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Three Types of Change Management Models

Written By: Bree Normandin
August 28, 2012
3 min read

According to an article in Forbes, Change Management Guru is the world’s oldest profession. Almost everyone has a few theories about change management.

While there are many change management models, most companies will choose at least one of the following three models to operate under:

1. Lewin’s Change Management Model
2. McKinsey 7-S Model
3. Kotter’s 8 Step Change Model

Lewin’s Change Management Model

This change management model was created in the 1950s by psychologist Kurt Lewin. Lewin noted that the majority of people tend to prefer and operate within certain zones of safety. He recognized three stages of change:

1. Unfreeze – Most people make an active effort to resist change. In order to overcome this tendency, a period of thawing or unfreezing must be initiated through motivation.

2. Transition – Once change is initiated, the company moves into a transition period, which may last for some time. Adequate leadership and reassurance is necessary for the process to be successful.

3. Refreeze – After change has been accepted and successfully implemented, the company becomes stable again, and staff refreezes as they operate under the new guidelines.

While this change management model remains widely used today, it is takes time to implement. Of course, since it is easy to use, most companies tend to prefer this model to enact major changes.

McKinsey 7-S Model

The McKinsey 7-S model offers a holistic approach to organization. This model, created by Robert Waterman, Tom Peters, Richard Pascale, and Anthony Athos during a meeting in 1978, has 7 factors that operate as collective agent of change:

1. Shared values

2. Strategy

3. Structure

4. Systems

5. Style

6. Staff

7. Skills

The McKinsey 7-S Model offers four primary benefits:

1. It offers an effective method to diagnose and understand an organization.

2. It provides guidance in organizational change.

3. It combines rational and emotional components.

4. All parts are integral and must be addressed in a unified manner.

The disadvantages of the McKinsey 7-S Model are:

– When one part changes, all parts change, because all factors are interrelated.

– Differences are ignored.

– The model is complex.

– Companies using this model have been known to have a higher incidence of failure.

Kotter’s 8 Step Change Model

This model, created by Harvard University Professor John Kotter, causes change to become a campaign. Employees buy into the change after leaders convince them of the urgent need for change to occur. There are 8 steps involved in this model:

1. Increase the urgency for change.

2. Build a team dedicated to change.

3. Create the vision for change.

4. Communicate the need for change.

5. Empower staff with the ability to change.

6. Create short term goals.

7. Stay persistent.

8. Make the change permanent.

Significant advantages to the model are:

– The process is an easy step-by-step model.

– The focus is on preparing and accepting change, not the actual change.

– Transition is easier with this model.

There are some disadvantages offered by this model:

– Steps can’t be skipped.

– The process takes a great deal of time.

It doesn’t matter if the proposed changed is a change in the process of project planning or general operations. Adjusting to change is difficult for an organization and its employees. Using almost any model is helpful, because it offers leaders a guideline to follow, along with the ability to determine expected results. This is helpful because change is difficult to implement and manage.

Find out how to speed adoption and optimize the success of your change management initiatives with Quickbase project management software.

Written By: Bree Normandin
Bree Normandin is an entrepreneur and business-to-business writer. Bree specializes in providing quality business-oriented advice designed to increase productivity and sales.

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