The Work Systems Model of Change


One of the most practical change models I’ve come across is Gregory Shea’s Work Systems approach to change.

Here’s the illustration:

The idea is that the change leader can move change by pulling on at least four of the eight levers in the model. Each lever is connected to the one on its right and left. For example, if you are changing the Rewards system, that will have an impact on both People and Measurement.

Shea’s model offers a useful framework for designing change programs. The approach is rooted in a strong understanding of systems. While many change efforts tend to focus on individuals or particular communities, the Work Systems Model gets at a deeper level of transformation which has to address the systemic root of surface issues. It’s a refreshingly pragmatic application of design thinking applied to organizational change.

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