Change management is a key enabler for successful design and implementation of the UN reforms. It is also a critical capability when facing the extraordinary organisational disruption such as caused by COVID-19 this year. 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.  

Line and change managers are the drivers of the shift in culture as well as the organizational transformation - whether the change was largely planned as in the UN Reform roll out or emergent as in the case of COVID-19. 

Each participant will define what kind of change management their work, COVID-19 and/or the UN reform requires for them and their team. Participants will develop each week parts of their strategy and present them either as written assignments or presentation to a small peer group.

The course focuses both on mindset and skills of change leaders, as well as steps to develop a change management strategy with a focus on a strong staff engagement.

It requires about 4 hours of work on average per week, including a two-hour webinar each Wednesday. The last week focuses on the presentation by participants.

The programme benefits from the input of UN change practitioners who are part of the UNLOCK network and who have successfully led complex change processes in UN System organizations.



Upon successful completion of this programme, participants will

  • Have clarity and self-assessed around their change leadership practices and change readiness;
  • Understand drivers of resistance
  • 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;
  • 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, participants' case presentation, webinars, forum discussions as well as individual feedback and guidance. During the weekly webinars, 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. On two occasions each participant will be required to give a brief presentation of their change situation to a small group.

The online forum discussions allow for an exchange with other UN managers and facilitate organizational learning across UN entities.

Course Contents

Course Contents: 

Week 1: Mindset of a change leader

  • Experiences with change;
  • Individual change readiness
  • Personal resilience

Week 2: Skills and behaviours of a change leader

  • Approaches to change
  • Change leadership practices
  • Working with resistance

Week 3: UNLOCK change management model I

  • Making a case for change
  • Building a guiding coalition

Week 4: UNLOCK model II: Developing a strategy

  • Change vision
  • Change impact analysis

Week 5: Engagement and sustainability

  • Communication and engagement
  • Capacity building
  • Sustainable implementation

Week 6: Strategy presentations by participants

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 personal feedback on participants strategy development.

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