Updated: May 24
Different change management models
Lewin’s change management model focuses on the aspects of unfreezing, changing, and refreezing. Does that help you to build a change management project that works in daily business? Is it a good idea to use the state of refreeze when we know that we are living in an age of VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity)?
The ADKAR change management model focuses on the aspects of awareness, desire, knowledge, ability, and reinforcement. All those aspects are important for change and Prosci has influenced change management extremely. How easy is it for you to use the ADKAR change management and do you have all the knowledge to build up a project on the complete Prosci change management approach?
Kotter’s change management model consists of 8 steps. Create a sense of urgency, build a guiding coalition, form a strategic vision, enlist a volunteer army, enable actions by removing barriers, generate short-term wins, sustain acceleration, and institute change. The Kotter change model has also influenced organizational change management extremely and I like this model as it is complex and metaphoric.
When it comes to the question of which one is best for you, it is your choice to decide. To make the right choice, you should take care of your change management strategy and how to manage your change project.
If you are not able to manage your change project with one of these frameworks, are they the best choice for you?
Comparing change management models can sometimes be very hard. So, let’s talk about some insights into change management that may help you in your decision-making process. And if you need additional support, GRIFFOX is your professional change management partner helping you with all your change-related questions.
Best Practices of Change Management
The ADKAR change management framework of PROSCI consists of awareness, desire, knowledge, ability, and reinforcement. It is important to create a sense of urgency in your change initiative. With this approach, resistance to change can be reduced and existing resistance from employees can be addressed at an early stage. The ADKAR model of change was created by PROSCI and is a scientific-based change approach. The ADKAR model is part of the PROSCI change management strategy. Other parts are the PCT model and the PROSCI 3 phases process.
Change models like the ADKAR approach, the Kotter change management model, or the Change Canvas are popular systemic approaches to managing change. Best practices of organizational change management always consider the change management team, the benefits of change, how to implement change, the different steps of the change process, and the change management plan.
GRIFFOX is not focused on one particular change management framework or change management template, but what's important to us is to understand the actual situation, focus on the goal and apply the best practices to achieve the goal for the specific transition. This can be the Kotter model of change or ADKAR model of change, but also the Change Canvas model or the GRIFFOX Bullseye model.
Anyway, always keep in mind that you also need a change management plan and the right change management tools.
What is the best Change Management model?
There are a lot of different organizational change management models available like the ADKAR change management model, Kotter change management model, Lewin change management model, or the Change Canvas. I think the best approach is always the model which suits your organizational change in the best way and helps you implement change management. From my point of view, there is no "one size fits all" solution.
Organizational change management is complex and due to that, we like to use our model which integrates the necessary aspects of change. Successful change management can only be achieved if the people involved are understanding what's going on. Therefore it is important to make the change management process easy and understandable.
To communicate clearly on all levels of change and to have the best change management roadmap we created the GRIFFOX Bullseye model.
GRIFFOX Bullseye Model
The necessary aspects of a change model should be:
But it is also very important to keep the following aspects in mind:
Resistance to change, create a sense of urgency, create a human working atmosphere, and start implementing the right tools.
You can use the following points for your change project.
Vision – Why is Change necessary?
What is the vision or objective of the change? What exactly should be changed and what is the reason for this change?
Change management should always be characterized by clear objectives. A goal helps in measuring the achievement of goals, in communication with employees, in motivating the people who carry out the change management, and in deriving sub-goals and milestones. In most change projects many employees are happy to participate in the change and act in the interests of their employer.
However, the prerequisite for this is always that the employees also understand why the change is necessary and what exactly is expected of them. Clear and transparent communication across all levels of the organization is therefore an essential part of change management. The vision should always be as inspiring and driving as possible for the employees. It must therefore pull the employees in the desired direction and have an inspiring effect on the employees. And in the best case communication creates awareness and desire to help the people involved to make the needed steps on their own.
Change initiatives that do not take an inspiring vision into account will always have a hard time getting employees enthusiastic about change.
Goal - What is our goal? Who or what should be changed and when is the goal reached?
Why do we distinguish vision and goal?
