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Fixed Components of Planned Change

The planability and manufacturability of changes in organizations is limited. In addition, managers and consultants can view changes in five fundamentally different ways (different colors).

The components below provide a fairly complete framework for identifying and communicating change processes in organizations:

- outcomes (goals, results, direction, improvement, renewal, destination)
- history (cause, necessity, motive, context, reason)
- actors (roles, parties, key figures, social dimension, leaders, employees)
- phases (steps, route, road, organization, substantive activities)
- communication (interaction, cultural aspects, meaning, exchange)
- steering (monitoring, getting a grip, professional guidance, awareness of, guidance).

The six components complement each other. Together they form the methodical approach to change. In that sense, change is:

- realizing or pursuing intended outcomes
- as a function of reason, context, philosophy, past
- through an influencing game of actors
- by going through a process in time
- where communication and meanings are given
- and the process is controlled or influenced by conscious interventions by change agents

The name and meaning of each of the six components depends on the way (color) with which one looks at changes. Blueprint thinkers are inclined to think in results, whiteprint thinkers in (global) direction. For actors, red print thinkers talk about bonding, yellow print thinkers about the dominant coalition and blueprint thinkers about unambiguous division of roles and demarcation of tasks.

Outcomes. Where do we want to end up?

Ideas about organizational change and its intended outcomes need to be clear at an early stage. This way you prevent (unconsciously) pursuing different or conflicting goals.

Thoughts about change and the intended outcomes relate to one or more aspects of four categories:

- features of layout and control. These include strategy, structure, management style or culture
- characteristics of products, services and business processes. In short: the realization processes
- characteristics of people. Think for example of skills, knowledge, attitude, motivation
- characteristics of interaction: learning ability, openness and respect, collectivity, entrepreneurship, inspiration and vitality.

Make sure the intended goals are clear or initially formulate a global direction. Make the direction more explicit along the way. It's important to avoid pursuing different goals or conflicting goals. Prevent apparently identical ideas from having different meanings Only in hindsight does it become clear whether something has actually changed.

Performance criteria

Changes are usually aimed at improving the performance of the organization. We distinguish four performance criteria:

- effectiveness
- efficiency
- flexibility
- creativity

These criteria have a constant validity. Based on these criteria you're able to test the performance of the organization.


Effectiveness determines the effectiveness of an organization. Effectiveness improvement is about optimizing the energy level of all employees in the organization. The use of that energy is necessary to achieve the set goals. A widely supported company mission and shared organizational goals increase effectiveness.


The extent to which employees and managers are busy with the things that are necessary and sufficient to realize the mission and goals of the organization.

Energy level

If you want to improve the commitment of employees to achieving organizational goals, take the following steps:

- clearly determine what the goals are. Analyze and translate the organization-wide goals into your own organizational unit
- communicate the derived goals continuously to convince and inspire employees
- continue to work visibly on the set goals
- keep employees informed about getting closer to the goals set. Choose a positive angle

Shared ideals

It's important to establish the company mission iteratively, communicate and gain wide support for. This increases effectiveness if the company mission is based on shared ideals and a shared vision of the function and future of the organization. Ensure that the goals of the organization and the personal goals of the employees are in line with each other as much as possible.

Efficiency. Why do things right?

Efficiency determines effectiveness: how to reach the goals given with minimal resources? Improving efficiency usually leads directly to an increase in productivity.


The extent to which employees and managers execute goal setting, organizing and achieving with a minimum of time, energy, outages and redundancy.


Efficiency improvement measures must meet the characteristics of simplicity, demonstrability and acceptance. Vague criteria in practice. Remember that something that's efficient for one party involved (e.g. the user) may not be efficient at all for the other party (e.g. the creator).

Actively involve

Efficiency improvement programs are more successful as knowledge and skills, commitment and motivation of employees are used. Why?

