Capabilities, Change Management

5 Change Management Models You Need to Know

Change management is a dynamic and systematic approach to navigating transformations within an organisation. It encompasses the entire lifecycle of change, from the initial planning stages through implementation and evaluation. The essence of change management lies in its ability to facilitate a structured and organised transition, ensuring that the organisation can adapt effectively to new circumstances, challenges, or opportunities.

To navigate the complexities of change, various change management models serve as invaluable frameworks. These models provide a structured roadmap that guides leaders, managers, and employees through the intricate process of change. By offering a systematic approach, these models help organisations streamline their efforts, making the transition smoother and more manageable.

There are many different change management models, but here are five of the most popular and widely used ones.

Lewin’s Change Model

Lewin’s Change Model was developed by Kurt Lewin, a social psychologist, in the 1940s. The model consists of three stages: unfreeze, change, and refreeze.

Unfreeze: This stage involves preparing the organisation for change by creating a sense of urgency, communicating the vision, and overcoming resistance. The goal is to break down the existing habits, norms, and structures that may hinder the change process.

Change: This stage involves implementing the change by providing support, guidance, and feedback to the employees. The goal is to help them adopt new behaviours, skills, and attitudes that align with the desired state.

Refreeze: This stage involves stabilising the change by reinforcing the benefits, celebrating the achievements, and integrating the new ways of working into the culture. The goal is to make the change stick and prevent backsliding.

Lewin’s Change Model is a simple and practical tool for managing change in organisations. It helps to understand the human side of change and address the emotional and psychological aspects of transition. However, it also has some limitations, such as being too linear, rigid, and oversimplified. Therefore, it should be used as a general guide rather than a fixed formula.

Kotter’s 8-Step Change Model

One of the most popular and widely used frameworks for leading change is Kotter’s 8-Step Model, developed by Harvard Business School professor John Kotter. Kotter’s model outlines eight steps that leaders should follow to successfully implement change and achieve their vision.

Step 1. Establish a sense of urgency

The first step is to create a sense of urgency among your stakeholders, employees, customers, and partners. You need to convince them that the change is necessary, important, and beneficial for the organisation and its future. 

Step 2. Form a powerful coalition

The second step is to form a powerful coalition of people who will support and champion the change. You need to recruit influential and respected individuals from different levels, departments, and backgrounds who share your vision and commitment. 

Step 3. Create a vision for change

The third step is to create a clear and inspiring vision for what the change will accomplish and how it will transform the organisation. You need to articulate a compelling picture of the desired future state that motivates and guides your actions. 

Step 4. Communicate the vision

The fourth step is to communicate the vision widely and consistently throughout the organisation. You need to spread the word about the change and why it matters, using different channels, methods, and languages. 

Step 5. Empower others to act on the vision

The fifth step is to empower others to act on the vision by removing any barriers or obstacles that may prevent or discourage them from participating in the change. You need to create an environment that supports and enables innovation, experimentation, and learning. 

Step 6. Create short-term wins

The sixth step is to create short-term wins that demonstrate progress and validate your efforts. You need to set realistic and achievable milestones that show tangible results and benefits of the change. 

Step 7. Consolidate gains and produce more change

The seventh step is to consolidate gains and produce more change by building on your momentum and leveraging your successes. You need to avoid complacency or backsliding by continuously improving your processes, products, services, or culture. 

Step 8. Anchor new approaches in the organisation’s culture

The eighth and final step is to make sure that the changes become part of the organisation’s culture, values, and norms, so that they are sustained over time. You can do this by reinforcing the connection between the new behaviours and organisational success, and by developing leaders who can carry on the change.

By following these eight steps, you can lead your organisation through change effectively and successfully, and achieve your desired results.


If you are looking for a simple and effective way to manage change in your organisation, you might want to consider the ADKAR model. 

The ADKAR model stands for:

Awareness: The first step is to create awareness of the need for change and the benefits of the desired outcome.

Desire: The second step is to foster desire among the employees to participate in and support the change.

Knowledge: The third step is to provide knowledge of how to change, including the skills, tools and resources needed.

Ability: The fourth step is to develop the ability among the employees to implement the change on a day-to-day basis.

Reinforcement: The fifth and final step is to reinforce the change with recognition, rewards and feedback.

By following these five steps, you can help your employees overcome resistance, embrace change and achieve the desired results.

McKinsey 7S Model

The McKinsey 7S Model is a framework that helps managers and leaders understand the complexity and interdependence of different aspects of an organisation. It was developed by consultants from McKinsey & Company in the late 1970s and has been widely used ever since.

The model identifies seven key elements that affect the performance and alignment of an organisation:

Strategy: The plan and goals that guide the actions of the organisation.

Structure: The way the organisation is organised and divided into units, roles, and responsibilities.

Systems: The processes, procedures, and policies that govern the operations of the organisation.

Shared Values: The core values and beliefs that shape the culture and identity of the organisation.

Style: The leadership style and behaviour of the managers and leaders.

Staff: The people who work in the organisation, their skills, competencies, and motivations.

Skills: The capabilities and expertise that the organisation possesses or needs to acquire.

The model suggests that these seven elements are interrelated and influence each other. Therefore, any change in one element will have an impact on the others. To achieve effectiveness and alignment, managers and leaders need to consider all seven elements and ensure that they are consistent and coherent.

Bridges’ Transition Model

Bridges’ Transition Model is a framework that helps people understand and cope with the psychological impact of change. According to this model, change is not a single event, but a process that involves three stages: ending, neutral zone and new beginning.

Ending: Ending is the stage where people have to let go of their old ways of doing things and their old identities. This can cause feelings of loss, anger, denial or fear. To help people in this stage, it is important to acknowledge their emotions and provide clear information about what is changing and why.

Neutral zone: Neutral zone is the stage where people are in between the old and the new. This can cause feelings of confusion, anxiety, frustration or doubt. To help people in this stage, it is important to offer support, guidance and feedback and encourage them to explore new possibilities and learn new skills.

New beginning: New beginning is the stage where people embrace the new situation and adopt new behaviours and attitudes. This can cause feelings of excitement, optimism, satisfaction or relief. To help people in this stage, it is important to celebrate their achievements, reinforce their commitment and provide ongoing coaching and training.


These are some of the most common and useful change management models that you can apply to your organisation. Depending on your situation, you may find one or more of these models helpful for planning and executing your change initiatives. Remember that change is inevitable and necessary for any organisation to survive and thrive in today’s dynamic environment, so plan accordingly.

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