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7 Change Management Methods to Familiarize Yourself With

Posted by Devika Hastak

May 16, 2024

Change is the only constant in life, so instead of resisting it, here is how to help you and your employees successfully ride the waves of change.

Change is the one constant in life, yet it’s the one thing we are most resistant to. Although everyday life doesn’t offer a particular framework for navigating change, it’s a different story in business. Several concepts and models, all categorized under the umbrella of change management, can be utilized to ensure a smooth transition when your organization faces change. In fact, in today’s world, when companies must constantly adapt to technological, economic, and socio-cultural changes, an effective change management process is considered the need of the hour.

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This article explores change management and why it’s crucial for your business in today’s ever-evolving landscape. It also highlights some tried-and-tested change management models that can help move your organization forward with the full support of your stakeholders.

What is Change Management?

As the name suggests, change management is a framework or process that helps you manage significant organizational changes. These could be anything from the implementation of a new technology or work process to a merger and acquisition or culture change. An effective change management plan prepares your employees for a change that might affect them or their work and supports them through the transition. It provides detailed communication about the change, offers any required training, analyzes associated risks, and outlines the strategic goals you hope to achieve.

Your approach to organizational change management will differ depending on your company’s size and unique needs. Since the primary focus of change management is how people adapt to the change, this framework requires the continued support and involvement of all key stakeholders. Leaders, managers and experts in HR services for SaaS companies, nonprofits and small businesses often work together to design and implement an agile and impactful change management plan.

What is The Importance of Change Management?

Most people are resistant to change as it can create uncertainty and anxiety. Change management aims to alleviate these anxieties and ensure a smooth transition for your key stakeholders. According to research from Prosci, an expert change management consulting firm, to implement changes successfully, you must prepare, equip, and support the individuals affected by these changes so they can adopt them effectively. 

Change management also ensures that stakeholders, especially employees, have vital support and buy-in throughout the change process. Studies show that 70% of change management efforts are unsuccessful, and employees’ resistance to change is cited as one of the top causes. A practical change management framework involves your employees, ensuring their buy-in, reducing resistance, and guaranteeing their support in successfully driving the change.

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Experts in nonprofit and consumer goods leadership development say leaders who take a people-focused approach to change management demonstrate that they value their greatest assets—their employees. Neglecting the ‘people’ of change can have severe implications for your organization, project timelines, employee morale, performance, and more.

Most major organizational changes are complex and require significant time, effort, and resources. Establishing a detailed strategy to navigate these changes or seeking support from specialists in HR outsourcing for SaaS startups increases your chances of reaping the benefits of what you sow. Change management helps create an environment where your team is engaged and aligned toward a common goal.

7 Change Management Models You Should Know

There are several change management theories and models suited to different organizational needs and scenarios. Here are some tried-and-tested models you can use to ensure a successful implementation and adoption of change.

Kotter’s Change Management Model

John Kotter’s model is the most commonly used model in consumer goods leadership development and other industries to help leaders successfully implement change. This model focuses on the individuals affected by the change process and consists of 8 steps:

  • Creating a sense of urgency around the change
  • Building a change management team
  • Defining your strategic vision and goals
  • Gathering volunteers and advocates from across the organization
  • Identifying and removing barriers to change
  • Establishing short-term goals and celebrating wins
  • Maintaining the momentum of the changes
  • Solidifying and establishing the changes in your culture

The McKinsey 7-S Model

In the 1970s, two McKinsey consultants, Thomas J. Peters, and Robert H. Waterman, introduced a framework that maps out seven factors that impact an organization’s change. This model helps analyze how organizations manage, adapt, and react to change and how these factors impact each other. The 7S’s are:

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

Nudge Theory

The Nudge Theory, rooted in behavioral science, is more of a method to influence a mindset shift. You can gently nudge individuals to make decisions that benefit them. In change management, this means nudging your employees to adopt a change based on its noticeable merits instead of forcing them. The principles of Nudge Theory are:

  • Clearly defining the changes
  • Considering the employees’ point of view
  • Presenting the changes as a choice
  • Using evidence to highlight the best option
  • Limiting obstacles to compliance
  • Celebrating small wins
  • Reiterating the benefits of the change

Satir Change Management Model

This model focuses on employee performance and divides the change process into 5 phases. It is related to the Kubler-Ross Change Curve, which compares the stages of adopting change to the five stages of grief. In HR outsourcing for SaaS startups and established nonprofits, this model is recommended to track your employee’s reactions and performance through the change process. The 5 phases are:

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

IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL)

ITIL is a library specifically designed to manage IT services and support. HR services for SaaS companies recommend using the ITIL change management framework to create greater alignment between IT services and business objectives during change efforts. It has several versions, with the latest version, ITIL v4, prioritizing digital transformation related to DevOps, automation, and essential modern-day IT processes.

Lewin’s Change Management Model 

The Lewin Change Model is a simple 3-step process modeled on the concept of melting and reshaping an ice cube as follows:

  • Unfreeze your processes and prepare for change by analyzing current successes and identifying areas for improvement. This will highlight a need for change and encourage employees to approach the process without bias.
  • Implement the change through regular communication, engagement, and employee training. Support and guide them through this transition phase, and remain open to feedback.
  • Refreeze, empower your organization to adapt to the new mold and solidify your changes. Continue to review and course correct where needed to ensure successful long-term adoption of the changes.  

Prosci’s ADKAR Model

The ADKAR Model focuses on the key drivers behind a change and your employees and offers five milestones you need to achieve in your change management journey. It helps leaders reiterate the goals and outcomes of a change so their employees understand its purpose and how to make the change. The five milestones are:

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

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Final Thoughts

Change is inevitable in an organization’s cycle and can have severe negative repercussions if not managed well. Creating an effective change management plan for your business will ensure greater resilience in rapid technological, economic, and societal change. These seven change management models will enable you to successfully guide your employees through complex change processes and toward a genuinely beneficial outcome.


Devika Hastak
Devika Hastak

Devika Hastak is a dynamic content writer who is passionate about using the power of the written word to promote knowledge sharing and drive business success. She is adept at crafting compelling content tailored to client objectives and successfully executing SEO strategies that significantly impact brand awareness and lead generation. When she’s not wielding her digital pen, you can find her conducting culinary experiments in the kitchen or enjoying a good laugh with her family and friends.

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