The single most important lesson I learned​ on managing change


Navigating organizational change is a tricky task so it is no surprise that, according to McKinsey & Company, one in three change programs fail.

Employees are always reluctant to change, as it implies reshaping their habits and stepping out of their comfort zone. Yet change is inevitable for companies wanting to stay competitive. So how can companies successfully implement their change program?

Leading change in organizations has been at the heart of my career. It was both exciting and challenging. Changing processes and structures, and abandoning an iconic brand when transforming Freeserve into Wanadoo were an immense task. Still, our most difficult project was to have people embrace the new culture. Individuals in newly-formed teams will lose their support network, having to build new relationships and trust with co-workers and managers. They will generally feel alone and in need of someone with whom to share their thoughts and concerns.

Talent management teams are well aware of the stress this creates for employees and are at the forefront of helping everyone through these unsettling times. Being already swamped by multiple priorities, they have to resort to less interactive support mediums like books, e-learning tools or workshops. But will watching a video really address their personal concerns? Under a stressful situation, people simply need to talk to someone who can help them navigate this difficult phase.

Organizational change revolves around people and needs to be addressed as such.

My personal experience leading change has helped me understand the potentially negative effects change had on people. I remember employees (the bravest!) coming to me at night trying to find answers and feel confident about the company’s plan. Looking back, a 1-hour sit down with a professional coach would have avoided many doubts and stress preventing us from quickly adopting the new changes.

The next time you launch a new product, form a new team, reorganize a division, acquire a company or simply appoint a new manager: consider the people and try spot.coaching.

Eric Abensur is the former CEO of Wanadoo & Venda Group. He is the founder of


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