The Six Best Change Management Models

Source: Freepik


You want to lead change. You want to find the best change management methodology. But with all those ‘ologies’, it’s hard to know-how!

Other websites just stick to the status quo.

Instead, we provide you with the six best change management models. To help you be the best change practitioner you can be, and so you can do a great job implementing significant changes in your change program, right from the start.

Source: Freepik

Did you know that one of the top reasons change initiatives fail is because the change manager must have not only the knowledge but the ability to implement these change models? And that’s where our secret comes in!

Not to worry, Delta Mash is here to not only help you find the right change management model but also provide tips on the successful implementation of the different change management models.

Step outside of the status quo and improve your current business processes.

This way, you can choose the change management models right for you.

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We offer practical steps and tools to help you achieve goal-based change, rather than just a loose framework where you fill in the blanks yourself.

All change management models have their pros and cons, and we break them down for you.

Don’t just go with popular change management models, let us show you the real value of the change management models!

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Key Points:

  1. ADKAR is the ultimate ‘people-centered’ system. Its bottom-up system focuses on individuals and how they can best adapt to change.
  2. Kotter’s 8-step theory works to break down resistance, encouraging employees to accept change.
  3. McKinsey’s 7s Model is useful to highlight which areas of the organisation need to change.
  4. McKinsey’s Four Building Block of Change provides a clear path to influence mindset and behaviour.
  5. Bridges methodology is a popular way for organisations to break the change down into manageable chunks, following three clear steps.
  6. The Kubler-Ross model is not just useful to document grief. It’s a reliable change management strategy focusing on how individuals process change.
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The Prosci ADKAR Model

The ADKAR change model is the ultimate ‘people-centred’ system.

To achieve change, it’s always essential to make sure you approach your change project with the right model.

The ADKAR change model has a bottom-up system that focuses on individuals and how they best adapt to change.

The ADKAR process is an acronym for five stages and they are the same as the five stages of grief on the first appearance. However, they are also the five building blocks of the ADKAR change management process, which ultimately is a great model to achieve effective change.

The change management acronym ADKAR stands for these five stages:

  1. Awareness (of need for change)
  2. Desire (to take part in and support change)
  3. Knowledge (of how to change)
  4. Ability (to put change into action)
  5. Reinforcement (to make change last)

Pros and Cons of the ADKAR System

Pro: Practical, goal-based approach sets out a clear path to change, bringing stakeholders and customers with you. Flexibility to choose your own goals and procedures.

Con: Ready-made approach is not always right for more challenging change management. A customised approach is better for large, complex organisations and complex change initiatives. Implementing a successful change management process can be difficult with ADKAR for those larger and complex organisations.

With the ultimate goal of implementing change, the 5 stages of the ADKAR process is a great choice for implementing organizational change. If you have visited project management trainers, you will notice that the Prosci ADKAR Model is taught for most change managers. There is a good reason for this, ADKAR is effective to institute change. And it is best at making change happen on a personal level.

Using the ADKAR Model for Change Management

The ADKAR model is more recent and it has been proven to assist employees in learning to accept individual change, ultimately leading to successful change for the organisation.

It has been adopted by thousands of change leaders across the world.

Its focus on personal change and individual change means that the ADKAR Change Model is a unique process, especially when compared to the Prosci 3-Phase Process, which is a great framework for organizational change and facilitate change in more people-focused organisations.

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Kotter 8 Step Change Model

What is Kotter’s 8 Step Change Process for Leading Change?

Like the ADKAR model, Kotter’s 8 Step change management model also centres on people, yet its top-down approach can be prescriptive. That said, this approach comes with many success stories!

The creator of this model, Dr Kotter of the Harvard Business School, conducted an experiment that observed multiple organizations before, during and after transforming their strategies and built his strategy on organizational change based on these observations.

“A great change leader creates other change leaders.” — Dr. John Kotter, Harvard Business School

How does the Kotter Model for Change Management Work?

The Kotter Model in leading change works to break down resistance, encouraging employees to accept change.

For this reason, gathering the team member perspective and employee feedback is key to the Kotter change management model. When leading change with Kotter’s 8 step model, these are the steps to follow:

  1. Create a real sense of urgency.
  2. Build a powerful coalition.
  3. Create a strategic vision.
  4. Get everyone to buy in.
  5. Remove barriers to action.
  6. Generate short term wins.
  7. Maintain acceleration.
  8. Implement change.

Pros and Cons of the Kotter Model

Pro: Useful to motivate and boost teams into action, creating drive, momentum and appetite for change.

