36. Change Manager’s Toolbox

1 June 2022
Which tools can I use to achieve change in my organization

Key Definitions

Organizational changes can range from small-scale incremental adjustments all the way to large-scale radical transformations. Whatever the magnitude, managers inside the organization, sometimes supported by consultants from outside, need to stimulate and guide change. In this sense, every manager is also regularly a change manager.

To realize change, managers need insight into change processes (see no. 25, Everest Model of Change), but also require tangible change management tools. These are ways of influencing what people do (intervention methods) in order to steer changes in the right direction.

Conceptual Model

The Change Manager’s Toolbox framework suggests that there are four change manager roles, each with four categories of tools. These roles differ along two dimensions. The first dimension is whether the role is focused on changing things (content-oriented) or changing behaviors (people-oriented). The second dimension is whether the role is focused on changing in a planned way (control-oriented) or in a more evolving way (responsive-oriented). All change manager roles need to be played by someone, but not necessarily by the same person. Which categories of tools are used will depend on the situation and the change manager involved.

Key Elements

The four change manager roles and their associated tools are the following:

  1. Project Manager. Every change can be seen as implementation project of getting from A to B, whereby the change manager needs to go through the classic plan-do-check-act cycle to ensure the effective and efficient execution of change. To run this cycle, the project manager will typically use tools from each of the following in four categories:
    1. Activity planning. Tools for determining which tasks need to be carried out and when.
    2. People planning. Tools for finding the right people and assigning tasks to them.
    3. Resource planning. Tools for providing these people with all the necessary means.
    4. Performance management. Tools for checking and incentivizing realization.
  2. Team Coach. Every change can also be seen as a team challenge of getting from A to B, whereby the change manager needs to coach the squad to work together in unison to be successful. To achieve this concerted effort, the team coach will typically tap into all four categories of potential tools:
    1. Direction setting. Tools to ensure all team members are striving towards the same goals.
    2. Expectation alignment. Tools to help mutual understanding and agree on shared rules.
    3. Team building. Tools to foster team spirit and commitment to each other.
    4. Conflict resolution. Tools to clear up interpersonal irritations and clashes.
  3. Learning Facilitator. Every change can also be seen as a learning journey of starting at A and finding out whether B is the right destination, whereby the change manager needs to facilitate the unfolding insight and to trigger the required adaptation. To achieve this ongoing learning, the learning facilitator can draw on tools from four categories:
    1. Learning from practice. Tools for gaining understanding from implementation feedback.
    2. Learning from experiment. Tools for discovering from controlled testing of assumptions.
    3. Learning from mistakes. Tools for drawing conclusions based on errors made.
    4. Learning from others. Tools for capturing and transferring best practices from elsewhere.
  4. Engagement Officer. Every change can also be seen as an uncomfortable move of going from A, inside people’s comfort zone, to B, somewhere outside. The change manager needs to win people’s hearts and minds to embrace this discomfort and then keep them engaged when the going gets tough. Four categories of tools are typically employed:
    1. Process participation. Tools to facilitate involvement and influencing of the change.
    2. Personal connection. Tools to help relationship-building and mutual bonding.
    3. Confidence building. Tools to stimulate people’s conviction that success is attainable.
    4. Inspiring leadership. Tools to encourage people to follow the change leader.

Key Insights

  • Change has four different faces. Change can be seen as an implementation project, as a team challenge, as a learning journey and as uncomfortable move. All four sides of change pose different questions and require their own response.
  • Change managers can play four roles. To tackle each of the four change issues, change managers need to play a different role – project manager, team coach, learning facilitator and engagement officer. All roles need to be filled, but not necessarily by the same person.
  • Change managers can be content- and people-oriented. The roles of project manager and learning facilitator focus more on the ‘what of change’ – things and activities. The team coach and engagement officer focus more on the ‘who’ – the people.
  • Change managers can be control- and responsive-oriented. The roles of project manager and team coach focus more on the planned side of change, while the learning facilitator and engagement office focus more on the evolving side.
  • The change manager’s toolbox has 16 compartments. Each of the four roles has four categories of tools, giving a toolbox with 16 compartments, each with room for a whole range of specific tools. A change manager’s toolbox is big and needs time to be filled.
Subscribe to our monthly Management Model

Do you want to be notified of our monthly Management Model? Please fill in your email address here.

Publication Schedule

June 2024
Time Management Funnel

May 2024
Digitalization Staircase

April 2024
Leadership Circle Map

March 2024
MOVING Mission Framework

February 2024
BOLD Vision Framework

January 2024
Duty of Care Feedback Model

December 2023
Best Practice Sharing Modes

November 2023
Stakeholder Stance Map

October 2023
Status Snakes & Ladders

September 2023
Customer-Centricity Circle

August 2023
Activity System Dial

July 2023
New Pyramid Principle

June 2023  
Cultural Fabric Model

May 2023       
Corporate Strategy Framework

April 2023  
Ambition Radar Screen

March 2023
Resistance to Change Typology

February 2023   
5I Innovation Pipeline

January 2023     
Thinking Directions Framework

December 2022      
Corporate Management Styles

November 2022     
Strategic Action Model 

October 2022
Psychological Safety Compass

September 2022
The Tree of Power    

August 2022
Value Proposition Dial

July 2022
Sustainable You Model

June 2022
Change Manager’s Toolbox

May 2022
Corporate Value Creation Model

April 2022
Organizational System Map

March 2022
Creativity X-Factor

February 2022
Strategic Alignment Model

January 2022
Market System Map

December 2021
Team Building Cycle

November 2021
Disciplined Dialogue Model

Oktober 2021
Strategy Hourglass

September 2021
Powerhouse Framework

August 2021
Fruits & Nuts Matrix

July 2021
Everest Model of Change

June 2021
Followership Cycle

May 2021
Knowledge Sharing Bridges

April 2021
Innovation Box

March 2021
Empowerment Cycle

February 2021
Digital Distribution Model Dial

January 2021
Digital Product Model Dial

December 2020
4C Leadership Levers

November 2020
Rebound Model of Resilience

October 2020
Strategic Bets Framework

September 2020
Storytelling Scripts

August 2020
7I Roles of the Corporate Center

July 2020
Strategy Development Cycle

June 2020
Rising Star Framework

May 2020
The Control Panel

April 2020
Strategic Agility Model

March 2020
Leadership Fairness Framework

February 2020
11C Synergy Model

January 2020
Competition Tornado

December 2019
Confidence Quotient

November 2019
House of Engagement

October 2019
Revenue Model Framework

September 2019
Interaction Pressure Gauge

August 2019
Digital Platform Map

July 2019
Mind the Gap Model


Double-click to edit button text. crossarrow-leftcross-circle