The focus in 2018 has been on providing change management advisory and training support to UN staff who play a leading role in driving implementation of the Secretary-General’s reforms; this includes both clients in the Agencies, Funds and Programmes (UN Women), as well as those entities in the Secretariat who have been merged and tasked to lead on working differently (DMSPC, DOS, etc). Here, the UNLOCK team provided advice around aligning strategic priorities to its change management activities, building change agent networks and supporting teams in establishing new ways of working. 

The UNLOCK team also worked with the reform coordination team in EOSG, led by the Special Advisor to the SG on Reforms, Jens Wandel, to create a United to Reform Benefits Management approach. UNLOCK tested the approach with six existing initiatives in a rapid pilot that resulted in initial lessons learned and recommendations for a methodology around how to approach the measurement of the benefits of the reform. The plan is for the reform coordination team to take the work forward and guide the reform streams in measuring benefits.

In our learning and training portfolio, we offer a suit of solutions, which are contextualized to the UN reforms and the transformation of UN culture, delivered by UN staff and consultants familiar with the UN context. In our online course, UNLOCK has successfully supported 100 staff and team leaders in reflecting on their own change management practice and provided coaching and feedback on real life change cases on designing, implementing and managing change processes and the stakeholders involved. With the aim of strengthening the capabilities of Directors and ASGs, we provide a training package for senior staff at leading large complex change of high magnitude, including shifting mind-sets and behaviours, changing structures and procedures, requiring radically new capabilities.

Participants learn how to lead in situations of high uncertainty and contextual volatility. Similarly, we seek to enable team leaders managing change at the project or organizational level, to understand change concepts and examine the impact of change leadership on the team’s effectiveness in times of change. We also work with in-tact team on developing their change strategy.

As part of UNLOCK’s efforts to disseminate good practices across the UN system, two new case studies were launched in the beginning of 2018: ‘Global Shared Services and Transformation of the UN System’ and ‘Delivering Successful Change on Diversity and Inclusion in the UN’. The latter included three launch events in New York and one launch hosted by UNHCR in Geneva. Both case studies initiated communities of practice and brought together UN entities who had been working around the subject areas but never connected before. 

In June 2018, UNLOCK convened change experts, representing 30 entities from across the UN system and the management consulting industry. At the close of the exchange, there was consensus among participants that the UN urgently needs to leverage and expand its change capability. As an outcome of the meeting, the group committed to map the expertise profiles of the network members to provide an overview of the core capabilities in order to position the network vis-à-vis the UN reform effort. The insightful results were shared with the group and the SG’s reform coordination team to help leverage the combined strength of the UNLOCK network.

The team also experimented with different communication platforms, looking to maximize the knowledge exchange and benefit to the change management community. Our goal remains to create an organic and self-sustaining platform, with input and contributions by the network and those interested in the subject of change. 

As new structural and non-structural change are being introduced across the three UN reform pillars, UNLOCK is gearing up to an exciting and challenging 2019.