- Employees themselves have the most knowledge of errors, omissions and duplications in their own work process. This also applies to the processes they suffer from, both before and after them in the chain
- No one knows better how the process functions optimally than the person most directly involved
- The implementation of efficiency improvements runs more smoothly when employees are actively involved. For example, improvements are being introduced. Authorization afterwards is then sufficient.

Flexibility. Why want or need to be flexible?

The performance measure of flexibility makes it possible to be effective in the future. To be flexible, employees in an organization must be able to perceive, interpret, anticipate and respond.


The ability of employees to respond quickly and adequately to unforeseen opportunities and threats from the outside or from the inside.


Observing, interpreting, anticipating and responding are activities that enable people in organizations to be flexible. One of the characteristics of a flexible organization is the presence of employees who operate as internal entrepreneurs. Other features include:

- little bureaucracy
- few hierarchical levels
- small, relatively independent, organizational units
- internal cohesion caused by a shared mission and culture
- great job satisfaction

Management style

A customer-oriented, integrating and action-oriented culture promotes flexibility within an organization. In addition, the management style is important. Have good ideas executed immediately. Take calculated risks. Give people enough leeway to take advantage of opportunities and to make mistakes. Stimulate individual creativity and entrepreneurship. In this way you promote flexibility in the organization.


The main legs of flexibility are the ability to change and the ability to resist. Responding to everything and constantly changing isn't a model of flexibility. Such organizations behave like wind vanes and aren't stable.

Creativity. Why should be helpful in formulating problems?

Creative thinking can lead to creative action: producing something that's new and valuable. This's important to generate a competitive innovation capacity. Promote creativity and remove barriers.


The ability of employees and managers to generate nonexistent strengths (or weaknesses) themselves.


The importance of this performance criterion is particularly important at a time when competition is mainly determined by the innovative capacity of an organization. The creative use of competencies is essential: to have a constant flow of options for product and process innovation and to recoup investments in R&D, production facilities and marketing faster.


Creative employees need a great wealth of raw data (knowledge) and the skills to process this data in a new way. Recognize different thinking levels and make conscious use of them. In this way you promote creative action. Do you want to score well in terms of problems and solve problems? This requires insight into your own way of perceiving. Put on a different pair of glasses!

Do not!

Employees nip creativity in the bud when they:

- criticize new ideas too quickly
- using intellect to support previously formed opinions
- assume in advance that they're right
- not playing with thoughts, ideas and intuition
- resist change.

Actors. Who are involved?

Both you and your employees play their own role in every change process. It's useful to distinguish these roles: this gives you a handy checklist. In addition, you can prevent unwanted roll mixing in this way.

We distinguish seven roles:

- the initiator: you put the change idea on the agenda
- the sponsor: you legitimize, support or condone the change through formal or informal power
- the director: you set up the change, stimulate implementation and monitor progress
- the ally: you support the change
- the trigger: you coordinate the preparation and implementation of the change
- the performer: you realize parts of the change
- the victim: you're undergoing changes in the workplace
- The distinction is useful as a checklist: has everything been thought of? It also prevents unwanted roll mixing. For example, the sponsor is preferably not a director at the same time when working on a project basis.

Usefulness and necessity of different actor roles

Distinguishing different roles in a change process is useful and necessary. This allows the actors to obtain clarity with each other in the roles to be filled. They can also prevent unwanted roll mixing and with that the mutual expectations can be discussed and adjusted.

Role assignment

In each change process, the actors must identify and organize their necessary contributions to the process:

- an initiating contribution to the start
- supportive contributions in the beginning
- subsequent planning contributions
- executive and intervening contributions thereafter
- guiding and monitoring contributions during
- securing and nurturing contributions to a new change process

Many organizational change processes fail because:

- the realization of 'support from above' or 'support from below' were not woven in advance in the process
- there was no continuity because no director continued to think and monitor the process as a whole
- unwanted roll mixing occurred

Roll mixing

For example, distinguishing different actors helps the ideas (initiators). They can see (in) that, as initiators, they need not be inclined at all to take on (all) other roles. Those roles are necessary, but can be fulfilled by others. Often even better. Roller demarcation provides air and as an idea it's therefore important to provide sponsors. No more.


