Home / Management / Change Management / Planned Change Method

Planned Change Method

In a change process, four steps, phases, sub-processes or processes can usually be distinguished between idea and results. These are: diagnosis, change strategy, intervention plan and interventions.

Broadly speaking, four phases or steps can be distinguished in the process between organizational change idea and outcome:

- diagnosing it
- finding a change strategy
- drawing up an intervention plan
- implementing the intervention plan.
- In addition to the influence play of actors, substantive activities are part of the path between idea and outcome. These substantive activities don't form a homogeneous continuous flow. Different parts can always be distinguished afterwards (descriptively), but distinguishing different phases in advance is also important (perspective). It improves the chance of success of changes.

Usefulness of phases

What's the use of phases?

- Phasing change processes makes them clearer. This makes it easier to focus attention substantively on different aspects of the process
- Phasing forces reflection. Think first, then act. Change isn't a trick, but a skill.

Visible steps

The division into phases can be used for 'visible' steps within large processes: for example a three-year merger process. For example, a three-month diagnosis of the three merger partners is made and a strategy and intervention plan is drawn up together with the three merger partners for two months and then to take a number of major implementation steps during two years: for example, top structuring, then policy-making, then structuring and then training with a party to conclude, with interim evaluations and adjustments.

Droste effect

However, the classification can also be used for 'invisible' actions by a change agent in the first conversation with an initiator. Because within such a conversation, the change agent can already be working diagnostically and based on that, strategically choose certain interventions within the same conversation. In that sense there's a 'Droste effect': the tin box with a nurse holding a tin box in her hand with a nurse holding a tin box in her hand with... Within the three-year merger process (with phases) there's the training period (with phases) and there are important discussion moments (with phases). The classification plays on all possible aggregation levels simultaneously.

The diagnose

The diagnosis phase of an organizational change process is about clarifying what's going on and what that means.

A change management diagnosis of an organization involves questions such as:

- What exactly is going on?
- How can I find out?
- How do I give meaning to what I see?

Diagnosis has two meanings: the process by which people try to answer the questions and the content they collect.

Matrix diagnostic models

There are many ways to organize diagnostic models. In Kennis.tg, the organization is based on four levels (individual, group, organization and environment) and three perspectives (business administration, organization management and change management).

Diagnosis models can be organized in many different ways. In Kennis.tg the organization is divided into four levels and three perspectives. That yields twelve cells. Diagnostic models aren't equally available for every cell. Business administration models focus strongly on the organizational and environmental level, organizational management models, on the other hand, tend to focus on group and organizational level, and change management models focus on almost all levels.

Order by level

In this dimension, a distinction is made between:

- the individual. This concerns individuals (M / F) with their positions, roles, competencies and idiosyncrasies
- a group. That's a number of people who are psychologically aware of each other
- an organisation. This's a group of people, most of whom have chosen to pursue the same ideal or set of goals with each other and who have agreed work and behavioral agreements to this end.
- the environment of the organization. Everything that can and will influence the organization is the relevant environment. Everything that doesn't belong to the organization is the environment.

Order by angle

In this second dimension, a distinction is made between:

- business aspects. This concerns characteristics and effects of (primary or secondary) business processes
- organizational aspects. This concerns the characteristics and effects of the organization and management of organizations. They're mostly static models
- change management aspects. This concerns the characteristics and effects of underlying and underlying forces on those involved. The underlying forces are developments over time (development phases and the like). Underlying forces are the 'deeper', often unconscious, aspects that can help or frustrate change. This includes relationships between people, cultural trends, mental models and the like. The dynamics are central to change management models.

How to prioritize your own actions

At an individual level it's sometimes important to gain insight into how people use their time. A commonly used model is the so-called Eisenhower principle.

This diagnosis model can be used to analyze how people deal with their time. Like so many models, this Eisenhower principle consists of two dimensions: importance and urgency of individual activities still to be carried out.

Underlying idea

People (individuals) are easily lived by the expectations that come their way and the 'issues of the day'. The Parkinson's Law applies here: 'work' tends to extend to the maximum time available for the execution of the work. This's both demotivating for the person in question and often also dysfunctional for the organization. This business model focuses on analyzing and organizing activities. The assumption is that rational mapping and characterization of activities is suitable for gaining insight into someone's time use. Based on this, someone can make choices in her or his time use.


The Eisenhower principle states that activities must be analyzed for their urgency on the one hand and their importance on the other.

An urgent task:

- calls for immediate fulfillment
- doesn't have to be important
- does someone as quickly as possible to save time for the important things
- often has a reactive character: has been imposed by the system (administrative obligations, for example) or by bosses or clients ('look at that', 'this has to be sorted out now').

