The Change Dashboard: A Planning Tool for Successful Change

Kate White
Temple University
Charles Henderson
Western Michigan University
Kate White (Western Michigan University), ASCN Research Director
Charles Henderson (Western Michigan University)

published Sep 16, 2020 9:55am

Have you wanted to change something at your institution, but weren't sure how to actually get to your goal from where you are now? Have you tried to make change happen, but found that your actions did not achieve the results you were hoping for? Change projects often fail because change agents do not fully understand the system that they are trying to change and do not have a clearly articulated change plan. Planning for effective and sustainable change is difficult and many change initiatives fail to reach their goals.

The Change Dashboard is a visual planning and communication tool to help you develop a successful change plan. The Dashboard can be used to plan a change project, present ideas to others, and track progress during a change initiative. It is meant for change agents and teams working in higher education. The main purpose of the Dashboard is to understand and create alignment between the different aspects of your change initiative. Using the Dashboard with your team can lead to a better understanding of your project and more successful change.

The Dashboard is a poster-sized, living document that you can modify over time as your change initiative progresses. We are also developing a virtual version that multiple team members can work on simultaneously -- if you are interested in working with a virtual Dashboard, contact us (

The Dashboard has three main sections: the Project Overview, Desired & Current States, and Strategies & Tactics.

In the Project Overview, you identify your change strategy, mechanism for change, and project goal. This goal is the big picture thing you want to accomplish. The Desired State represents the specific changes in conditions that you want to achieve at your institution, with specific descriptions of what will be different. This helps you identify your Current State and what will need to change in order to bridge the gap between the two. Finally, your Change Strategy is your vision of how and why the desired changes will happen. Your strategy will guide the development and alignment of your Change Tactics, the specific actions you will take to reach each Desired State.

Are you dealing with resistance to change? It is common for people to say that resistance is a natural part of change. However, this is not the case, and is also not a useful way to frame resistance. Instead, the Dashboard can help you identify resistance as a lack of alignment in your change plan. A well aligned change plan can eliminate many types of resistance.

On our site we have a module that will walk you and your team through each section of the Change Dashboard, as well as a Case Study featuring a team that participated in the ASCN Systemic Change Institute (download the white paper now). If you and your team would like to work with the Change Dashboard, in person or virtually, please contact us at

Suggested Citation:

White, K. & Henderson, C. (2020, September 17). The Change Dashboard: A Planning Tool for Successful Change. Retrieved from

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