There are a number of ways to approach organizational change. Here are three common change management models to inform your strategy.
Lewin’s Change Management Model
Lewin’s change management model has been popular for decades, and for good reason. The model’s powerfully simple concept makes change easier to manage. Lewin’s model unfolds in three stages: unfreeze, change, and refreeze.
Unfreezing examines the scope of the change. During this stage, you’ll identify the people most affected by the change and anticipate their resistance. Tailor communication to overcome each resistance area and drive buy-in from your stakeholder groups. At this point, you’ll want to design and share a vision for the change: Why is this change essential, and how does each group benefit once the change is implemented?
The second stage, change, is for implementation. This probably won’t be a one-and-done process: The model encourages rolling out pieces of the change at a time and gathering feedback along the way. Once you have feedback from a representative sample of the workforce, you can tailor your approach to make the implementation easier.
Finally refreezing is when you settle into a new status quo. During this stage, your priority is to provide team members with ongoing support. Keep lines of communication open to continue collecting feedback. Implement training programs to reinforce behaviors that maintain this new status quo.
The ADKAR Model
ADKAR is an acronym for awareness, desire, knowledge, ability, and reinforcement. This model invites employees to take the lead. It relies on strong communication to prompt employees to understand the need for change.
Here’s how the five steps play out. First, communication around the benefits of the change is critical for creating awareness. Next, to foster desire for the change, designate change agents to communicate the benefits more effectively to their peers across stakeholder groups.
Then, stakeholders need specific knowledge to play their part in implementing and supporting the change. The fourth step in the ADKAR model, ability, refers to preparing stakeholders to carry out what they learned during the knowledge stage. Hands-on training can be beneficial to stakeholders and give you real-time insights into how folks are acclimating to their role in the transition.
Finally, reinforcement is an ongoing component during the change process and after its implementation. Provide recognition and small rewards to stakeholders who successfully maintain the change by changing their behavior and role-modeling it for others.
Organizational Development Process
Organizational development isn’t limited to change management, but it can help you manage change effectively. Organizational development breaks the change process down into five phases: entry, diagnosis, feedback, solution, and evaluation.
In the entry phase, you determine the opportunity for change and set expectations for desired outcomes. In the diagnosis phase, gather data across your stakeholder groups to assess the scope of the change. At the feedback phase, you’ll review the data you collected and begin forming a plan for the change process. You’ll also determine the metrics for monitoring your progress.
The solution phase digs deeper into an implementation plan. This is where you’ll begin developing detailed communication plans and laying out training programs to support the change process. The final stage, evaluation, collects data across the implementation process and beyond. That data analysis helps you determine how successful the change was and how you can continue to improve the process.
The process-oriented nature of this model helps you stay organized and intentional about the direction you’re taking at each phase of the change journey.