Change and transformation



Newly developed capabilities only deliver benefits when they are put to use and when they are supported by the organisations and the people receiving them. Change (improvement of a current situation, keeping the past in mind) and transformation (the emerging development of new situations, based on a vision of the future) provide the process, tools and techniques that can be utilised to help individuals and organisations make successful personal and organisational transitions resulting in the adoption and realisation of change.



The purpose of this competence element is to enable the individual to help societies, organisations and individuals to change or transform their organisation, thereby achieving projected benefits and goals.



Projects are organised in order to achieve improvements. In many cases, these improvements are not only achieved by delivering an outcome but also require small or large changes in the behaviour of the organisation.

People usually do not object to change – they object to being changed. Successfully addressing their objections can be done by, for example, building support, addressing resistance and developing the required knowledge and ability to implement the change. More strategic change will also encompass influencing a leading coalition and other psychological and psychosocial interventions. When change management is done well, people feel engaged in the change process and work collectively towards a common objective, realising benefits and delivering results.

Transformation occurs when, based on a vision, behaviour is changed because there is a will to do things differently. Transformation is vision-led, and depends largely on the strength of the vision and the willingness of the people who share the vision to really put their energy into making it happen.

The level of change and transformation management required by a project will largely depend on the amount of disruption created in individuals’ and groups’ day-to-day lives, plus attributes such as culture, value system and history with past changes. Change and transformation do not primarily happen ‘by design’ and are not usually a linear process. The individual needs to regularly monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the changes and adapt the change or transformation strategy. The individual also needs to take into account the change capacity and capabilities of people, groups or the organisation in order to help them successfully adapt or transform.

Projects usually deliver new capabilities. However, it is only when these capabilities are put to use that value is added and benefits can be achieved. Organisational or business changes often affect or alter processes, systems, organisational structure and job roles, but most of all they influence people’s behaviour. Changes can be quite small or they can require a complete transformation. Sometimes, they can even be disruptive, which means special skills are needed to bring them about. In many cases, a project will induce and organise change but will have ended before the benefits resulting from it are realised.


Key competence indicators

Assess the adaptability to change of the organisation(s)

Organisations and people have limited capacity, capability and willingness to change. This is influenced, among other factors, by the success of earlier changes, stress and pressure, the understood need for this particular change, culture and atmosphere and by seeing good or facing bad perspectives. There might also be resistance to the proposed change, either open or hidden, which negatively influences the adaptability to change. In many cases, opposition does not come from the people who are directly affected by the change, but from those who manage them. The adaptability to change is not fixed but will be influenced by factors both inside and outside the project.


  • Analyses the adaptability to the required change, based on previous successful and unsuccessful changes in the organisation
  • Assesses possible areas (topics, people) for resistance to the change
  • Recognises and influences circumstances which can improve the adaptability
  • Takes action when the required or expected change or transformation is not within the capabilities of the organisation(s)


Identify change requirements and transformation opportunities

For a business perspective-oriented projects, organisational requirements and the project’s context are analysed to determine which transformation or business change needs to occur and when. For a more societal perspective-oriented project, the analysis needs to determine which societal groups can and should be influenced by the project. This can be done by interviewing, gathering knowledge, analysis of data or using workshops. Sometimes, opportunities arise because of changes in market conditions, the project’s environment or other organisational or societal changes. Change requirements and opportunities will change regularly, so they need to be regularly reviewed and adapted.


  • Identifies groups and individuals affected by change
  • Maps group interests
  • Identifies change requirements and opportunities regularly
  • Adapts to changing interests and situations


Develop change or transformation strategy 

A change strategy is developed by the individual (or emerges and therefore is put together by the individual) to address the envisioned changes or transformations. It will be based upon the intensity and the impact of the change and takes into account the ability to change or the willingness to transform of the organisation, society or people. The timing of changes to align with organisational or societal dynamics and opportunities also needs to be considered. The plan is developed through consultation and is regularly updated.

Learning, monitoring and assessing what works and what doesn’t and in which situations, is part of the strategy. Changes and transformation do not happen overnight, but usually take a while before value is added.

When changes or transformations are more consequential, a stepwise approach is developed so that early successes can be valued and used as incentives for further change. Change plans can sometimes be planned and structured, but can also be focused on group behaviours, on power, on learning, on emergence. There is no one right way to do change, but the individual needs to anticipate the change.


  • Identifies societal, organisational and personal change or transformation strategies, recognising, for example, innovators, early adopters, the majority and laggards
  • Collaborates with others to validate strategies
  • Documents strategies into a comprehensive change plan
  • Develops a step-by-step approach if this is required
  • Regularly adapts the change or transformation plan to incorporate lessons learned and changes in the project’s environment, or in society
  • Regularly adapts the strategy because the change has succeeded and benefits have been achieved


Implement change or transformation management strategy

Based on the change strategy, a set of possible interventions is planned. These might include work-shops, training, information sessions, pilots, serious games and visioning, but there will also certainly be interventions to be made regarding power and influence and handling resistance. Once a change is made, measures should be taken to sustain the change and to help organisations and individuals to avoid falling back into old behaviour.


  • Designs a coherent intervention plan
  • Implements selected interventions
  • Leads or organises workshops and training
  • Addresses resistance to change
  • Organises and implements mass media interventions
  • Uses reinforcement techniques to ensure new behaviour is sustainable