In practice, we often experience that this point is overseen very quickly. The goal seems clear. Two departments are merged, a merger is carried out or new software is introduced company-wide. So the goal is clear. Or not?
In our opinion, the vision of change management defines the why of the change.
What exactly has to be changed?
What happens to us if we don't carry out the change project?
Without the change initiative, where will our business be in 5 years?
Setting a clear goal
We think the goal must be clearer and more concrete than the vision. If it's just a question of introducing software and after the introduction, all employees are dissatisfied due to the software implementation, do their work worse, are unmotivated, or, in the worst case, leave the company, then the goal can hardly have been achieved. So the goal takes care of the successful business of organizations. Managing a day-to-day business, supporting in difficult situations, creating an awesome working atmosphere, and to implement best practices for organizations must be part of the change management goal.
Goal! Goal! Goal!
That's why we need to manifest the goal clearly at the beginning of change initiatives. What exactly is the goal? What part of organizations or who should be changed specifically? What are the best possible ways to support a change project?
Answering these questions helps to manage the change project in a targeted and successful manner and to measure whether we have achieved the goal or not.
Strategy & tactics - What is our strategy? What is our tactic? What does our change management strategy look like?
In terms of strategy and tactics, analogies from sports help to visualize what exactly is supposed to happen.
The strategy stands for the basic planning on paper, i.e. in a rather abstract way. Strategy is influenced to a large extent by the previous analysis of a change management project. How do organizations fit together in a merger? Which training, coaching, or workshop will your employees need? How can the managers support change? Is an example easy to understand? Should you use storytelling?
The analysis provides the answers that are required to set up the project in the best possible way.
Tactics are based on the strategy at the beginning of the change initiative and then look at the ongoing development. Do I use the PROSCI change management model or another one?
Tactical decisions react to the content and deviations identified in the project. So if problems arise that could not have been planned, the tactics pick up on these issues and make corrections to the course of the project.
Status Quo – Change diagnostic – Where do we stand now?
The status quo enables a comparison to be made between the current status and the status planned within the change management framework of the vision and goal. The difference between the two points also represents the work packages to be carried out. The PROSCI methodology offers various tools for an analysis of the change initiative and to get a feeling as well as concrete indications of where the essential points for the project's success lie.
However, it should always be noted that areas that are already very positive must also continue to be kept in mind. It can never be ruled out that these positive areas will develop into negative ones if they are neglected. It is therefore important to carry out the analyses continuously and holistically.
Project Management - Create a Change Plan!
Project management plays an essential role in change management. This is because change initiatives often run longer and it is not exactly predictable how people will behave in a change project. Not every employee will always be enthusiastic about a change and it is therefore not clear what consequences the individual employee draws for himself or herself.
However, change projects always consist of different sub-aspects, i.e. sub-projects, and always have milestones to evaluate progress and make adjustments if necessary.
In this respect, functioning project management is very important for the success of change management.
Whether the project is being operated in a more classical or more agile way is a question that the organization must clarify for itself. Change management can always be operated with both forms of project management.
Stakeholder Management (CEO / Board / Leaders / Employees / Change Agents)
Stakeholder management stands for the ongoing exchange and supply of project-relevant information to the stakeholders of the project. At first glance, these are usually the CEO, C-level managers, and the board of directors. In any case, this group of people is of great importance for the project, since their position makes them very noticeable in the project. Both positive and negative behaviors about the project affect the project itself.
A positive CEO can have a powerful impact on the project and employees if he behaves positively and supportively. In the opposite case, of course, the same applies.
In stakeholder management, the employees affected by the change must not be neglected. The employees usually carry out the respective work. If the employees oppose the project, it is difficult to achieve the set goal. Stakeholder management can also help to engage employees in change management projects by using timely and transparent communication.
Stakeholder management must therefore continuously take care of the individual groups of people and address problems at an early stage.
Monitoring and Steering - Milestone management
The interaction of the individual building blocks must lead to continuous monitoring of the project. This comparison takes place during ongoing project management and should be based on milestone plans. Problems found are discussed in the project and necessary adjustments can be made. Most of those involved are familiar with this control process from various projects.