An important task:

- often has an active character
- has a longer term perspective
- is personally determined
- is based on the personal vision at work.

The method provides tools for prioritizing the activities based on the assessment of urgency and importance. The main activities are given the highest priority. The main purpose of the diagnosis is to identify important activities rather than urgent ones. The following applies to all urgent activities: if you can have them done by someone else, it's also fine. What's neither important nor urgent must be 'forgotten'.


The model can be used by employees at all levels. The importance of the use increases the more someone is expected to direct his own work, or the more he's lived by circumstances. Limitations of use lie in the absence of:

- a clear vision
- selfknowledge
- communication skills
- social skills.

If someone has prioritized their activities, but can't say 'no', time management remains a problem. Does someone have a tendency to always take over problems too quickly? Does anyone dare to speak to others about their contributions?

Angle of approach

Business administration. Sometimes, however, the discussion can broaden to the division of tasks / responsibilities / powers (organizational) or the psychology of the person in question (change management).


Core qualities

The diagnosis model of a person's core quadrant can be used in analyzing how they deal with their properties. These properties form the basis of human behavior.

This diagnosis model can be used to analyze how people deal with their properties. Properties that form the basis of human behavior. Each property has a positive force (core quality), but also a negative side (the pitfall).

Underlying idea

Every person has deeply anchored qualities that characterize him or her. These properties can hardly be changed or cultivated. This implies that:

- a person's development lies in the recognition and productive use of his / her qualities. A person becomes more himself instead of trying to become 'someone else'
- if someone tries to deny or escape his deeply anchored qualities, this will hinder his / her personal development.


Each core quality has a certain dynamism: what irritates someone, where he or she goes wrong, what the challenge is in his or her development. This dynamic can be mapped by means of a 'core quadrant'. This core quadrant contains:

- the core quality. This's always available and not taught, but sometimes hidden
- the pitfall. In this model, this's the shadow side of the core quality. The pitfall occurs when quality overshoot (too much of a good thing)
- the challenge. This's the opposite of the pitfall: a complementary quality to be developed
- the allergy. This can be found where someone is challenged too much. The allergy is also the opposite of a person's core quality.

The core quadrant thus created is a tool for self-analysis.


The data from a completed core quadrant has yet to be interpreted. It's also important to remember that the person who has been recognized recognizes that, for example, distance as a pitfall and sliminess as an allergy are inextricably linked to her or his 'clarity'. Then acceptance is easier, because the interpretation:

- reduces the negative charge of and a person's personal resistance to pitfalls and allergies
- can serve to help someone guide her or his development and collaborative relationships. Because combinations of a person's quadrants with those of others is a good tool to investigate cooperation problems. Where the pitfall of one corresponds to the allergy of the other, problems are inescapable
- of cooperation problems can offer relief, because each can see his own share of the conflict more clearly as dysfunctional outcomes of in itself valuable core qualities.

This diagnostic model is easy to use in interaction. Provided that it's considered 'normal' to interact personally. Such as in teams in which one has to work closely together.

Angle of approach

The model is mainly organizational.


Individually, or on a collaboration between two people. Applicability at organizational level is limited or at least it loses the original meaning of individuality anchored in individuals. It's then used more in terms of core competencies.

Biographical fit

When gaining insight into personal development, it can help to diagnose the phase of life of the person concerned.

Recognizing life stages can help you gain insight into (the stagnation in) personal development. The exact phasing differs in different life phase models, because they're culture and time-colored.

Underlying idea

The idea is that a person goes through different stages of life. These stages are age dependent. A comparison is also drawn with nature: we grow, bloom, fade and die just like trees and plants. Identifying these stages can help:

- gain insight into individual 'growth pains'
- give meaning and direction to one's own development
- to build on someone's history instead of going into it.


Broadly speaking, the physical vitality is greatest between the ages of 20 and 40: people travel and build up. It's all about performance. People are called to account for this, but also look for it themselves: job, partner, children, house and garden.

The following stages of life can be distinguished.

- The twenties are in a period of orientation: testing, tiptoeing, variety
- The thirties are characterized by career development, scoring, development, organizing work, taking up responsibilities, connecting with people, finding the balance between work and private life. The aforementioned vitality feeds the urge to act, until 'the man with the hammer comes': for one this's at 40, for the other at 50
- Many people in their forties experience work as a basis; people prefer not to show weaknesses. But now people can also look up to tasks, wonder what the meaning of the work is. Some flee in relationships or excesses or impulsively want to change their lives. People learn to know boundaries, they're told to slow down. The body also reports this
- Towards 50 there will be a choice process: the typical midlife crisis. Some embrace the idea that life can only get more difficult: ailments become complaints and complaining grows. Others find new meaning, focus on individual inspiration instead of external appreciation. In their fifties, they're a crutch instead of a block on the leg
- In their sixties, they're tackling more and more things that are 'close to their hearts' and they're active well into their seventies, eighties or even ninety. They take into account their declining physical vitality, but appear mentally full of energy, often still look young and perhaps deliver their actual peak performance.


