12+ Canvases That Help Any Organization Become More Change Resilient

Updated: Aug 7, 2021

Many decisions made throughout an organization involve subsequent changes that impact people, processes, and technology. Unfortunately, consideration for the impact these changes will have throughout the organization is often an afterthought or forgotten about altogether by those who originated the change.

Regardless, the treadmill of change within organizations continues without relent. Not because change is fun in these environments, but because organizations are stuck reacting to competitors in their industry inherently built to disrupt and quickly respond to change.

Download 12 Lean Change Canvases

The consequences of a dysfunctional organizational change ecosystem often lead to misalignment on why changes are happening, ineffective implementation, unsuccessful outcomes, and greater resistance. But, it shouldn't have to be this way.

Maybe the biggest challenge for some organizations is that they still originate change solely from their boardroom and behind-closed-door managerial meetings. Unfortunately, far too often, this approach leads to change being applied to people as if they're parts of a machine rather than capable, innovative human beings.

"When change is the constant, how people respond is the variable."

A Better Way to Facilitate Change Through Canvases

Canvases have been around since at least 2005 when Alexander Osterwalder created the Business Model Canvas. Since then, the Lean and Agile communities have adopted

canvases to strengthen communication, ideas, and alignment between various groups of hetero and homogeneous people within an organization.

When canvases are the centerpiece of change, the direction and motive are visualized and reflected upon. Likewise, when management and workers co-create change, the resulting collaboration generates a greater level of shared understanding and purpose. Yet, it is essential to recognize that while completing a canvas together provides clarity, the primary outcome is to have a conversation that results in greater alignment and understanding. The canvas itself is just the instrument that reveals the outcome.

Continuous Information Gathering

The ability to execute 21st-century change criteria (nimble, adaptive, continuous) is paramount to change success when the most significant advantage lies in proactively responding to change before your competitors.

Organizations will need the capabilities to assemble information about their organizational ecosystem continuously. Keeping an ear to the ground and a pulse of the organizational ecosystem grants the ability to have a perspective not just from leadership about what is and is not working, but from where it is essential to be nimble - from the people at the "point of delivery."

The canvases below empower organizations to learn about their change environment, their people, and the impact on the environment and people within.

Titles don't tell the whole story about the people and relationships within an organization. Influence can come from anywhere throughout the organizational structure. Understanding how a person can leverage their influence in their change ecosystem can help change agents build the connective fibers that empower transformative change.

One concept defined in Lean Change Management is that people fall into three change personas - those who are willing to move towards change sooner (movers), those looking for safety to change (movables), and those who are comfortable where they are (immovables). Marrying the understanding of influence to these personas provides an additional layer of awareness.

BJ Fogg created his behavior model to increase awareness that people can be motivated for change yet not possess the ability to change. When motivation or ability is low, the likelihood that change will occur is also low. An exception might be when you intentionally disrupt the ecosystem (see Change Response Mapping and Culture Hack Mapping canvases below).

If you want to break the cycle of failed change, start involving non-management people in defining how a change will be implemented. What would they like to see improved? Gaining insight from throughout the organization helps identify what needs to be changed and who is aligned. It also helps surface the potential impacts any changes might have.

Some people are ready and willing to change; others, not so much. How can we help people become more capable of seeing the benefits of change? How can we get those already motivated to help those who aren't seeing their intrinsic motivation in a change? This canvas should help.

Dissenting views are super valuable in contributing to a better decision. Yet, we tend to focus on the majority view only. Is there enough safety to share dissenting ideas? Does the group have enough knowledge of what needs to change to make a good decision?

Defining Change Options

When an environment is teeming with complexity, such as many organizations are today, it is best to have flexibility in responding to change and disruption. The ability to ingest information and determine the best first response, including gaining insight into the 'why' and benefits of a response option, can prompt a better response from impacted by the subsequent changes.

Often though, it is impossible to fully know the best response when making decisions in complex environments. Complexity contains a more significant amount of unknowns, and therefore risk. When complexity and risk are high, our natural response increases control by applying more processes and guardrails. However, in reality, our best response is most likely to decrease control from the management levels and increase the ability to make "point of delivery" decisions. However, to achieve this level of trust, there must be clarity, maturity, and agency - something lean change canvases can help generate.

The canvases below empower organizations to understand their complexity and then co-create participatory change between people with authority and those with none. By reserving top-down decision-making for times when appropriate and delegating many impactful decisions down to the point of change delivery, these canvases can help you achieve progress over perfection mentality.

Based on the complexity grid from Management 3.0, this canvas helps people have a conversation about the complexity of their work. The goal?... Understand what you know and what you don't know, in addition to what constraints you have present. Make sure you revisit this grid often to reevaluate the life cycle of complexity throughout your delivery.