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13 Leading Change Management Models For Your Business

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Change has been fundamental in responding to disruptions in the work and business environments. Whether for the newest technology in the market or the difficulties posed by Covid-19, it has become the need of the hour. But did you know that most organizational change initiatives (almost 70%) fail? It's possible that managers are feeling overburdened by the procedures. Conversely, they might be implementing the wrong change management approach as a whole. That is why selecting the appropriate change management model is a must to help them stay focused and dedicated.

This blog summarizes 13 leading change management models. These models help in implementing an effective change management approach.

Top 13 Change Management Models For Your Business

1. Lewin's Change Management Model

Lewin's change management model, created in the 1940s, is still relevant because of its simplistic yet efficient design. Kurt Lewin, the creator of the change model, suggests that organizational change management can be divided into three simpler phases:

  1. Unfreeze
  2. Change
  3. Refreeze


Lewin, a physicist by training, explained organizational change management with the idea of transforming an ice cube into a cone.

For everyone involved to recognize the necessity for change, you must first "unfreeze" your current process and examine how you improve it.

It's now time to implement the changes into action. Clear and consistent communication throughout all relevant channels is necessary for effective change before and after implementation.

After implementing and adjusting modifications based on employee feedback, the new status quo should be to "refreeze" or solidify. The refreeze stage solidifies the new process, supposing accurate input and continued communication during the "change" step. Teams and organizations, like ice molds, must break out of an old mold to fit into a new one.

2. McKinsey 7-S Model

Thomas J. Peters and Robert H. Waterman introduced the McKinsey 7s model at the McKinsey Consulting Business in the 1970s.

It was to assess how the many components of an organization function together. According to the 7s model, every organization needs to have these seven essential components:

Hard elements (easiest to identify and control)

  • Strategy
  • Structure
  • System

Soft elements (more subjective and difficult to change)

  • Shared values
  • Staff
  • Style
  • Skills

Since each of these factors is interconnected to the others, changing one will impact all of them. When implementing changes to the organization and needing to synchronize various departments and procedures, businesses frequently employ the 7s model.

Let's say a business expands quickly from 200 to 500 employees. It will lead to alterations in the shared values and the organizational structure, having a clear impact on the other factors. To keep operating well during growth, it is feasible to comprehend the changes and realign the components using the 7s model.

3. Nudge Theory

The famous book "Nudge - Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness" is where American behavioral economists Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein first presented the Nudge Theory. The book was published in the year 2008.

A "nudge" refers to the idea that a minor change in behavior or choice can greatly impact people. It focuses on involving people by understanding how they make judgments or choices.

The Nudge theory advocates using deceptive methods rather than providing people clear instructions to change their behavior. For instance, rather than stating that it is crucial to monitor diabetes, it is possible to increase the accessibility and availability of glucometers. It will have a good impact on people's actions. Similar conditions can be created by encouraging people to start living a healthy life by asking them to join a gym or play sports at work.

Know more here: Nudge Theory: 6 Simple Ways To Implement It In A Workplace

4. The ADKAR Change Management Model


Awareness: Being aware of the need for change
Desire: Desire to support and engage in the change
Knowledge: Knowing how to change
Ability: Ability to bring about the change
Reinforcement: Reinforcing to keep the transformation going

According to the ADKAR change management model, the goal of awareness and desire is to help you leave the current situation. This signifies the need for change that hasn't started, yet. During the transition, knowledge, skills development, and reinforcement emphasizes the future.

5. K√ľbler-Ross Change Curve

The Kubler-Ross transition curve is famously known as the five stages of grieving. One can foresee it as a trustworthy change management tactic due to its breakdown of how individuals generally process change. When an organization considers potential employee reactions, it may better plan for change. There are five stages:

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance

The internal emotional journey that people often go through when dealing with change and transition is described by the "change curve."

The curve is developed from the work of Kubler-Ross. People go through several stages on this journey, including shock and denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

People frequently resist engaging with change beyond the initial "shock" of being confronted with it, as if striving to prove that the change is either unreal or unneeded. It is called the "denial" phase.