People in the different age groups naturally respond differently to the diagnosis. Depending on the individual experience of the phase of life, they can and will experience other things. Application of the model is particularly relevant in the midlife crisis. Then there's often a crucial choice process.

The explicit application of the model requires a personal relationship with the person involved and considerable insight from the change agent.

Angle of approach




Conflict levels

Conflicts seem to be something to avoid. Conflicts often have a negative connotation. But without conflict or tension there's no movement.

The usefulness of conflicts

Conflicts can't always be valued negatively. Creativity and innovation, on the contrary, depend on meeting opposites; so of conflicts. They can't do without tension. For example between:

- internal stability and responding to external target groups
- sense of reality and drive to experiment
- deadlines and money.

Of course, creativity and innovation also depend on brooding and leaning back. But mainly from actors who represent the different poles and must and want to come out together.

An 'optimal' level of conflict

In a normal distribution, creativity is highest at an 'optimal' conflict level. After all, when there's no pressure or conflict, actors with opposing ideas don't meet. They also don't experience the need to confront them and then the willingness to cooperate will be low. If the performance pressure must then be high, this can be done, for example by:

- confrontations
- to wake
- performance targets.

However, if the pressure becomes too high and conflicts increase, there's no peace of mind to get out together. And too much conflict can even cause parties to avoid each other and create fragmentation.

Conflict reduction can be done by listening, rethinking outcomes, accepting experiments. The model of conflict levels can be used as a means of diagnosis: how cooperative and creative is this group? and the model also provides indications for which interventions suit which level.


The model seems suitable for groups where people actually need each other to create something. Where creativity is important. This makes it seem specially important in dynamic environments and in organizations where disciplines have to work together. Otherwise, the normative principles of the model may apply less. The question is whether routine jobs of the individual bicycle repairman should be done in an organization with an optimal level of conflict.

Balanced scorecard

In addition to financial figures, other key figures are important when managing an organization. These often differ from organization to organization.

Not only financial figures are important when managing an organization. Equally important are other key figures, such as customer satisfaction, innovation speed, product lead time, employee satisfaction and social relevance. These often differ from organization to organization.

Underlying idea

In many organizations, managers devote too one-sided attention to financial control and measurement. This can lead to short-term reflexes. The balance with other control and measurement factors is therefore often missing. While they deserve comparable attention. Correcting this imbalance can help close the gap between long and short-term goals. This search for 'balance' underlies the balanced scorecard. Moreover, the idea is that balance can be actively controlled and measured from above.


The balanced scorecard in its original version consists of four perspectives:

- financial: What financial performance do we pursue (for the shareholders)?
- internal primary processes: Which primary processes should perform at what level (to satisfy customers and stakeholders)?
- employees: How and in what ways should employees continue to learn and grow?
- customers: What level of satisfaction do we strive for among the target groups (customers)?

A good balanced scorecard is based on a vision / strategy. The (four) perspectives are preferably elaborated in mutual terms in terms of goals, plans, indicators and activities. The diagnosis provides information about:

- the strategic foundation of the perspectives
- the desired and actual scores per perspective
- the coherence between the perspectives.


The balanced scorecard hasn't been developed as a diagnostic model. In change processes, the balanced scorecard can be used as a diagnostic tool when assessing the current situation. Where a balanced scorecard is lacking, it sometimes even makes sense to draw up one to map out the current situation.

This general (diagnosis) model is widely applicable, specially at a high level within organizations. Because there the coherence between the four perspectives fits both within one's own domain of competence and within one's own field of vision.

Angle of approach

Business administration


Organizational level

The diagnosis process

Different choices are possible and necessary when designing the diagnosis process of an organization to be changed. An organizational change officer can opt for a more investigative approach or a more action-oriented approach in the organizational diagnosis.

Research versus action-oriented approach

One can choose to have the diagnosis carried out research-wise and scientifically by a number of selected experts. In this case, the diagnosis will be objective and thorough. But one can also opt for an action-oriented approach, in which many people are intensively involved. In that case, there will be more involvement and a greater willingness to change.

In both cases it's very important that the initiator is willing to support the diagnosis process and to accept the results at an early stage. It's important to check whether the real problem is already known or whether activities must first be undertaken to clarify or redefine the problem.

