To Change or not to Change… The Only Constant is Change!

As business leaders and their teams continue to grapple with the challenges arising from a constant and rapidly changing environment, a number of tried and tested change management tools and frameworks are being used to identify and create processes which would support end users in managing the change and ensuring least possible collateral damage to employee engagement scores and ultimately business performance results. These are a few I have encountered:

1. Lewin 3 Stage Model of Change.

  • Developed in the 1940s, the model is built around 3 steps: unfreezing, changing and refreezing.
  • The process of change entails creating the perception that a change is needed, moving towards the new desired level of behaviour and solidifying the new behaviour as the norm.

2. Kotter

  • Developed the 8-step model more than 20 years ago.
  • The 8 steps are:
  1. Establish a sense of urgency.
  2. Create the guiding coalition.
  3. Develop a vision and strategy.
  4. Communicate the change vision.
  5. Empower employees for broad based action.
  6. Generate short term wins.
  7. Consolidate gains and produce more change.
  8. Anchor new approaches into the culture.


  • Created by the PROSCI founder Jeff Hiatt,
  • The model is a goal-oriented change management model It is an acronym that represents the five tangible outcomes that are required to achieve long lasting change in organizations:
  1. AWARENESS of the need for change
  2. DESIRE to participate and support change
  3. KNOWLEDGE on how to change
  4. ABILITY to implement required skills and behaviours
  5. REINFORCEMENT to sustain the change

4. Nudge

  • Developed by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein in 2008, based on the principle that small actions can have an influence on the way people behave.
  1. PERCEPTION NUDGES – It is important to have an understanding of employees’ perception of the desired change.
  2. MOTIVATION NUDGES – These are actions which are needed to make employees care about a change.
  3. ABILITY AND SIMPLICITY NUDGES – When change is hard and complex, and employees feel it is difficult to adopt changes then simple nudges are needed by organization.

5. Briges Transition Model

  • Developed by William Bridges and used by leaders and management consultants for more than thirty years. The three stages an individual experiences during change: Ending What Currently Is, The Neutral Zone and The New Beginning.
  1. Ending – Transition starts with an ending. This first phase of transition begins when people identify what they are losing and learn how to manage these losses. Neutral Zone
  2. The second step of transition comes after letting go: the neutral zone and may feel confusion and distress. The neutral zone is the seedbed for new beginnings.
  3. New Beginning – Beginnings involve new understandings, values and attitudes.

6. Satir Change Model

  • Developed by Virginia Satir. The model’s premise is based on the following:

Organizational performance flatlines after a period of growth. This call for change will meet resistance, with a period of chaos to follow. Over time, this integration will lead to improvement.

7. PDCA – Plan Do Check Act

  • Developed in the 1950s by William Deming as a learning or improvement process based on the scientific method of problem solving.
  1. Plan – The planning stage is for mapping out what is going to be done to solve a problem or otherwise change a process.
  2. Do – The next step is to test your proposed solution. The PDCA cycle focuses on smaller, incremental changes that help improve processes with minimal disruption.
  3. Check – Once the trial is completed, results can be reviewed, analyzed, evaluated, and revised if needed.
  4. Act – Finally, it is time to act. If all went according to plan, the tried-and-tested plan can be implemented.

8. Act Steven Covey 7 Habits

  • Developed from his book written in 1989, the 8th added in 2004, is based on the premise that the way we see the world is entirely based on our own perceptions That’s where the seven habits of highly effective people come in:
  • Habits 1, 2, and 3 are focused on self-mastery and moving from dependence to independence.
  • Habits 4, 5, and 6 are focused on developing teamwork, collaboration, and communication skills, and moving from independence to interdependence.
  • Habit 7 is focused on continuous growth and improvement and embodies all the other habits.
  1. Be Proactive – We choose the scripts by which to live our lives. It is important to use self-awareness to be proactive and take responsibility for our choices.
  2. Begin with the End in Mind – Start with a clear destination in mind. Covey says we can use our imagination to develop a vision of who we want to become.
  3. Put First Things First – We must have the discipline to prioritize our day-to-day actions based on what is most important, not what is most urgent.
  4. Think Win-Win – to establish effective interdependent relationships, we must commit to creating Win-Win situations that are mutually beneficial.
  5. Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood – Before we can offer advice, suggest solutions, or effectively interact with another person in any way, we must seek to deeply understand them and their perspective through empathic listening.
  6. Synergize – By understanding and valuing the differences in another person’s perspective, we have the opportunity to create synergy, which allows us to uncover new possibilities through openness and creativity.
  7. Sharpen the Saw – To be effective, we must devote the time to renewing ourselves physically, spiritually, mentally, and socially. Continuous renewal allows us to synergistically increase our ability to practice each habit.

Effectiveness to greatness

Whilst these tools and models provide important frameworks, processes and systems, end users have reported them achieving limited results in developing and sustaining leaders and high performing actively engaged teams. They appear to be a “means to an end”. In my work as an Engage and Grow Master Coach, our leadership, culture and engagement programmes have proven to be transformational in creating and sustaining long lasting change in behaviours and in improving relationships. The programmes are based on a robust formula which includes the exploration of the 7 neurological motivators and 6 core human needs combined with a methodology of facilitated discussion, shared experience and others teaching others. It is a seamless and synergistic programme to support the outcomes of change management tools and its results prove time and time again, that this is not an end in itself, but truly “an end to a means”.

Dr. Indira Couch

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