Then there comes a time when those going through the transformation are forced to interact with it. At this point, anger or blame frequently replaces denial. It's possible for the notion that "it's not fair" to take hold.

As mood and performance continue to deteriorate, elements of bargaining start to show, and blame may eventually shift to oneself. It's important to show empathy at this time and encourage them to think objectively about how changes may affect them personally. Do not attempt to minimize the losses that people will endure; instead, let them know that the change's cost to them personally has been carefully considered.

The process up to this point marks a desire to hang onto or return to the present circumstance. Energy, morale, and performance all pertain to the "downswing" side of the curve, albeit they may change over time. People are at their least productive, energetic, and morale when they realize that all these efforts are futile.

This period marks confusion, sadness, and even depression. You'll need excellent support systems, active listening skills, and empathy through this period.

A moment of acceptance is necessary for getting through this phase. It is the moment at which the individual decides to confront this "new future" and acknowledges on a deeper level that change is taking place. They may only then begin to look beyond themselves and consider new alternatives.

After this, people start acting in ways that include problem-solving. It enables individuals to experiment with new methods and eventually incorporate them into their unique way of being.

6. Bridges Transition Model


The Bridges Transition Model is another people-centered strategy for change management, much like the Kubler-Ross change curve.

This model claims that employees' ability to let go of the past and embrace the future is the key to successful change management. Thus, it focuses less on the changes themselves. The Bridges Transition Model works best to guide employees through significant transitions. When people adjust to change, three stages take place:

  • Ending, losing, and letting go:

Even though it can appear counterintuitive, the first stage in the transition model starts with an end. It is frequently the most difficult for employees. It is crucial to effectively express the goal and benefits of the change to employees. It is because failing to consider their feelings may lead to their rejection of the changes.

  • Neutral zone:

During this phase, employees in the neutral zone adjust to the shift and become familiar with new procedures. You must communicate immediately and clearly when problems develop to prevent confusion and annoyance.

  • New beginnings:

Acceptance is the last phase of the transformation. Employees are aware of their purpose and comprehend the necessity of the changes. To show the concrete outcomes of the employees' hard efforts, one must emphasize the success of the modifications.

7. Kotter's Theory

John Kotter created the Kotter 8-step change model following a survey of more than 100 organizations going through change. It emphasizes the people going through significant organizational changes more than the changes themselves.

Kotter’s Theory has eight basic steps:

  • Establish a sense of urgency.
  • Build a powerful alliance.
  • Create a tactical vision.
  • Seek consensus from everyone.
  • Eliminate obstacles and enable actions
  • Create easy victories.
  • Continue accelerating.
  • Implement a change.

Through trust, transparency, and teamwork, Kotter's change management methodology expertly transforms potentially resistant individuals into receptive participants. This method has been a favorite among change management models because it clarifies the result, uses everyone's input and executes the upcoming changes collaboratively.

8. Maurer's 3 Levels of Resistance and Change Model


The three mindsets employees may have when they're reluctant to change is the subject of author Rick Maurer's change model. Those are:

I don't get it - This indicates that employees lack the knowledge necessary to comprehend the nature and implications of impending changes fully.

I don’t like it - This is the emotional state of worry, and workers may become hostile to any messages concerning changes and become defensive.

I don't like you - Even if employees think the change will be good for them, they may dislike or distrust the person or individuals trying to implement it.

Maurer's model, like many of the other change models on our list, recommends that management overcome opposition. It is mostly done by being upfront with employees, providing convincing data, and listening to their concerns.

9. PDSA Cycle


A continual process for optimizing and improving your business is the Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) Cycle. The cycle is based on the work of Walter Shewhart and W. Edward Deming. The Deming Wheel or Deming Cycle are two names for the methodology.

You should perform the following four steps to make the cycle work in a loop:

Plan: Determine what needs to change and come up with a strategy.

Do: Try out your concept in a small way.

Study: Analyze your findings to see what worked and what didn't.

Act: Implement your findings and the lessons you learned.

The cycle is a fantastic instrument for ongoing development. It is simple to incorporate any or all sections of your overall change management strategy.

