Many times peers or potential employers/clients ask ‘what change management methodology do you follow‘? I’ve never heard anybody ask: ‘what are the beliefs you hold about change and what values do you apply when doing change‘? Maybe there is an assumption that a methodology is an encapsulation of beliefs and values. I speculate it’s a context of holding un-examined un-exposed beliefs and values, be that in the choices you make every day, or in the methodology you follow.

My journey to a principles-based approach started when someone said “People don’t change; people resist change“. I thought: ‘Hang on – there are plenty of situations and circumstances where people will change – they’ll even change willingly and stick with the change!’ It’s not helpful to hold a belief, as if it is a major tenet of organisational change, that “people don’t change“.  I came across a better perspective “People change if it is meaningful to them“.

So it got me thinking: what heuristics, insights, and beliefs do I apply in my change management practice?

That thinking led to a collated set of ideas – formed up as Principles to apply when taking a ‘designing change’ [1] stance.


Introducing Change Design Principles

Learn more about the Change Design Principles idea in this short video (2 min).

Introducing Questo Change Design Cards

I’ve published the Principles on a set of cards that can be used as a conversational and learning tool.

Access this free poster of Principles at a glance to see the range of Principles in the full Card Set.

The card set also includes Activities to do in exploring or choosing Principle cards for your situation. The Activities range from those done in a group, as a pair, or by yourself.

Learn more about the card set and two Activities in this short video (1:45 min).

Situations for using the Cards

Here are four typical situations in which the cards can be useful:

  • Coach or team lead seeking to stimulate a fresh conversation in a team about how they orientate to each other and the work they do
  • Change Practitioner working with Change or Business Sponsor to define the Changing Strategy
  • Change Practitioner working with Change Team and/or Stakeholders to design engagement programs and activities
  • Change Practitioner wanting to cultivate fresh mindsets and practices as part of their own professional development


Getting Change Design Principle cards

Purchase your very own set of Change Design Principle cards – available now.


Something to look forward to …

Questo will be publishing a series of Design and Organisational Change themed blogs over the coming months. Design is in Questo’s DNA and has a vital role to play in contemporary organisational change management. I’ll expand more on what this looks like and why follow this approach.


And a side note about video production

I’ve been upgrading my applied-tech skills for the 21st century workscape. A challenge I set myself was to learn how to do all the things involved with making a short video where I appeared on camera – aiming for amateur, not professional level. What you see above is the results of my work. Happy to share any tips from my learning experience if this is something you’d like to venture into – ask me!


[1] Designing change (the verb), i.e. designing changing

Author: Helen Palmer is Founder and Principal Change Agent at Questo.  She’s also the creator of the Change Design Principle Cards.  She likes to create things that inspire and shape meaningful change in workscapes everywhere.

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