Change management models describe the different processes of managing change in organisations. They give you a structured outline you can follow, serving as a blueprint to help you apply the common change management principles.
Many different models exist, however several are considered key and most likely to be used by businesses planning or undergoing change. These are:
- Kotter's 8-step process for leading change
- Deming's Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle
- McKinsey's 7S framework
- Lewin's Unfreeze-Change-Refreeze model
- the ADKAR methodology
Choosing a change management model
Each model has a different approach and applies different principles. Some are more complex than others, and all have their advantages and disadvantages.
When considering which change management model to choose, you should take into account:
- your goals and strategies
- your corporate structure
- your staff attitudes
- the sequence of steps suggested
- the time allotted for the work
- implementation and organisational changes
Depending on the nature of your business, the type of change and the people involved, you may use one or more models or none. Don't feel you have to follow the models precisely. Be flexible, if you need to, in order to create and sustain actionable change.
Change management tools and techniques
In addition to change management models, there are other tools and mechanisms that can help you understand, plan and implement change in your business. For example:
- the Kübler-Ross Change Curve diagram can help you understand how individuals might react to change and how you can support them through the process
- impact analysis can help you uncover unexpected challenges or outcomes of change
- training needs assessment can help you ensure that you give the right skills to the right people at the right time
- stakeholder analysis and management can help you maintain a good relationship and communication with your stakeholders
With so many options available to guide change management, finding the right one for your business can be challenging. However, understanding the change process is key to managing it well.
Regardless of the tools or models you decide to use, there are six essential steps you can follow to lead change effectively. See change management process.