Handling rapid change in KLM

Few industries have gone through more changes in the past decade than the airline-business. New low-cost companies, increased competition and the decline of the global economy have disrupted an industry that previously has been dominated by large national airlines with government ownership.

The world’s oldest airline, the Dutch KLM, has been in the midst of these rapid transformations. Today KLM, which partnered with Air France in 2004, has 35.000 employees and is a well-run international carrier. But the changes are far from over. To strengthen the company’s ability to handle rapid change KLM chose in 2014 to integrate the leadership simulation Wallbreakers in their leadership development programme. Wallbreakers address the leadership aspects of change management, especially understanding and handling of organisational resistance to change.

KLM chose to have internal HR professionals certified in running the simulation, which from March 2015 was rolled out in the organisation through a number of change management master classes attended by selected managers and specialists. KLM uses the English version of Wallbreakers.