Organizational Change: Coca-Cola

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As we enter the 21st Century, change and how to lead it successfully has become the foremost topic on the minds of organizational leaders. And for good reasons: Change is happening everywhere; its speed and complexity are increasing; and the future success of organizations depends on how successful leaders are at leading that change. In today’s marketplace, change is a requirement for continued success, and competent change leadership is a most coveted executive skill.

Organizations’ track records at change are not very good. The vast majority of today’s change efforts are failing to produce their intended business results. These struggling efforts are producing huge cost to budgets, time, people, customers, and faith in leadership. Organizations are spending tens of millions of dollars on change efforts such as reengineering and information technology installations, yet not obtaining their intended return on investment. Furthermore, the very methods used in these failed efforts are causing tremendous resistance and burnout in people, loss of employee morale, and turmoil in the cultures of organizations. Put simply, organizational leaders are falling short in their efforts to lead change successfully.

Over the past decade or so, these struggles have given rise to the field of change management. For the most part, change management practitioners have attempted to provide solutions to two major problems—how to plan better for implementation and how to overcome employee resistance. However, these two necessary components of change have not produced adequate positive results, especially for transformational change. Why? Because attention to implementation and resistance is only the tip of the iceberg of what is required in transformation. It is now time to move beyond change management into change leadership, now time to develop the advanced change strategies that support this new type of change.


Case in Point: Coca-Cola’s Transformation...
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