Con: Light on interaction, feedback and collaboration. Can disempower and sideline people if not used correctly. Short term wins may be at the expense of corporate culture and damage change efforts.

Implementing Change Powerfully and Successfully Using Kotter’s 8 Change Management Model

When implementing Kotter’s 8 Step Model for organizational change, it’s essential to cover all aspects of the entire process.

If you just focus on short term wins, you won’t succeed at the level of organisational change you are looking for, and you may find that when you are implementing change, your transformation efforts fail. You need to also consider aspects such as:

  • The ability to create urgency
  • Making sure you can generate short term gains
  • Creating a sensible vision for your change management

Change management guru John Kotter focuses on getting your change leaders on board with your organisational change so that you can achieve short term gains when instigating change.

Having a strategic vision for the entire process of change, as well and providing dynamic and convincing reasons for change to occur is essential in getting your change leaders onboard and has eight steps in implementing change.

Kotter’s 8 Step model was demonstrated in his article Leading change (1995) published in the Harvard Business Review. Click here for the complete article.

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McKinsey 7S Model

What is the McKinsey 7S Model?

The McKinsey 7S Framework was produced in 1980 by business consultants Robert H. Waterman Jr and Tom Peters. This model is based on the notion that for organizations to run well these seven elements need to be aligned or mutually complementing each other.

How does the McKinsey 7S Model Work?

It is most often used as an organizational analysis tool to assess and monitor a company’s internal situation.

In this 1970s system, organisations tackle change via seven fundamental routes. There are seven key elements of this change management style.

Pros and Cons of the McKinsey 7S Model

Pro: Useful for creating an organisational overview, highlighting areas that need to change.

Con: Larger organisations need time, patience and resources at their disposal to implement this major task.

They are made up of both hard and soft elements, which we will go into below. Here are the seven key elements of the Mckinsey 7s Model.

  1. Strategy
  2. Structure
  3. Systems
  4. Shared values
  5. Style
  6. Staff
  7. Skills

Points 1–3 are hard elements, easier to identify and manage. Points 4–7 are softer, less definable areas that are more difficult to change.

These are four out of the seven internal elements that are present in the corporate culture and organization in a more abstract way; Style, Shared Values, Skills and Staff.

The other elements are the hard elements; Strategy, Structure and Systems.

The Mckinsey 7s model is most effective at finding problems in performance and improving organizational effectiveness.

The McKinsey 7S model is dynamic and should change every time as you look for ways to be more efficient and grow your business.

Make sure to regularly return to the model to see what elements you need to adjust as necessary.

As a result of going through the McKinsey 7s Model, you may find that as your business has grown it could need to shift and change to other areas to seek a competitive advantage.

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McKinsey’s Four Building Blocks of Change

What is the McKinsey Four Building Blocks of Change Model?

The McKinsey four building blocks of change are derived from the “influence model” introduced over a decade ago in the McKinsey Quarterly article, “The psychology of change management.”

The four building blocks focus on key actions to shift mindsets and behaviour to support organizational transformation and were based on McKinsey’s collective practical experience and academic research.

How do the Four Building Blocks of Change Work?

McKinsey put successful transformations under the microscope and found that they were eight times more likely to use all four building blocks. The building blocks to shift mindset and behaviour are:

  1. Role modelling “I see my leaders, colleagues, and staff behaving differently.”
  2. Fostering understanding and conviction “I understand what is being asked of me, and it makes sense.”
  3. Reinforcing with formal mechanisms “I see that our structures, processes, and systems support the changes I am being asked to make.”
  4. Developing talent and skills “I have the skills and opportunities to behave in a new way.”

The Pros and Cons of McKinsey’s Four Building Blocks of Change

Pro: Useful for pursuing a mindset and behaviour shift change journey.

Con: While the four building blocks sound like no-brainers, care must be taken to ensure they are all executed and not missed amongst a whirlpool of activity. Adequate feedback loops must be put in place to ensure the pulse of the organisation is frequently checked.

Photo by Intricate Explorer on Unsplash

The Change Curve — Kübler-Ross

What is the Kübler-Ross change Curve?

The Kübler-Ross model is not just used to document grief. It’s a reliable change management strategy based on how individuals process change.

The Change Curve is a popular and powerful model that helps understand the phases of personal transformation and organisational change.

This model describes that personal transition and encourages employees to experience their transitions. are the unique parts of the Kübler-Ross change model.

You can predict how people should change, give them the tools to cope with it and make sure they have the support and guidance they need.

Understanding the different personalities allows leaders to plan the way different personality kinds will respond to situations or change and then deploy the appropriate leadership or coaching style to smooth the transition of resistance to resilience.