The different roles are normative and ideal-typical. They'll never be filled in exactly like that. This can be done iteratively. For example, if a new part of the change process is started, sponsors, supporters, leaders (etc.) will have to be found again. Sometimes roles can be united in one person or certain roles are only discussed very modestly.

Short description of actors (stakeholders)

Different organizational roles (initiator, sponsor, director, ally, trigger, performer, victim) can be distinguished with every organizational change. These roles occur in a certain order and so the number of people involved grows during the change process. Each role can be briefly typed as follows.

The initiator

An organizational change starts with an initiator. He has a 'change idea', which puts change on the 'agenda'.

The sponsor

This initiator is looking for one or more sponsors. A sponsor helps with its formal or informal power to legitimize or condone the change.

The director

The sponsor, whether or not accompanied by the initiator, is looking for a director. A director can come from outside as well as from within the organization. This director can be regarded as the 'conscience of change': he's primarily responsible for the planned pretensions of change. He initiates the change, stimulates the implementation and monitors progress (possibly across the steps).

The supporter

The director shares his directorial responsibility as quickly as possible with supporters. A supporter helps to give shape and substance to the idea of ​​change. She has no formal responsibility. It therefore also supports informally. She considers the change, for whatever reason, desirable.

The trigger

As the approach can be described more clearly, 'tractors' will be brought on board. The difference between the director and the trigger role lies in their responsibility: The leaders are (partly) responsible for the preparation and coordination of the intervention plan.

The performer

Director and leaders gradually involve a larger number of people in the change: performers. An implementer realizes (parts of) the interventions.

The victim

'Victims' will also occur during a change process. They think that the change is going to deteriorate anyway. They passively undergo the change and sometimes they resist it, more or less vehemently.

Phases in organizational change

In addition to the influence play of actors, activities are the connecting link between the change idea and the results.

We distinguish a simple four-part division for change processes:


In this phase you look at the matter from as many sides as possible and you use models. This way you'll get a clear picture of what's going on.

Change strategy

At this stage, you determine the principles you use to help initiate change. Are the conditions present? What about resistance and energy? In this way you'll get the target or lever for the change clear.

Intervention plan

In this phase you plan the interventions. Which interventions are planned? In what order? How can the plan be made consistent and feasible? Who are going to pull which parts of the change? How do you communicate overall?


The interventions: you carry out interventions and adjust the intervention plan if necessary.

You can do all activities at each stage on your own. It's often advisable to do (parts of) these activities with a wide group of employees from the organization (more process-wise).

Communication. Who should know what it's about?

Communication and dialogue: creating a new reality with each other by means of language, both in thinking and doing. Like actors and phases, communication is a third stream between the start and outcome of a change process.

A change process is more than anything else a dialogue between people. On the one hand, you can see communication as an instrument. It's used in addition to the actual change process. It helps employees understand change, feel engaged and reduce resistance. On the other hand, communication is part of the change itself: without communication no change! From this perspective, dialogue and communication carry the change.

Monitoring, control. Who are leading this?

In change processes, conscious control takes place at many levels simultaneously. The essence is looking ahead and looking back in the short and long term. Depending on your perspective, the steering will look very different in practice.

Control makes the change process possible on several levels. At the level of your individual activity, on partial processes and on the entire change process. It's essentially about looking back and looking ahead:

- gauging progress: what has happened and what's happening at the moment?
- (re-) reflect on the results: do we still want the same thing and can we still do the same?
- (re-) planning the process: how do we proceed and what do we plan to do?


Depending on your perspective, or color, the steering will look different in practice. Varying from detailed planning, progress measurement, comparison with the standard and adjustment to observation and meaning. In addition, the number of employees involved in the management will vary depending on your view or color.

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