But if you're organizing a significant organizational shift, you'll undoubtedly require a more intricate framework.

This model compares actual outcomes to predictions. You can use this straightforward four-step approach repeatedly until the results match your goals.

10. Satir Change Model

The Satir Change Model, which is related to the K√ľbler-Ross Change Curve, keeps track of workers' emotional development by observing their performance over the course of five stages:

  • Late status quo
  • Resistance
  • Chaos
  • Integration
  • New status quo

Using a model that incorporates a "chaos" phase might not be appealing. But there are benefits of preparing for unfavorable responses, that usually come with significant change. This model seeks to prevent problems when people give up on new processes out of frustration.

It makes sense to use this framework when you know what you want to rework. The Satir Change Model concentrates on changing preparation rather than helping decide what changes need to be done.

This method recognizes that many changes fail because of opposition, misunderstanding, and poor communication. Still, it may not give you a clear path to confirmed, long-lasting change.

11. LaMarsh Change Management Model

According to the LaMarsh change management model, people should reduce risk in adopting and accepting new processes. Here, people include the ones whom the changes would most impact. Early in the change management process, they should address the risks associated with accepting and adopting change. It is proven to ensure smooth implementation of the change throughout the entire business.

The LaMarsh model emphasizes making deliberate changes to succeed. It identifies the areas that stand to gain the most from the change. It further ensures that everyone participating in the process knows its goals. And how they will be carried out.

The LaMarsh methodology consists of a five-step framework for leaders to:

Initiate the change: During this phase, leaders set goals.

Identify risk: Risk identification entails assessing the obstacles to employee acceptance.

The phase of implementation: During this time, leaders carry out an action plan created to reduce staff resistance to acceptance.

Get results: After modifications are made, they are assessed against the original goals. Identifying risks is ongoing, and one must modify plans as necessary.

Sustain results: After improvements are made, leaders support procedures to maintain results.

This concept is adaptable and could be used by both small and large corporations.

12. John M.Fisher Change Management Model

John M. Fisher's change management model examines the transition phases that employees experience while initiating a change, whether it be for themselves or the company. By identifying an employee's stage during the transition cycle, managers may assist staff members in adjusting to change more successfully.

The manager can help the employee move on to the next stage using the proper tools. Eventually, the employee will accept, embrace, and adopt the impending change.

Fisher's change model also covers how a person responds to and manages the change. It takes into account individual transformation, or the "Personal Transition Curve," which aids leaders in comprehending the viewpoint of employees during the change process.

An employee may go through the following 12 emotional stages when going through a transition:

Anxiety, Joy, Threat, Fear, Anger, Guilt, Guilt, Despair, Hostility, Acceptance, Moving Forward, Denial, and Disillusionment.

Employees may feel some of these feelings, but not everyone may respond similarly.

The best feature of this model is that it respects the uniqueness of each employee. Because of this, this methodology is beneficial for businesses that have the resources and time to meet with employees one-on-one during a period of change.

Also read: The Leadership Power Of Managing Emotions

13. Kaizen Change Management Model

Kaizen is the Japanese translation of "positive change."

A well-liked change management strategy is kaizen. According to this concept, transitions should be ongoing rather than one-off events.

The Kaizen model advocates that frequent, small improvements have a greater positive impact than a few major changes.

The ten kaizen principles are as follows:

  • Give up making assumptions.
  • Be a proactive problem-solver.
  • Reject the status quo.
  • Give up striving for perfection and welcome gradual, flexible change.
  • As you identify errors, seek fixes.
  • Establish a setting that encourages everyone to contribute.
  • Ask "why" five times to get to the cause rather than accepting the simple answer.
  • Obtain knowledge and suggestions from a variety of people.
  • Look for minor, inexpensive improvements.
  • Never stop getting better.

This concept gives workers more say over changes, which is a novel strategy for fostering employee trust.

This article is written by Susmita Sarma, a digital marketer at Vantage Circle. She was involved with media relations before shifting her interest in research and creative writing. Apart from being a classical music buff, she keeps a keen interest in anchoring and cooking. For any related queries, contact editor@vantagecircle.com

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