Despite everything, it must also be ensured that the achievement of goals is always kept in mind, the time horizon is not forgotten, and that the steering committee regularly reports on the development of the change management project. If you are struggling with change management, it helps to check the status quo. What was your goal? What have you already done? What does your project management look like? Are you on track? Who is responsible for the change project? Do your employees have all resources needed to be successful? And last but not least how are you communicating change?
Communication is one of the key drivers of change management.
Based on the previously described vision of the change management project, it is necessary to explain the vision to the employees, to inspire them with the vision & goal, and to convince them that the path taken by the change initiative is the right one.
In practice, many different forms of change management communication can be found for this purpose. Which form of communication is exactly used in the respective change project usually always depends on the corporate culture of the organization.
In a long-established, conservative company, other change management communication tools are normally used than in a young, hip start-up.
What does the day-to-day business look like? Is an organization using lectures and brochures or is it normal to act in an agile and digital way?
Don't use just one form of change management communication. Use all forms of communication which are commonly used.
Awareness & Desire
Is it necessary to care about awareness, desire, and the human side of change?
If you don't, the change project will fail.
"Change" always means that people need to adapt to a new working style. But if they don't like a new working style, what is their reason to change? Money is not the best motivator and if people see that they can work more easily for a different company, then they might quit.
The PROSCI change management framework and the Kotter change management approach point out that it is very important to have the right attitude to change from the beginning. So always keep in mind that it might be necessary to change the mindset of your employees and managers. So, we are talking about a fixed mindset and a growth mindset and how a growth mindset can help you change successfully.
But how do you start to inform your employees? Sometimes it is just enough to inform your employees about the change, why it is necessary, and what is in for them. Those people who change immediately or short term had already a growth mindset but needed some explanations to change.
People who are not changing immediately might have a fixed mindset. That's not a problem, but you need other methods to support them in their change effort. One option might be coaching. Coaching can be used in a lot of different situations and one surely is coaching in change management.
Why do we read so often that changes fail?
Changes in companies cannot be viewed according to a specific pattern because the reasons for the change are too different. Change projects are canceled for a variety of reasons. It is therefore important to keep an eye on the sponsor and the stakeholders because they are most decisive for the successful completion of the project.
Find below, what we think about canceling a change project.
Sponsor and Stakeholders
The change sponsor is the person or group of people who initiated the change and who have the greatest interest in the success of the transition. These are often C-level managers or the company board. Since change initiatives often last longer, which is primarily because people cannot change completely overnight, in practice it happens that a change project is canceled because the time to implement took longer than originally planned.
Budget-relevant aspects can also lead to termination.
As a result, change management initiatives that are terminated or aborted are often rated as failed.
Success in change management
Our opinion is a little bit different.
Successful change always means managing change based on best practices, supporting the change in the whole organization with the clear intention to reach a higher level of change maturity, taking care of effective change management, and especially taking the people's side in mind.
If our approach to change looks like this, then we take care of the current state, the people's side, the individual change aspects, and also the goals of the organization or company.
From that perspective, change management is successful when we can support the human side of change and reach a higher level of change maturity.
Implementing change management always means dealing with the awareness, the desire, the people's side, the sense of urgency, and the current state from the beginning of the change management. Managing change in an organization has always taken care of internal aspects of the business of the organization.
So, what internal level of change maturity have your different teams had? And what internal level of change maturity has your organization?
Results of Managing Change
If the people have the right mindset at the beginning of the project, it usually leads to having a greater awareness of changes and change management. At the same time, this ensures that change projects do not have to be rated as completely failed, even if they are terminated prematurely. It is important that change initiatives are managed by professional change management experts and that the points that are most important for the success of the organizational change need to be carried out based on a very good change management process. Managing change always means taking a deep dive into the human side of change and understanding that a change within an extremely short period is impossible.
Talking about transformational change means that your leaders are engaged to change the current process. To change the process (or in most cases: many processes) you need technology and sometimes new technology to be successful. But that's not all. Be aware that you always need a plan - a good plan!
So let's get in touch, set up your plan and start your change initiative!