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5 Change Management Models Worth Considering

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If the past year taught us anything, it’s that change is inevitable. Some good, and some bad, we’ve all faced more changes than ever over recent months.

Among these changes are the ways businesses conduct their internal and external operations. From downsizing to working from home and modifying their services, businesses have been forced to pivot, pivot, and pivot again.

It’s no wonder change management (CM) is such a hot topic of conversation. With that in mind, today we’re going to cover five change management models worth considering.

But first, let’s start with the basics.

What is CM?

A change management model guides how an organization manages changes, including the tools, processes, and guidelines they follow for implementing these changes. Most commonly, change management refers to the people-side of how changes affect a business.

Your team’s ability to adapt to change can have a big impact on your bottom line, so it’s important to be sure you pick the right change management model for your unique organization.

Five CM models worth considering

Here are five change management models worth considering if you’re ready to make big changes at work. We’re just touching on the basics of these five models, but we encourage you to explore them in greater detail to help you find the right choice for your organization.

Kotter’s Change Management Model

John Kotters’ eight-step change management model involves careful planning and patience while you wait for each of the steps to take effect:

  1. Create a sense of urgency
  2. Build a guiding coalition
  3. Form a strategic vision and initiatives
  4. Enlist a volunteer army
  5. Enable action by removing barriers
  6. Generate short-term wins
  7. Sustain acceleration
  8. Institute change

McKinsey 7S Change Management Model

The McKinsey 7-S CM model places a lot of focus on analyzing a company’s “organizational design.”

Introduced in the 1970s, this model covers the seven S’s of successful change management that can’t be overlooked:

  • Structure
  • Strategy
  • Systems
  • Skills
  • Style
  • Staff
  • Shared values

ADKAR Change Management Model

The ADKAR change management model is an acronym that’s meant to help guide change and improve outcomes in an organization:

  • Awareness of the need for change
  • Desire to participate and support the change
  • Knowledge on how to change
  • Ability to implement required skills and behaviors
  • Reinforcement to sustain the change

Satir change management model

The Satir CM model was developed by therapist Virginia Satir, and similar to other change management models, it involves five stages:

  1. Late Status Quo
  2. Resistance
  3. Chaos
  4. Integration
  5. New Status Quo

Lewin’s Change Management Model

Curt Lewin’s CM model involves only three steps, and the framework was first presented in the 1940s.

Defining these three stages of change is meant to help leaders plan and execute change:

  1. Unfreeze
  2. Change (or Transition)
  3. Freeze (or Refreeze)

Choosing the right model

The right CM model can be different for every organization. It might even take a few trial runs of different models before you discover the perfect fit.

To help you make the best choice, here are some things to get clear about before choosing a CM model:

  • What are the goals for the intended changes?
  • How sweeping and comprehensive are the changes?
  • Who will these changes affect?
  • What are the challenges our organization has faced during previous changes?

It’s also helpful to consider mixing different CM models to find the right combination for your organization. If one model covers just about every base but it’s missing something, create your own! Your business is unique, which means the changes and how your organization handles them will be too.

The key to successful change management

We’ve covered five models worth considering, but above all, it’s important to remember this: the key to successful change management in any organization is communication.

Changes need to be communicated clearly and in a timely manner to avoid as much resistance as possible. Not to mention, clearer communication helps team members feel like they’re part of the change, rather than just being affected by change.

One of the best ways to involve your team members in organizational changes is asking for their opinions. To do this, you can conduct employee surveys, Q&As, or SMS and web polls to collect their feedback. That way, everyone feels like their opinion counts (because it does), and your whole team will feel like they were able to play a part in how the organization evolves.

We know that change is inevitable, but with an effective change management model in place, suffering doesn’t have to be! When you choose the right model for your organization, changes can happen more seamlessly and naturally than you ever thought possible.

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