Characteristics of Successful Organizational Change



By Angelica Larios, MBA, PMP

Mexico City, Mexico



Organizations change all the time, that is a fact. Whether the changes are planned or unplanned, that is a different story. The ideal is that organizations go through a process of change the best possible and prepared way; however, that is not always the case, and not all initiatives of change end with a good result. Several aspects are involved in the successful or unsuccessful result for an endeavor of change, no matter if the size, type, age, or industry for the organization, the following studied components are according to experience and studies vital for the success of the organizational change.

Leadership, without a doubt, is a strong component of the success of any organizational change projects. Even when there is not the only characteristic, it is evident that good leadership, a good head of the organization, will lead the boat to a right end. Leaders around the world under a broad of styles and approaches are the ones in charge of making the right changes for the organization. Either where is a great strategy to implement or an innovative process to take into consideration, a new product or service or as simple as focusing on internal people and building “professional and social capital.”[1] These actions will orient and influence the final result.

Even when leadership becomes a fundamental aspect, in this paper, leadership is focused on human resources, contribution to the community, the use of standards, the importance of being agile, the importance of relying upon external consultant and more critical the trust needed in the leader and project manager to success in organizational change.

Focus on Human Capital and Resources

Experience and evidence show that leaders of outstanding companies take fewer risks in their decisions and when undergoing an organizational change than their competitors. Still, contrary to what one could think, they produce better outcomes by not rushing headlong into a decision. As it is illustrated, the best corporate leaders actively build the collective capacity for organizational growth and change by establishing strong, cohesive cultures where engagement, mutual understanding, and reciprocal accountability drive better organizational outcomes.[2]

There are several examples of these types of leaders, executives, CEOs, managers and project managers; one case can be found in companies that everybody knows. In the case of FedEx, his founder, and leader, Fred Smith was known for his spirit and participative leadership that was sympathetic and familiar at the same time. Taking into consideration its employees over the material value has made of this organization a huge success. In 2018, it was recognized among the most admired companies in the USA. “FedEx inspires its more than 400,000 team members to remain “absolutely, positively” focused on safety, the highest ethical and professional standards and the needs of their customers and communities.”[3]

With effective strategies in place for the stakeholders, organizations are turning their attention to improve the engagement with employees, using both external social tools and improved social functionality of internal platforms such as company intranets. Organizations recognize nowadays that employees are quite often “their most passionate, credible and impactful brand ambassadors, both internally and externally, and are designing communications strategies that reflect that reality,” said Tyler Durham, partner and managing director of Ketchum Pleon Change. They performed a study in 2012 that revealed an important movement among “those analyzed in the area of internal social connections on two fronts: internal engagement between the company and its employees, and empowerment of employees to represent the brand externally.” In both cases, the support that moves toward “true social business and will ultimately foster real business results in terms of employee retention, engagement, and productivity.”[4]


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How to cite this article: Larios, A. (2020). Characteristics of Successful Organizational Change, PM World Journal, Vol. IX, Issue VII, July.  Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/pmwj95-Jul2020-Larios-characteristics-of-successful-organizational-change2.pdf



About the Author

Angelica Larios

Mexico City, Mexico


Angelica Larios, MBA, PMP, is a project manager with more than 20 years of experience in implementing software projects related to business intelligence, planning and budgeting, and financial consolidation solutions based on software applications to support the business decision process. She is the owner of ALACONTEC, an I.T. consulting company founded in Latin America. She has held several professional positions in private and public organizations, such as the Health Ministry in Mexico as I.T. director, and as a business manager for several firms in Mexico.

She holds a master’s degree in business administration and a bachelor’s degree in computer science from National University of Mexico (UNAM) in addition to her studies in project management and her Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification, which have helped her to consolidate her career and have a better understanding of what businesses and projects need nowadays. She is a doctoral student in strategic leadership at Regent University, VA, USA; she is a PMI volunteer since 2007 starting in the local Mexico chapter, being Past President and and currently serves on the Board Volunteer Advisory Committee (BVAC) that supports the PMI Board of Directors (2016–2018).

Angelica can be contacted at angelica.larios@gmail.com

To view other works by Angelica Larios, visit her author showcase in the PM World Library at https://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/angelica-larios/


[1] Jones, M., & Harris, A. (2014).

[2] Collins, J. & Hansen, M. (2012).

[3] Durham, T.  (2012).

[4] Durham, T.  (2012).