The discipline of change management is a key enabler for the successful design and implementation of UN reforms.  It is particularly relevant in today’s context, as we all face extraordinary organizational disruption, most recently caused by COVID-19.  Since March, every UN manager has had to adopt a change leadership role, assessing programme impacts with key stakeholders while helping their teams rapidly adjust programme and working practices.  

Managers and those tasked with leading change projects as part of their daily work are the drivers of the shift in culture as well as organizational transformation – whether the change was largely planned (as in the case of UN reforms) or emergent (as with COVID-19). 

With this in mind, we designed a programme that will help managers navigate the uncertainty and shifting priorities caused by UN reform and COVID-19. Each participant will define what kind of change management COVID-19 and UN reform require of them and their teams. Each week participants will develop parts of their strategy to lead change and transformation in their context. They will get weekly feedback on their personal plans.

The course will cover approaches to change, change leadership practices and strategies as well as ways to strengthen team resilience. It requires about five hours of work in average per week, including a two-hour webinar each Wednesday.

The programme benefits from the input of UN change practitioners from varying UN organizations such as Department of Operational Support (DOS), the International Labour Organization (ILO), UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), United National Office for Project Services (UNOPS), UN Women, etc. who are part of the UNLOCK network and who have successfully led complex change processes in UN organizations. 



Upon successful completion of this programme, participants will

  • Be able to identify steps and tools necessary to develop their own change strategy
  • develop an outline of a strategy
  • understand how to support their staff in managing transitions
  • know how to build their own resilience and that of their teams
  • have reference points to other change initiatives in the UN context

Course Methodology

Course Methodology: 

This programme combines weekly self-study modules with individual assignments, webinars, forum discussions as well as individual feedback and guidance. During the webinar, participants deepen their knowledge of concepts, discuss their application to their work context and listen to a real-life application by a UN change practitioner. Individual assignments provide the opportunity for each participant to apply the concepts and tools to their change case and get feedback from UN change practitioners on their specific situation. The online forum discussions allow for an exchange with other UN managers and facilitate organizational learning across UN entities.

The course requires a weekly study time commitment of 3-4 hours over a period of five weeks. Week 6 focuses on the completion and revision of the final assignments.

Course Contents

Course Contents: 

In five modules, participants will explore different approaches to change and the domino effect of different changes impacting each other.

They will reflect on their role as managers and the impact of their own change leadership practices on the dynamics of the change processes they are responsible for.

They will develop their own change strategy using the steps of the UNLOCK model, outlining their case for change, their engagement process, the stakeholder management, the change vision and a change impact analysis.

Participants will better understand where resistance to change comes from and how to address it and develop practices to strengthen their resilience and that of their teams.

Target Audience

Target Audience: 

This programme is geared to line and change managers, change agents and programme and operations staff who are leading change in their field of expertise within the UN and with partners. The course is helpful for staff setting up offices, and those leading or coordinating both complex organizational changes as well as implementing organizational changes with their teams.

Cost of participation

Cost of participation: 

The programme fee of $1250 includes exclusive access to a closed online discussion, all materials and the webinars as well as at least five instances of individual feedback on written assignments.

Keep me updated

I would like to receive email notifications about updates on this course