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Change Management Models provide a framework to guide people through the process

Change Management Models are no different than any other models – business or otherwise.

They are a framework for people to follow throughout the change process. They are not an end in itself – they are there for the most important component in the change process...people.

Change, as a management tool, is one of the most difficult processes to control and implement. Invariably people are wary of change as it takes them outside of their ‘comfort zone’. But change is necessary for the organisation, and people, to improve and raise their game.

This website is primarily aimed at helping you implement (in a practical way) the various aspects of performance improvement – of which change management is just one – and, therefore, I have not really concentrated on the theoretical background of each improvement tool. However, as there has been so much academic research carried out in the area of change management then I feel that some comment must be made.

The overriding factor of all the research agrees that focusing on the people who are involved in the change process is the most important issue.  

Types of Change Management Models

Change Management Models

George Box’s well documented statement ‘’essentially, all models are wrong but some are useful’’ has been proven throughout the extensive research and development of Change Management Models over a number of years.

There are many such models, some developed through empirical research and some by ‘accident’ as a part of the natural development of the organisation. Management Consultants, Psychologists and Social Scientists continue to research and come up with different theories. 

Everyone is different and with some more complex than others, means that how we cope with change spans a very diverse range of skills, abilities and attributes. This alone sets the scene for never ending change management research.

Below are three brief explanations of the more popular Change Management Models. You can get more information on these by clicking on the links at the bottom of the page:  

1.    John Kotter’s Eight Steps to Change 

This model was created by Harvard Professor John Kotter. 

It is essentially an eight step process starting with the ‘leaders’ convincing the people involved that change is essential to success and survival. 

The eight steps are shown below:

  • Increase the urgency for change
  • Build an implementation team (coalition)
  • Create a vision for change
  • Communicate the vision
  • Remove obstacles
  • Generate short term wins
  • Build on the change
  • Anchor the changes in the culture

2.   Kurt Lewin’s Freeze Phases

Developed by Kurt Lewin in the early 20th Century, this model is based on the theory that change moves forward through three stages:

  • Unfreeze – creating the right environment for the change
  • Transition – supporting the process to achieve the required state of change
  • Refreeze – to consolidate the required change

As with other Change Management Models the emphasis is on the people who are involved in the process.

A key factor of the Freeze model is that change is a journey where, sometimes, the steps that we take are both forward and back!!!  

Due to this, skilful and sensitive leadership is required that focuses on the supporting and guiding the people.

3.    ADKAR Model

The ADKAR model was developed via research into over 900 companies. It is based on success only when every person involved in the change process has achieved the transition to the new ‘changed’ state, i.e. it focuses specifically on each individual and not the group as a whole.

Jeff Hiatt, the CEO of Prosci Change Management, developed the model and first published it in 1998.

  • A – Awareness – people need to be aware of the need for change
  • D – Desire – people need to have the desire to change
  • K – Knowledge – people need to be given the knowledge of how to change
  • A – Ability – people need to have the ability to change
  • R – Reinforcement – this stage sustains the changes made

There are many other Change Management Models that you can consider:

  • The Change Curve
  • The 7 S Model
  • The EASIER Approach
  • RISE Personal Change Model
  • Bridger’s Transition Model

For over twenty five years I have been involved in implementing change in numerous different types of organizations. It is not my intention to put forward a new ‘all singing all dancing’ theory of change management.

But what I can comment on is what has worked for me over the last twenty five years.

In all honesty I tend to use a combination of all three models.

John Kotter’s Eight Steps gives a more detailed framework to follow but the other two really focus on the people aspect of change.

I find that this approach really works and it is the best of both worlds – and it has worked for me for over twenty five years.

Change Management Models Resources

Change Management Models

Change Management Principles:

Change Management Theories

Change theories come from many different business sectors.

Define Change Management

Change Management applies to so many areas - so how do you actually define it?

What Is Change Management ?

Different functions in the business have different expectations from Change Management.


Focuses on helping people through the change process.

Kurt Lewin

A psychologist who developed the three stage approach to change management that's as relevant today as it was sixty years ago.

John Kotter

Developed the 8 stage change model of the change process.

Change Curve

This model focuses on the stages that people go through when faced with major change.

Application of Change Management:

Change Management Process

The process needs a strong model to succeed. 

Change Management Strategies

Change Management Strategies have to be flexible enough to cope with the many different types of change.

Managing Change Management

This needs a very structured and sensitive approach. 

Change Management Template

This covers all of the sections (in detail) of what you need to put in your written plan.

Change Management Implementation Tools:

Change Management Tools

There are a myriad of tools to help you successfully implement change in your organisation.

Change Management Plan

This checklist covers everything for your plan.

Change Management Skills

Whether it is a 'micro' or major change you are seeking to make , these are the personal skills that you need.

Change Management Best Practices

There is no standard 'change' framework that applies to every organisation - but there is best ptactice that can be adapted to many different situations.

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