Upon completion of the course, participants will have a solid grasp of the essentials of change management. They will have developed or refined a change strategy for their project or team and received individual feedback at every stage of the process.


Change management is a crucial factor in enabling UN reform and essential in managing the significant organizational disruption caused by COVID-19. UN managers have had to adopt a change leadership role, assessing the impacts of programmes with key stakeholders while assisting their teams in rapidly adjusting their practices.

Both line and change managers are essential drivers of cultural shifts and agents of organizational transformation, whether the change is primarily planned, as in the case of UN reform, or emergent, as in the case of COVID-19.

Participants in this course will define the necessary change management required at both an individual and team level. Each week, they will develop segments of their strategy and present them as written assignments or presentations to a small peer group.

The course focuses on the mindset and skills of change leaders, along with the steps involved in developing a change management strategy that prioritizes strong staff engagement.

On average, participants will require about two half-days of work per week, including a two-hour webinar every Tuesday and a peer session on Thursday. The final week will be dedicated to presentations from participants.

The course benefits from the expertise of UN change practitioners who are part of the UNLOCK network, having 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 course 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.