The Four Box Model Can Support Workplace Transformation

Posted on February 19, 2020
The Four Box Model Can Support Workplace Transformation

Updated: August 7th, 2022

Managing change has never been easy for any organization. Big and small organizations will always be susceptible to barriers to organizational change. However, senior leaders and managers must explain and initiate discussions to ensure full participation by their workforce. With the right approach and strategies, productive organizations can bring out the best in their employees. 

Introducing the Four Box Model 

The Four Box Model is a matrix diagram developed in the 1950s by President Eisenhower. Back then, it was an effective time-management tool. But today, it has a wide array of applications, including helping to support the organizational change management process. 

Visual diagrams are a crucial communication tool in any organization, whether it is a government institution or a private company. The Four Box Model lets communicators show the advantages and disadvantages of both the status quo and the desired future state. They encourage understanding and dialogue as an organization moves forward with a change initiative. 

four box model illustration

Debriefing the Four Box Model for Workplace Transformation 

How to read the diagram:

Box 1 represents the negatives of the status quo.
Box 4 represents the positives of the status quo.
Box 2 represents the negatives of change.
Box 3 represents the positives of change.

All four boxes impact people as they consider the change process. The resistance boxes 1 and 3 are initially the most influential, followed by box 4. As they become more aligned with the change message, box 2 will become more appealing.

Filling in these boxes with details for each step of change brings greater understanding for people at all levels of the organization. This simple yet effective exercise also helps senior leaders focus on specific factors and listen to concerns they were unaware of. 

Using a four-step methodology to build support can help smooth the transitions necessary for corporate growth and create better communications during times of change.

Explore Programs Inspired by the Four Box Model Bottom Line

Within an organization, various divisions, departments and jobs require different resources and ways to operate, and the best managers identify the right boxes for each workflow. It’s necessary to identify which box relates to your team members and discover the possibilities of improving the processes to bring the most out of your employees. 

Our Masters Certificate in Municipal Leadership program inspired by the Four Box Model is divided into three individual modules spanning a total of 14 days over 5 months. The goal of the program is to equip municipal managers to effectively lead their municipality into the future. 

Schulich ExecEd provides academic advising to help you identify resources and support for your program. To learn more about program information and program requirements, contact an advisor today.