Building a resilient organization

 “The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence itself, but to act with yesterday's logic.”This quote by Peter Drucker, a management consultant and author, illustrates the need for continuous improvements in an organization to stay relevant amidst market disruptions. In our changing and turbulent business environment, building resilience is imperative for organizations to thrive.

Unilever, a multinational consumer goods company, has successfully undertaken a transformative journey that propelled it from a modest soap manufacturer in 1880 to a global powerhouse spreading into beauty and personal care, home care, and food and refreshments.

  This article delves into Unilever's case study as a prime example of building a resilient organization, highlighting the key strategies and learnings that have enabled the company to achieve sustainable growth and become a force to be reckoned with in the business world.

By examining Unilever's transformation journey, we can glean valuable insights into the critical factors that contribute to organizational resilience and success. 

Unilever's Transformation Journey

Unilever's business journey can be summarized as a remarkable transformation from a soap manufacturer to a multinational giant. The company's milestones demonstrate its ability to adapt and thrive in the ever-changing business landscape by strategically optimizing its portfolio, focusing on core brands and divesting non-strategic businesses.

The integration of sustainability became a central pillar, allowing Unilever to align its operations with environmental and societal needs while driving innovation and profitability. Emphasizing innovation, research and development, Unilever continuously introduced new and innovative products that met evolving consumer demands. 

The company also formed strategic partnerships and pursued acquisitions to expand its market presence and diversify its portfolio. Unilever further recognized the importance of employee engagement and empowerment, fostering a culture of collaboration and diversity. These key milestones propelled it to become a force to be reckoned with in the business world, setting an example for organizations seeking to build resilience and achieve sustainable growth.

Change Management: A lever to drive organisational resilience

Unilever's transformation journey serves as a remarkable case study, demonstrating the power of strategic decision-making, adaptability, and change management in driving organizational resilience. In this article, we explore how change management can play a significant role towards the success of an organization’s transformation. Let’s explore what PROSCI’s research uncovers about what is required to achieve a successful transformation.

  1. Leadership is crucial: Leadership plays a pivotal role in driving successful transformations. PROSCI's research emphasizes that leaders need to actively sponsor and champion the change initiatives, clearly communicate the vision, and provide ongoing support throughout the transformation journey. Effective leadership sets the tone for change and inspires employees to embrace new ways of working.
  2. Employee engagement is essential: Engaging employees in the change process is critical for success. PROSCI's research highlights the importance of involving employees from the early stages of the transformation, seeking their input, and addressing their concerns. Engaged employees are more likely to embrace the changes, contribute their ideas, and become advocates for the transformation.
  3. Effective communication is key: Communication plays a vital role in ensuring that employees understand the purpose and benefits of the transformation. The need for clear, frequent, and transparent communication throughout the transformation journey should not be overlooked. Communication should be tailored to different stakeholder groups and should address their specific needs and concerns.
  4. Change management is a structured approach: PROSCI's methodology advocates for a structured change management approach to navigate organizational transformations successfully. This includes using processes and tools to plan, execute, and measure the impact of change initiatives. Applying a structured approach helps organizations manage risks, address resistance, and ensure that the transformation is implemented effectively.
  5. Employee resistance must be addressed: Resistance to change is a natural human response. PROSCI's methodology emphasizes the importance of addressing employee resistance to minimize its impact on the transformation. By identifying and understanding the reasons behind resistance, organizations can develop targeted strategies to address concerns, provide support, and increase employee buy-in.
  6. Continuous evaluation and adaptation: Successful transformations require continuous evaluation and adaptation. The need to monitor the progress of the transformation, measure key performance indicators, and seek feedback from employees and stakeholders is critical. This allows organizations to identify gaps, refine strategies, and make necessary adjustments to ensure the success of the transformation.

In conclusion, Unilever's transformation showcases the importance of managing change effectively in driving organizational resilience. By adopting key strategies, Unilever successfully navigated the complexities of the business world, transformed its operations, and emerged as a global powerhouse.

Organizations seeking to build resilience and achieve sustainable growth can draw valuable insights from Unilever's case study. By embracing change management practices, organizations can position themselves for long-term success and become leaders in their respective industries.

*Paulina Mbango is a PROSCI-certified change practitioner and communications specialist experienced in the financial services, mining, and governance sectors. Write to her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or learn more at

Rate this item
(0 votes)
Last modified on Tuesday, 06 June 2023 15:08

Leave a comment

Make sure you enter all the required information, indicated by an asterisk (*). HTML code is not allowed.

Joomla! Debug Console


Profile Information

Memory Usage

Database Queries