Moonwalking in the corporate world


Area of expertise


You may think of moonwalking as something only astronauts do. However, within the world of business, moonwalking is the act of sliding backwards into old habits which can potentially undo intended benefits.

Why does moonwalking happen?

We oftentimes experience companies undergo change, only to lose traction for its process improvement program and eventually slide back into old habits – eliminating the intended benefits from the improvements.

This is potentially dangerous, and we think there is a need for companies to not just put the new programs into place, but to focus on ensuring the prevention of moonwalking. Essentially, we believe that moonwalking stems from change management issues related to two underlying causes. Specifically, from an inability to get employees onboard with the changes and/or inadequate control measures.

How to avoid moonwalking

Firstly, communicate the change program in a clear way, that aligns with not only the organization’s overall ambition and purpose, but in a way that will make sense for the employees and their work. Fundamentally, this also means to translate and cascade corporate ambitions to the underlying departments and teams.

Secondly, identify and relieve potential pain points to enable and motivate employees. Also, ensure that team leaders take the coaching responsibility, highlighting even small wins to increase employees’ engagement in the program. This is an exercise in empowering your employees to feel considered, involved, and to have ownership of the implemented changes.

Finally, establish leading KPIs to measure the change and provide early identification of moonwalking. Catching it early will put the company in a better position to mitigate issues.

We believe, that addressing these three concepts successfully will alleviate underlying change management issues, such as inability to get employees onboard with the changes and inadequate control measures. Concurrently, this will help decrease the likelihood of moonwalking – allowing the organization to move forward instead.