How To Implement Change Within A Team

man looking at neon squares

In our post The Three Types of People You Will Meet When Implementing Change we looked at how different people process change, and what you need to do to influence each one. In this post we are going to look at how to implement change within a team for maximum success and lasting impact.

Who Are You Working With?

Before looking at the change model, thinking back to the previous post we mentioned, you need to determine who you are working with before you can really understand how to implement change within a team. Thinking about the team you want to enact the change with – where do they sit on the three groupings:


People with a sameness pattern want their situation in a given context to stay the same. They do not like change and may really struggle to adapt to unexpected change. These people will be the group that will need some extra support at this time.


People with the evolution pattern will like things to stay the same but will get onboard with change if there is a need for improvement. They tend to resist major changes if they do not understand or can not see a need for the change and prefer for their situations to evolve over time. Even with the current change, as it is unexpected and we don’t know what is going to happen, some of your evolution people may still be struggling.


People with a difference pattern love change, they thrive on it and want it to be constant and major. They will resist static or stable situations.

Although they may easily adapt to the change, the key with difference team members will be to keep them engaged if this is a longer term thing. They may also look for radical ways to work which will need to more closely managed if remote.

Some questions to determine where your team members fall in their change motivation:


  • Are they more resistant to change?
  • Are they quite traditional and are happy to consistently do the same thing?

How to implement change within a team of sameness people:

  • Avoid using the word “change” and help them to understand that their whole world isn’t changing. A useful way to do this is to share with them the elements of the job that are in common with what they already know.
  • Additional coaching to help them work through the change and give them an opportunity to have someone to talk to about their anxieties – you may want to look at additional external expert support like 121 coaching that we do with our clients.

Do you have evolution people?  

  • Do they enjoy looking for improvements?
  • Are they quite open to change?

How to implement change within a team of evolution people:

  • Because evolution people are driven by improvement – share with them the improvements this could actually bring for them and the business – i.e. more time to work on internal projects that you have been waiting for time to start, opportunities for them to do online learning, etc.
  • You may also want to allocate out to some of your higher evolution people some responsibility for helping carve out what the remote working structure could look like – they are typically good change ambassadors so will be effective in engaging others and creating options that work for the wider business.

Do you have difference people?

  • Do they look for constant change?
  • Can they be quite radical in their approach and in their appetite to be the first to do something?

How to implement change within a team of difference people:

  • Get them involved with driving the change.
  • Put them in a role that is responsible for coming up with new ideas and changes.

How To Implement Change Within A Team By Understanding Levels of Change

Robert Dilt created a model around levels of change that provides insight into the different levels that change goes through, and the levels needed for change to stick.

Essentially the model is built on driving change at the highest level (with purpose being the highest and environment being the lowest).

This model provides some key insight into why a lot of change doesn’t stick. Let’s take training courses as an example – because they typically focus only on the behaviour and capability levels, people often go on courses and their behaviour changes for a few days or weeks, but they soon slip back into the old ways. This is because they learned new skills (capability level) but their values, beliefs and sense of identity (the higher levels), that govern whether they use those skills in a particular context didn’t change.

Deep down, they may not feel it was right to use their newly acquired skills, or it may not have been important enough to them, or it just didn’t feel like them. So, even though in theory they had a new range of skills and behaviour, in practice they reverted to the old ways.

The key in this – if you’re aiming to make change happen, make sure that the change is taking place at a sufficiently high level to make it stick.

Level Six – Purpose

Purpose asks the questions: “What is the overarching purpose of this change?” or “Why is this change happening at the highest level?”

This is the wider purpose that will tap into people’s motivations for supporting a change.  The purpose may be to enable a team or organisation to address an unmet need, continue to serve the needs of their customers, or ‘just’ remain financially viable.  However, the more compelling the purpose, the more effective it will be for engaging people in change.

Level Five – Identity (People)

Identity asks the question “Who are the people we are aiming to influence the change with?”  it essential describes the group of people that you need to get on board with the change.