To step

Finding agreement on the purpose, method and conditions of the diagnosis is the essence of the first preparatory process step. The implementation of the change management diagnosis usually involves the following sub-steps:

- identify the problem. Is it worth it?
- selecting question points. Who are involved? How is information collected?
- collect and organize data
- summarize and analyze data
- feedback and make recommendations
- make decisions. Implement if necessary.

Sufficient openness

In order to get people to change, it's useful that they endorse the diagnosis and its results. It's therefore often advisable to involve people widely in the diagnosis. But that will only succeed if one is prepared to do so and there's sufficient openness (and time). If one is very stuck and one doesn't see the problem or doesn't want to acknowledge it, then broad participation will make little sense. Expert diagnosis is obvious, but acceptance can be a major problem. It may not even start a change process.

Preferred styles of change management diagnosis

There are roughly two ways to diagnose change; a research and action approach. Change agents have their own preferences. That's precisely why the diagnosis process must be consciously chosen / designed.

Organizational developers

The organizational developer's preferred diagnosis usually consists of:

- participatory diagnostic methods such as 'action research'
- Focused on collaborative processes
- qualitative / subjective information

Business experts

A business administrator usually has the preferred diagnosis:

- expert research approaches
- models from the angle of strategy and operational processes supplemented with benchmarks and the like
- as quantitatively and objectively as possible

Organizational experts

Organizational experts usually diagnose by:

- combining the action and research approach
- have an eye for the support of research
- taking up a middle position
- use of contingent models from the angle of system theory and human resources management
- largely qualitative studies but certainly not completely subjective.

They are, of course, stereotypes, and more recent publications by all kinds of experts show a tendency for the aforementioned experts to increasingly interact. In the literature of organizational developers we now find strategic and operational models and in the business literature chapters on dealing with resistance. In our view, this broadening emphasizes that the design of a diagnosis process must always be tailor-made.

The contents of the diagnosis

What can one look at? What can be observed then? What should one pay attention to? Which models can be used? These are the questions that concern the content of an organization's change management diagnosis.

There are hundreds of organizational diagnosis models. They've in common that they provide a way of looking at the organizational world. Some look comprehensively, others look at partial aspects. Some look more static (the 'photo'), while others look more dynamically (the 'film'). One can look with business models, or with organizational or change manager. One can look at the level of the individual, the group, the organization and the environment.

The experienced change agent

An experienced change agent will probably select a number of diagnostic grids in advance, with which he'll look at this problem in this organization this time. But such an experienced person will certainly also bring in other models and viewing pointers during the process. This's because they appear to be relevant and can make certain things sharp. He'll also have to work towards a meaningful story in the feedback. To this end, observations must be ordered and impressions must become 'photos' into a story that touches the core.

The change strategy

It's important to find a coherent set of principles for shaping the change: the change strategy.

A change strategy requires an analysis of all available diagnostic material. Six basic questions can be used for this. The first two questions are intended to summarize the diagnosis again. With the following four questions you can look ahead.

Basic questions

The six basic questions are:

- What should be the outcome of the change?
- How does it look now? A characterization of the current situation
- How significant is the difference between what's now and what's to come?
- An improvement or a renewal. A complete transformation or training?
- Are there any blocks and resistances to change? How much? With many? or is there a lot of energy and are there positive forces? How much? With many?
- Do the change agents involved want the change and can they implement it (in terms of competencies)? Change agents will be within the organization, but people from outside can also be involved
- Is it actually possible? Is it attainable? Can the change be realized?

The last basic question concerns the assessment of one or more combinations of answers to the previous questions. There are many situations in which the latter question must be answered negatively. For example: the outcome is very ambitious given the competencies of the managers. Then there are two options: adjust the outcome or first work on the competencies of the managers.

Strategy choice

After the basic questions have been gone through a number of times and the answer to the last question: 'yes' (has become), a strategic choice is made. That will always have to be based on the dominance, leading one color: the base color. This is because the underlying principles of the color printing are so different. The choice is distilled from the answers to the six basic questions.

The base color can be temporary or apply to certain changes. There may also be supportive interventions of other colors. Then it's already about the intervention plan.

please note

These questions are consistent with a systematic approach to change. Where this's inconvenient or undesirable, it does help to not take the questions too literally. The most important function is to get a good picture and overview of the situation. The questions are a good tool for this. Specially to detect the "mission impossible". Ideas, plans and intentions that can already be seen from this overview to be shipwrecked.

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn
Back to top

Home | Privacy Policy

Copyright 2011 - 2020 - All Rights Reserved