It works equally well with individuals, teams and organisations and with individuals to work with people and organisations.

The five stages of grief, as well as Kübler-Ross’ five steps, are:

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

The Pros and Cons of the Kübler-Ross Change Model

Pro: Strong understanding of emotional reactions to change. Lets you zoom in on problem areas in advance.

Con: Human reactions don’t always follow this neat sequence. You also have to find your own way of dealing with the problems this strategy highlights.

How to effectively implement the Kübler-Ross Change Curve

One of the particular challenges of the Kübler-Ross change curve is the Anger stage. This stage of the Kübler-Ross change Curve can be a particularly stressful and unpleasant stage for team members in the change curve who especially take some time to adjust to change.

Effective implementation requires a tailored approach for individuals who need further assistance to come with the change.

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Bridges Transition Model

What is the Bridges Transition Model?

This Bridges Transition Model is all about helping individuals negotiate change. It details the personal changes necessary for organisational change, in three stages.

The Pros and Cons of the Bridges Transition Model

Pro: Personal approach to helping everyone adapt to change. Encourages team bonding and staff loyalty.

Con: More of a guideline or map for a longer change journey. Tends to lack clear pointers and actionable steps.

The Three Stages

  1. Ending, losing and letting go (of the old way)
  2. Neutral zone (where employees adapt to changes)
  3. New beginnings (acceptance of new ways)

The Bridges transition model is a three-stage model of an individual psychological transition.

The model contains similarities to The Change Curve by Elisabeth Kubler Ross.

The first stage of this model is the ending which relates to the loss.

The middle stage is the neutral zone where morality remains low and the transition from old to a new manner of doing begins.

The final stage will see individuals start constructing new identities with new aims and values.

The trick to using the Bridges Transition Model for Organisational Change

Overall the Bridges Transition Model can be a wonderful tool in the hands of an appropriate change leader. It permits a truly supportive modality in adjusting behaviour through a psychological process that is structured and effective for change management.

The focus on learning to accept people’s resistance, and coming to gently encourage people and provide them with a vision of a positive future is a key benefit of the William Bridges Model.

This transition model overall is an approach focused on managing transitions.

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Other Change Management Models

Sure, there are other change management models and they have their value. But this article was about cutting out the noise so that you can learn just a handful of new models to implement in your organizational change management practice.

And of course with learning new models, to become the best change practitioner you can requires adequate training on the processes and activities to support these models, and it doesn’t happen overnight.

Whether you are coming from a parallel background like project management, a completely different previous career, or are a change manager looking to upskill, it’s no easy task to find the kind of practical training that helps you effectively manage change.

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Effective change management is all about being able to:

  • Choose the correct change management models for your toolkit
  • Implement the change
  • Sustain the change
  • Support the change

The foundation of all of these change management models is understanding how individuals and groups are impacted by the change.

Do you know how to quickly and easily understand how people are impacted by the change?

Do you know where to start to find the answer to that question? No..?

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That’s okay. We do.

And Delta Mash is here to provide you with an essential short training course to help you guide employees to handle change in a way that is practical, goes beyond ‘basic principles’ of change, and that teaches you to lead effective change every time.

Our in-depth approach will provide the core elements that will set you up to effectively implement any of these models — change management will feel like a breeze.

We give you the key to successful change management — every time.

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Ready to fast-track your change career?

This course is perfect for you if you are:

  • Seeking a career change into change management
  • Completely lost on your change management journey — feeling at a dead end
  • Ready to take the next step to consolidate your skills in your growing change career
  • Went to learn career-changing change management skills

If you’re seeking continuous improvement, this is the way.

Get access to this one essential secret to becoming a change leader of confidence and influence.

Join our self-paced Change Impact Assessment short course today!

Click here to learn more!

Masterclass: Change Impact Assessment — Short Course — Delta Mash
Source: Delta Mash

Still Sound a Bit Daunting?

Delta Mash can help you navigate through change management coaching. Ask us how by emailing or checking out our personalised 1-to-1 coaching, to get you on the right track so you can step into or speed up your change management career now!

Jane Waterson
Delta Mash
Follow me on LinkedIn for regular change management updates

Delta Mash is your go-to for on-demand change management knowledge and support with online courses and change management coaching. We’re setting you up so that you can change the future.

Jane is experiencing the world through a people lens. A change management professional, coach and dog lover based in Sydney, Australia.




Experiencing the world through a people-lens. Professional Change Management Practitioner and dog lover based in Sydney, Australia.

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Jane Waterson

Jane Waterson

Experiencing the world through a people-lens. Professional Change Management Practitioner and dog lover based in Sydney, Australia.

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