Organizational Change: Climbing higher

Last year, long Covid prevented me from walking a block without losing my breath. But last week, I climbed my first mountain. A lot of hard work & training transpired in between. When the moment of truth arrived, I was scared but excited to accomplish the feat along with my (very fit) 17-year-old son.

As I reached the summit of Lookout Mountain, I reflected on my journey up the 14% grade. At the start, I had gone so fast to keep up, my heart rate reached a critical level. I felt extremely nauseous and dizzy. Instead of giving up, I rested and then took smaller, slower steps. I realized I could keep going, but I had to go slow to go fast.

At Burwood, I have the privilege of helping many organizations navigate change. Due to how fast our world moves, there is an appetite or even impatience for making big changes quickly. It’s difficult to convince some leaders to slow down just a bit, catch their breath, and think critically before ascending.

But just like climbing a mountain…the steeper the hill, the slower the climb. We must be okay with intentional change if it prevents overloading the system. In hiking, injuries and sickness can impede progress more than going slow in the first place. In organizations, lack of defined vision and purpose can harbor dissent and chaos.

Organizations that want to transform their entire operation overnight without first setting intentions and taking time to bring others along for the ride before ripping everything apart… may feel that they’re achieving quick motion. In reality, these companies will rarely make actual progress.

In contrast, organizations that first define what success looks like, spend time educating and inspiring those affected by change prove better results. These organizations methodically prioritize the steps needed to reach their goals and are more likely to reach the summit quicker…and on the first try.

At Burwood, we understand that driving a step-by-step business transformation across the enterprise can be a daunting task. Regardless of where our clients are on your transformation journey, we meet them where they are and work with them as a partner to drive critical change forward while providing our proven change management expertise.

Learn more about how you can drive your organizational change management initiatives forward with Burwood at

Shannon Wilder is a contributing author for Colorado Beach