The Shape of Change

The Shape of Change: a guide to planning, implementing and embedding organisational change

I am thrilled to announce that my new book, The Shape of Change: a guide to planning, implementing and embedding organisational change, is now available!

What is the book about?

The Shape of Change explores how to manage successful organisational change from the business change manager’s point of view.

It takes readers through a typical change journey – from the initial idea through planning, implementation and embedding.  It highlights the points at each of these stages where a focus on people is vital, and explores the best activities, tools and techniques to use at each point.

Shaping your change management approach

I called the book The Shape of Change to reflect the fact there is no one way to work with people during change. Throughout the book, I show how to shape your change management approach for each different change initiative by:

  1. analysing your specific situation. This includes understanding your organisational culture and the impact of your change initiative. You also need to understand the attitudes and concerns of your stakeholders and the potential for any resistance.
  2. deciding which change interventions to use to engage individuals and build support for your change. You will also need to decide how to approach communications and learning and training, and how to measure that your change interventions are working
  3. supporting your stakeholders through implementation and embedding. You need evidence that the business is ready to change. All users need support through implementation, including a robust approach to dealing with feedback, suggestions and issues. Your leaders need managing when everything is messy and uncomfortable. Finally, you need to measure levels of adoption of the change. This will ensure the change is fully embedded and the benefits are being realised before you declare your change a success

What does The Shape of Change aim to do?

I wrote The Shape of Change to fill the gap between business change theory and the reality of working with people during change.

The book discusses how it feels to work in change. It explores some of the techniques and skills needed to manage everyday issues, such as:

  • dealing with suspicious and hostile stakeholders
  • keeping senior leaders interested and supportive for your change
  • managing the tensions between project management and business change
  • understanding the emotional maelstrom that change can create. Recognising and dealing with this whilst keeping yourself sane and healthy
  • keeping everyone calm at implementation when everything is messy and uncomfortable
  • overcoming the fragility of embedding when users risk drifting back to old ways of working.

Anyone working with people during change will benefit from the book. You will find information, hints and tips and examples of best practice to support you, wherever you are in your change journey.

The four example change initiatives

Throughout the book, I have woven the stories of four example organisations going through different changes.

These examples bring the information in the book to life. For example, the first chapter explores the need to have strong, clear drivers for change. This is followed by an explanation of the drivers for each of the four example changes. The culture of one of the organisations is analysed in the relevant chapter, and the stakeholders of another in the next. Where there are options of how to shape the change management approach for different circumstances, this is illustrated by the different examples.

I have also included templates and worked examples of key business change tools such as business readiness assessments, communications and training plans. Options of how to measure the success of your change interventions are discussed. A complete change management plan for one example organisation is included in the appendix.

I chose the four example change initiatives to illustrate the wide range of industries and different change situations we may find ourselves working in. Here is a quick outline of the examples:


Workout! restructure

Workout! is a UK-wide employment charity with 150 volunteer branches across the country, supporting people to find work. It is undergoing a major restructure, including increased centralisation, standardisation and professionalisation of its services.

Spark Clearholme merger

Sparks and Clearholme are merging to become the largest manufacturer of electrical goods in Europe. The merger includes a large-scale office move and a restructure of the finance department. A new marketing campaign planner is also being implemented.

Burntwood EDRMS

Burntwood County Council is undergoing a programme of change to improve its information management practices. It is implementing an Electronic Document and Management System (EDRMS) and improving information management behaviours across its 2500 staff.

Mayer & Co e-file

The 1,300 lawyers and paralegal caseworkers at Mayer & Co law firm are moving from paper-based correspondence and case management to a paperless office and electronic case management system.

What do I do next?

You can buy The Shape of Change directly from Routledge. Add the code FLR40 at the checkout for a 20% discount. This makes it cheaper than buying from Amazon!

If you would like to know a bit more about the book, here is a recent interview I gave for Activia Expert Insights.

I am very excited that Routledge has entered the book into the CMI Management Book of the Year competition. Shortlisting is in the autumn, so I will update when I get some news.

I genuinely welcome feedback on the book. I wrote it to support colleagues working in business change, so please let me know if it is helpful. You can post any feedback, suggestions or comments below. You can also email me at


Happy Reading!