Organizational Change and Competitive Advantage: Cultivating a Capacity for Change

How businesses can build a capacity for change, and why organizational change is a key competitive advantage for businesses.

Jackie Simens

CE Consulting Manager

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Table of Content

    In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, the ability to adapt and embrace change has become a crucial competitive advantage.

    Companies that can quickly and effectively respond to market shifts, advancements in technology, and changing customer needs are more likely to experience higher rates of customer and employee satisfaction, which can lead to better economic outcomes.

    But in a world where change is constant, cultivating a capacity for change can be challenging. Building a capacity for organizational change requires continuous experimentation, investing in technology, and relying on staff to take calculated risks.

    This article explores how businesses can build a capacity for change, and why organizational change is a key competitive advantage for businesses in our fast moving world.

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    Concept of Capacity for Change

    A capacity for change refers to a company’s ability to adapt to new circumstances and changing environments quickly. This means being able to pivot and embrace new technologies, strategies, or business models in order to remain competitive.

    But maintaining a continuous level of adaptability is challenging, especially when a company experiences organizational friction. In fact, high levels of organizational friction within a business can reduce their capacity for change.

    According to Liz Corey, Velosio’s change management expert, “organizational friction refers to the resistance within an organization that slows down or prevents the achievement of its objectives.”

    Organizational friction can be caused by several factors, including:

    • Conflicts between leaders
    • Power struggles
    • Office politics
    • Unclear communication
    • Silo-ed communications

    To build a strong and continuous capacity for change, companies should first strive to decrease organizational friction.

    Doing so, businesses will be better able to adapt to unexpected market shifts, changing customer needs, high employee turnover, and even world events like a pandemic or a natural disaster.

    Why businesses should cultivate a capacity for change

    Beyond the ability to stay afloat during environmental changes, there are several reasons why businesses should strive to cultivate a capacity for change. Some include:

    Significant financial and economic benefits

    Organizational Change and Competitive Advantage: Cultivating a Capacity for Change

    By being able to adapt quickly to changing market conditions, companies can remain competitive and avoid being left behind. This can result in increased revenue, profitability, and overall success.

    Early identification of these changing market conditions is key to having an advantage over the competition.  Without the right tools to understand the changing business environment, companies can easily miss out on opportunities.

    Retaining skilled talent

    Cultivating a capacity for change can help businesses retain skilled talent. This helps position themselves as an employer of choice. Employees are attracted to innovative and forward-thinking companies, and are more motivated to take on challenges that can move a company forward.

    Having a reputation for being an industry leader can help a company attract and retain top talent. But to do this, businesses must encourage and foster a culture of innovation and experimentation. Without these characteristics, cultivating organizational change will likely be more difficult.

    Enhanced reputation

    Companies that are known for their innovative and adaptive culture can build a reputation for having a competitive edge. A reputation for innovation can help companies differentiate themselves from their competitors. This helps attract customers who are looking for cutting-edge products or services. Being known for adaptability can position companies as change leaders, so during times of uncertainty, they are the ones other businesses look to for direction.

    Effective contingency planning

    Unexpected events, such as economic downturns or significant world events, are always a possibility, but rarely planned for. An organization’s ability to quickly respond to these events is crucial for not only survivability, but also longevity. By cultivating a capacity for change, an organization is improving their contingency planning measures.

    How businesses can cultivate a capacity for change

    Cultivating a capacity for change requires a deliberate and strategic approach, but also a willingness to experiment and take risks. Organizational change requires the buy-in from everyone in the company, not just the leaders at the top.

    Before harnessing change as a competitive advantage, here are some ways businesses can start building a capacity for change within the organization:

    Build a culture of continuous improvement

    Businesses that are committed to continuous improvement are better equipped to adapt to change. This involves creating a culture of experimentation and encouraging employees to take risks, try new things, and be willing to fail. The entire organization must accept and adapt to the failures that often come with change.

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    According to Jackie Simens, Velosio’s change management expert, a common misconception among businesses is that change management is a one-time event. Rather, it’s a fluid process that requires continuous feedback. Companies can build feedback systems to help with continuous improvement. Offering feedback to employees encourages them to share their ideas and helps develop their buy-in to the change process.

    Invest in agile technology and processes

    Agile technologies and methodologies are designed to increase flexibility and responsiveness within a business. By adopting an agile approach, businesses introduce iterative changes to projects, technology, or processes.

    Agile processes are effective at building a capacity for change because of its focus on iterative changes and early delivery. This enables businesses to respond to change and deliver value more quickly to customers. Agile technology allows businesses to embrace change in small amounts, which requires businesses to stay flexible and embrace continual change.

    Implement change management best practices

    Not every organization knows how to implement change. One of the best places to start is at the top. In most organizations, it’s the responsibility of leadership to provide a strategic direction for their employees to follow – and the tools they need to get there.

    Involving employees in the change process, offering training, and celebrating success are a few ways leaders can implement change management in their business. Investing in tools and resources designed to encourage change can help reduce resistance to change among employees.

    Competitive Advantages of Cultivating a Capacity for Change

    Cultivating a capacity for change can give businesses a distinct edge over the competition. Here are a few of those advantages:

    Business Growth

    When other businesses are struggling to adapt to change, the ones who developed a capacity for change are in a position to grow. By being able to quickly pivot and take advantage of new opportunities, companies can increase their market share and revenue. This gives them a more sustainable competitive advantage over other organizations.

    Ability to Invest

    Businesses that have a capacity for change are also better positioned to invest in new technologies and opportunities when they arise. This can help them stay ahead of the curve and maintain a competitive edge.


    Businesses that are resistant to change are at risk of being left behind. Companies that adapt can not only stay afloat in challenging times, but also take advantage of slow market conditions or jump on the latest technology. Doing so can position themselves for long-term success.

    Employee Satisfaction

    When employees feel secure and valued, it’s more likely that they’ll stay at an organization. In today’s fast-paced job market, a business that’s able to adapt and innovate is appealing to young, highly-skilled workers. Promoting a culture of change also increases opportunities for employees to bring new ideas to the table, which improves collaboration and employee satisfaction.

    Final Thoughts

    Cultivating a capacity for change is crucial for businesses that want to remain competitive in today’s rapidly evolving business landscape. By building a culture of continuous improvement and investing in agile technology and processes, businesses can adapt quickly to changing market conditions and customer needs.

    This can result in increased revenue, profitability, and overall success. Companies that can adapt and embrace change will be in a better position to thrive in a constantly evolving business environment.

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    Jackie Simens

    CE Consulting Manager

    Follow Me: