Staying on Track with the Change Canvas

Staying on Track with the Change Canvas
Photo by / Unsplash

Implementing new technology

Adopting a new organizational model

Becoming physically (or mentally) healthier

These are all instances of change. Each comes with its complexities. Yet, the process of any kind of successful change requires answering the same or similar questions.

My experiences with change—with myself and others—informs the Change Canvas I created below. It’s a quick one-sheet guiding document I use for any changing situation. There’s nothing revolutionary or proprietary about it. It’s an aggregation and synthesis of many things I’ve read or seen over the years. Still, it’s a simple and useful way to rally yourself and others around a change.

I created the canvas below as a template to help myself work through all types of changes. Each box addresses an important aspect of change. They’re each interconnected and should be iterated on as a collective. The canvas is never done or final. Managing change is an always in-progress effort. Anchor back to these fundamentals as you move forward.

The five key aspects of managing change
The five key aspects of managing change


Why is this change essential? What problem(s) does it solve? What value will this change provide? What does “winning” mean for this project? How will this project promote positive behavior change?


How much time will it take? How much money will it take? How many people will it take? What technology will it require? What services will it require? What tools do you need to be successful?

Incentives / Motivation

How will you stick with the goals of the project? How will you bring others along? How will you get buy-in and cooperation? How will you blend intrinsic and extrinsic motivators? Will this change require adding fuel or removing friction?


Are you capable of the tactical work? Do you know how to use the technology? Are you working with the right mental models? Do your team members have the knowledge to execute the plan?


What is the timeline to implement the change? Are there specific phases with key objectives? What are the major milestones? What are the dependencies to getting the work done? Does the team know what the next action items are? What does progress look like?