.

You can find plenty of guidance on the internet about how to manage difficult situations at work, but here are our top suggestions based on evidence and experience:

Quick Guide to Resilience


Be clear about what you are trying to achieve and why it is important before you try to convince others.


Understand why other people may see things differently: where you are in an organisation shapes how you experience it, and how you perceive challenges and opportunities. Try the Hilltop Workout.

Immediate problems are usually only temporary: don’t let them make you lose sight of the longer-term goal and the benefits it will bring.


Learn about the organisation as a whole, listen to as many people as possible, find allies and friends wherever you can, and establish trust through openness and dialogue. And have fun doing it!


Find people who will share your problems, make time to listen and celebrate your successes. Decide who amongst your friends and family can support you if the going gets tough, and talk to them from the outset. And make full use of other programme participants as well as the Workplace Innovation Europe team. We’re here to listen too.


We hope you’ve enjoyed this short introduction to workplace innovation and will find it useful as a starting point for positive change in your own company. There is so much to gain in terms of improved performance and better ways of working, and it is within your grasp.

We can’t offer you a series of linear steps towards transformation because it just doesn’t work like that. You must be prepared to listen, to involve, to experiment, to take risks and to learn.

Leaders require discipline to maintain the momentum on top of a busy schedule. But it’s surprising how far you can go once you unleash the trust and enthusiasm of people throughout your organisation.

Let us help you

Workplace Innovation Europe CLG is a not-for-profit organisation created to help private and public sector organisations achieve enhanced performance, innovation and better working lives.

Our unique, accredited approach builds on a robust evidence-base, helping your change leaders and managers acquire the knowledge, skills and resources required to achieve successful, systematic and sustainable transformation, supported by practical in-house facilitation and coaching.

We can help you achieve two complementary objectives:

  1. Building internal capacity in your company by creating a team of accredited Workplace Innovation Practitioners, qualified and resourced to lead effective and sustainable change.
  2. Creating and implementing an action plan based on a robust Diagnostic process, supported by expert facilitation, coaching and practical tools and resources.

In short, we will help your change leaders and managers acquire the knowledge, skills and resources needed to achieve systematic and sustainable transformation, supported by in-house facilitation, coaching, practical tools and peer-to-peer networking.

Learn more at

“I highly recommend the Programme and suggest that everyone should go on it. It works for every size of business.”

Chris Owens, IOM

“This programme affects the way people involved in change think and act, and gives a power to the change process.”

Sara Blanco Rodriguez, Kilco

“I can see a difference also in the two people that have been on this course and I can see how they are keen to see that change to be replicated within the business. For me it has exceeded all expectations, probably gone beyond the boundaries of where I thought it would go, it goes right under the skin of the business. I am happy that we are now at the other side of it, that it’s made a big difference.”

Martin Welsh, Booth Welsh

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