The ADKAR® model of change is a practical answer to effective change management for individuals and organisations. Built on practical research conducted in more than 900 organisations the model is simple to learn, makes sense, and focuses on the actions and outcomes required for change.
What really gives this model the edge is its emphasis on individual change.
While many change management projects focus on the steps necessary for organisational change, ADKAR® emphasises that successful organisational change occurs only when each person is able to transition successfully.
It makes sense then that this model, developed by Jeff Hiatt, CEO of Prosci® Change Management (www.prosci.com), and first published in 2003, focuses on 5 actions and outcomes necessary for successful individual change, and therefore successful organisational change.
The ADKAR® model of change management
Hiatt refers to each of these five actions as building blocks for successful individual change, and therefore successful organisational change. As the graphic indicates the process is sequential. In other words each step must be completed before moving on to the next. Hiatt emphasises that it is not possible to achieve success in one area unless the previous action has been addressed.
Understanding why change is necessary is the first key aspect of successful change. This step explains the reasoning and thought that underlies a required change. Planned communication is essential. When this step is successfully completed the individual (employee) will fully understand why change is necessary.
In this step the individual is able to reach a point where they make a personal decision to support the change and participate in the change. Naturally a desire to support and be part of the change can only happen after full awareness of the need for change is established. Building desire is partly achieved by addressing incentives for the individual and creating a desire to be a part of the change.
The third building block of the model, providing knowledge about the change, can be achieved through normal training and education methods. Other methods of transferring knowledge, such as coaching, forums and mentoring, are equally useful, so don't limit this process to formal training. Two types of knowledge need to be addressed: knowledge on how to change (what to do during the transition) and knowledge on how to perform once the change is implemented.
In this model Ability is understood to be the difference between theory and practice. Once knowledge on how to change is in place (theory) the practice, or actual performance of the individual, needs to be supported. This can take some time and can be achieved through practice, coaching and feedback.
This final stage of the model is an essential component in which efforts to sustain the change are emphasized. Ensuring that changes stay in place and that individuals do not revert to old ways can be achieved through positive feedback, rewards, recognition, measuring performance and taking corrective actions.
This is often the part of change management that is most difficult as organisations are already moving towards the next change.
In fact, the
Kurt Lewin change management model
receives the most criticism in this area. However, for successful
change, reinforcement is essential to ensure that changes are maintained
and new outcomes can be measured.
The primary reason I favour this model of change management is it's focus on individual change and ensuring each person makes the transition. This is more than a 'soft' approach - it has practical applications.
Most importantly, when you're focusing on the individual you're able to measure where they are in the change process and what is required to assist them. You are not simply relying on running a certain number of training programmes, or communicating a particular message, and expecting everyone to follow.
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