By the end of the course, participants will understand the fundamentals of change management, will have developed or refined a change strategy for their project or team, and will have received individual feedback at each step of the way.


Change management is a key enabler for UN reform. It is also a critical capability when facing extraordinary organizational disruptions like those caused by COVID-19. UN managers have had to adopt a change leadership role  assessing programme impacts with key stakeholders while helping their teams rapidly adjust their practices.  

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

Each participant will define what kind of change management is required both on an individual level and at a team level. Each week participants will develop parts of their strategy and present it either as a written assignment or presentation to a small peer group.

The course focuses both on the mindset and skills of change leaders, as well as on the steps involved in developing a change management strategy with a focus on strong staff engagement. About two half days of work are required on average per week, including a two-hour webinar each Tuesday and a peer session on Thursday. The last week is devoted to presentations from participants.

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


Upon successful completion of this course, participants will

  • Have clarity on their change leadership practices and change readiness;
  • Understand the drivers of resistance;
  • Know how to use insights from behavioural sciences to design change;
  • 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

This course combines weekly self-study modules with individual assignments, participant case presentations, 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 and listen to a real-life application by a UN change practitioner.

Each week the webinar is complemented by an individual assignment, a peer coaching session, or a presentation. The sessions provide the opportunity for each participant to apply the concepts and tools to their change case and get feedback from UN change practitioners. 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 in order to facilitate organizational learning across UN entities.

The course requires roughly two half days of work per week.

Upon demand, we are offering special tracks for groups who want to jointly develop a change strategy. Please be in touch to discuss your specific change challenges.

Course contents

Week 0: Onboarding

  • Contracting: making the programme work

Week 1: Mindset of a change leader

  • Emotions & Resistance;
  • Individual change readiness

Week 2: Skills and behaviours of a change leader

  • Approaches to change
  • Change leadership practices

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
  • Capacity building

Week 5: UNLOCK model III: Engagement and sustainability

  • Communication and engagement strategies

Week 6: Behavioural sciences

  • When and how are we ready to change?
  • Application of behavioural insights to define actions that may influence behavior


Target audience

This course 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 change as well as implementing organizational changes with their teams. This course is also available for groups to develop together a change strategy at a different price.

Cost of participation

The programme fee of $1,850 includes all dedicated materials and webinars as well as access to a closed online discussion and at least five instances of personal feedback on participant strategy development.