Organisational change myths every leader needs to avoid

Published 25 January 2024

4 myths that can cast a shadow on the success of organisational change efforts

Aotearoa is filled with stories like Te Māngōroa (shark) that was put into the night sky by Māui.

While these myths have remained a mystery for thousands of years, the myths related to organisational change and restructuring are something that we can unravel for you.

New Zealand SMEs are no stranger to the challenges of transformation. However, some myths can cast a shadow on the success of organisational change efforts.

Myth #1: Organisational transformation always results in a massive restructuring

The myth that restructuring is the silver bullet for transformation is common - but it's not always the answer.

While restructuring is a powerful tool, a successful transformation considers various aspects. An organisational review should encompass processes, procedures, and even the tech support that keeps the business humming.

Without a well-thought-out process, organisations risk running in a cycle of restructuring without real change. Kiwi businesses need to look beyond restructuring for sustainable transformation.

Myth #2: Resistance needs to be met head-on

Dealing with resistance is like navigating a river – confront it head-on, and you might find yourself stuck. Resistance often stems from fear and uncertainty. Instead of facing it head-on, guide your team through the change.

Help them understand what it means for them and their future. Communication is crucial, but effective change management goes beyond just sending messages.

Change management involves sponsorship, coaching, proactive resistance management, training, and reinforcement.

The key to overcoming resistance is not just awareness but answering the crucial question: Why is the change necessary?

Myth #3: It's best not to communicate the change until all decisions are made

Imagine preparing for a Kiwi BBQ without telling your mates what's on the grill – anxiety, uncertainty, and possibly some hangry friends. Similarly, delaying communication until decisions are finalized can breed negativity and inaccuracies.

A communication plan is not a 'nice to have' but a 'must have.' Keep the kai flowing smoothly with timely, transparent communication. Employees prefer change messages from senior leaders and immediate supervisors, so let the leaders and supervisors carry the torch of information.

Myth #4: Restructures are always about downsizing

There is a misconception that restructuring is a synonym for downsizing. Restructuring can be driven by various factors, from adapting to market changes to preparing for future growth.

While job losses can be a part of the process, restructuring can also create new roles and opportunities. It's about reshaping to thrive in the changing landscape, not just cutting costs.

Kiwi businesses should view restructuring as a tool for evolution, not just a cost-cutting measure.

In the past year, many Kiwi organisations have embarked on the journey of reviewing their structures to align with the demands of the modern world. Some have stumbled on these myths, but every failure is a step closer to success. Transforming your organisation is not about avoiding change but embracing it.

If you're contemplating a review of your organisational structure or need guidance through transformation, remember, we're here to help.

Our friendly HR and employment experts are just an email or a phone call away.

Email us at help@hrtoday, or call us on 03 366 4034 for professional, one-on-one guidance.


This article is not intended as legal advice but is intended to alert employers to relevant topics of interest and how to be prepared.

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