Quick Note – Understanding on Various Change Management Models

By May 7, 2020September 10th, 2020No Comments

Every transformation is different in its own way. There is no same pattern and sometime it is not exactly predictable too.

That’s a reason people came up with various change management models. There are various change management model and most of companies choose one of them to operate under –


This is a practical model which is very easy to learn and focused on actions and outcomes required from change. It focuses on principles of change that are effective on an individual level.

ADKAR is an acronym for Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability and Reinforcement.

  • Awareness of the business reasons for change. Awareness is the goal/outcome of early communications related to an organizational change.
  • Desire to engage and participate in the change. Desire is the goal/outcome of sponsorship and resistance management
  • Knowledge about how to change. Knowledge is the goal/outcome of training and coaching
  • Ability to realize or implement the change at the required performance level. Ability is the goal/outcome of additional coaching, practice and time
  • Reinforcement to ensure change sticks. Reinforcement is the goal/outcome of adoption measurement, corrective action and recognition of successful change

The focus of this model is on people-how to change people, not things, programs, etc.

Lewin’s Change Management Model

This simple change model was invented by social psychologist Kurt Lewin. It includes three steps –

  • Unfreezing
  • Changing
  • Refreezing

This model also considers people as root of change. It focuses on reducing resistance to change by referring two forces in an organization –Driving forces and Restraining forces. Driving forces are reasons for people to motivate for change and Restraining forces are reasons people are hesitant to change.

Unfreezing – Driving forces > Restraining forces. People are motivated and following options possible to reduce resistance.

  1. Communication
  2. Training
  3. Employee Engagement
  4. Stress Management
  5. Negotiation
  6. Coercion

Changing – This is stage where change actually occurs. Please learn new behaviors, system etc.

Refreezing – This is stage where change in reinforced.

McKinsey 7-S Model

The McKinsey 7-S model offers a holistic approach to organization. This model, created by Robert Waterman, Tom Peters, Richard Pascale, and Anthony Athos during a meeting in 1978, has 7 factors that operate as collective agent of change:

1. Shared values

2. Strategy

3. Structure

4. Systems

5. Style

6. Staff

7. Skills

Kotter’s 8 Step Change Model

This model, created by Harvard University Professor John Kotter, causes change to become a campaign. Employees buy into the change after leaders convince them of the urgent need for change to occur. There are 8 steps are involved in this model:

1. Increase the urgency for change.

2. Build a team dedicated to change.

3. Create the vision for change.

4. Communicate the need for change.

5. Empower staff with the ability to change.

6. Create short term goals.

7. Stay persistent.

8. Make the change permanent

The Kubler-Ross model or Five stages of grief

This model was introduced by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in 1969.  According to this all changes have some effect on people so this need to understand reaction to change.

The five stages of grief Kubler-Ross wrote about are:

Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance

1 – Denial

Denial is a conscious or unconscious refusal to accept facts, information, reality, etc., relating to the situation concerned. It’s a defense mechanism and perfectly natural. Some people can become locked in this stage when dealing with a traumatic change that can be ignored. Death of course is not particularly easy to avoid or evade indefinitely.

2 – Anger

Anger can manifest in different ways. People dealing with emotional upset can be angry with themselves, and/or with others, especially those close to them. Knowing this helps keep detached and non-judgmental when experiencing the anger of someone who is very upset.

3 – Bargaining

Traditionally the bargaining stage for people facing death can involve attempting to bargain with whatever God the person believes in. People facing less serious trauma can bargain or seek to negotiate a compromise. For example “Can we still be friends?..” when facing a break-up. Bargaining rarely provides a sustainable solution, especially if it’s a matter of life or death.

4 – Depression

Also referred to as preparatory grieving. In a way it’s the dress rehearsal or the practice run for the ‘aftermath’ although this stage means different things depending on whom it involves. It’s a sort of acceptance with emotional attachment. It’s natural to feel sadness and regret, fear, uncertainty, etc. It shows that the person has at least begun to accept the reality.

5 – Acceptance

Again this stage definitely varies according to the person’s situation, although broadly it is an indication that there is some emotional detachment and objectivity. People dying can enter this stage a long time before the people they leave behind, who must necessarily pass through their own individual stages of dealing with the grief.

Stephen Covey: 7 Habits Model

Stephen Covey suggests that this model is a process of learning new habits that are aligned with the seven habits he presents in his book.

Learning a new habit is not easy. It takes time and practice. For most of us this is a big ask! But if you’re willing to make the time and put in the practice then Stephen Covey is the best place to start.

Habit 1: Be Proactive – Responsible for behavior, results and growth.

Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind – Focus time and energy on things that can be controlled.

Habit 3: Put First Things First – Execute on most important priorities.

Habit 4: Think Win-Win – Work effectively and efficiently with others to achieve optimal results.

Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood – Communicate effectively at all levels of the organization.

Habit 6: Synergize – Innovate and problem solve with those who have a different point of view.

Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw – Seek continuous improvement and renewal professionally and personally.

These are many more model available which have worked for some organizations. However in a nut shell I think either we talk about organizational change or individual change there is no perfect model as every organization is different and they have all different environments. So one model can work for one but not for another.

So choose carefully !

Rishi Kumar

About Rishi Kumar

Leave a Reply