The identity / people level is all about identifying the group of people that are most affected by the change, and enabling them to forge a common identity within the change.

If we use an example of the NHS, this could be “we are nurses”, or “we are doctors” etc. If you can find a common group that the change will appeal to and make it relevant to them it will help them to see how it impacts them. “We are the ones being affected by this change”.

Level Four – Values & Beliefs

The core beliefs and values underpin the team’s sense of identity: what they hold to be true and important.  These will influence how they respond to change by looking at “why they would be motivated”.

In many cases values and beliefs will be sub-conscious, but understanding them will help anyone introducing change to shape their key messages accordingly.

Using the same NHS example – this could include the belief that the team’s nurses has some of the ‘best caregiving skills’ or ‘greatest proficiency’ in their area of expertise.  They might value their ability to deliver the best care for example. By linking the change to enabling them to do this will allow it to hit on a deeper level.

Effective change leaders will role model values and beliefs that already exist within the team, or that the team will accept and adopt as their own. Engaging in a healthy debate of what these are, or what they could be, will assist with this process. If you already have established values across the business that are representative of your team, this will be a lot easier.

Level Three – Capabilities

Capabilities and the competencies, skills, qualities and strategies that people can apply to adopt or support the change – the ‘how?’ work gets done. They need to be defined, taught and practised for any defined change.

They could be both technical competencies in the individuals fields of expertise or related to their work, or softer skills such as their ability to adapt to the change itself.

Level Two – Behaviours

Behaviours are the ‘what?’ people are expected to do, say or think as a result of the change.

An effective change programme will identify which behaviours need to change, and what training or processes may need to be rolled out in order to successfully implement and embed new ways of working. Reward and recognition incentives may help with this.

Level One – Environment

Environment is the ‘where and when’ for managing the change.  It is the place and time of where those affected by the change will work. The physical and geographical location.

Changes to this environment could help to ensure that people effectively transition to the new way of working, or at a minimum support them in doing so.

Example Change Scenario Using Levels of Change:

Scenario: NHS saving on print costs & needing people to change their printing habits based on this. Group: Doctors & Nurses

PURPOSE: “What is the overarching purpose of this change?” or “Why is this change happening at the highest level?” The group will be mainly motivated by their impact on people. If this was the case, we could link this change and the cost saving to enabling them to have additional budget around the delivery of care – whether this is additional resources / supplies etc.

IDENTITY: “Who are we?” The groups we are aiming the change at are doctors & nurses.

VALUES & BELIEFS: “Why would they be motivated?” They would be motivated by additional budget to care for people – it is important to them that their patients get the best level of care, and that they can care for as many patients as possible.

CAPABILITIES: “How?” What will the replacement to printing be? I.e. Could we provide them with iPads? Second screens?

BEHAVIOURS: ‘What?’ Making sure that old habits are re-trained, changing legacy processes into checklists – making sure everyone is clear of what the new way of working will be and the accountability for this.

ENVIRONMENT – ‘Where and when’ Changing the environmental infrastructure i.e. installing new technology – changing paper charts to electronic etc.

How To Implement Change Within A Team By Using Change Insight

The key with everything we have discussed in this post is about tailoring your approach to change, to the audience you are looking to influence around the change. It sounds simple doesn’t it? But we see time and time again businesses enacting change without taking the time to think about how the people in their business will react to the change. Organisational change is simply individual change at scale.

Before starting any change follow this simple process for success:

  1. Look at the different groupings of the team members – are they mainly sameness, evolution or difference? This will give you an indication around who you may need to spend more time influencing, and who will get on board more easily.
  2. Work the change you are looking to make through the levels of change – have you addressed the high level elements like purpose, identity and values & beliefs?

If you regularly drive change in your business, you might be interested in our resource Leading During Times of Change & Uncertainty

Our signature behavioural mapping tool helps you to uncover the change preferences of your team, in addition to many other the other behavioural patterns that impact how they work day to day. Drop us a line to find out about a free behavioural map for your team.