Change Management Model and The 7 Stages of Change

Published: 16th September 2009
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As a business consultant for many years, I'm often asked to define our change management model. Basically it narrows down to three important principles.


Principle #1: Always focus on the first 5%.


The first few steps you take are always the most important and set the tone for the rest of the decision making and change management process. How well you articulate a clear picture of the future and engage the decision-making members in a carefully moderated dialogue will greatly determine the success of the initiative. It is important to understand the importance of engaging as many people as you can right away -- the first five percent is crucial -- especially for those whose expertise can help for decision making. Despite any ideological differences, this strategy of initial engagement will always be the best approach (as opposed to shutting someone out completely).


Principle #2: Define the root problem.


Any change management model solution the group comes up with will not matter unless the problem is defined clearly. In fact, 80% of the solution is in asking the right questions to begin with. I like to emphasize a systems approach. Often, I'll hear responses like, "We need products that work better," or "we need more sales," or "the staff isn't doing all they can," without an in-depth look as to why. Most of the time the answer lies in what you are doing or not doing. All it takes is someone to hold up the mirror and clearly define themselves. One systems approach is to evaluate the organization's core values, which are essential to success. Tough choices look a whole lot easier when they are grounded in clearly understood core values.


Principle #3: Find a good guide.


An effective change management model can be achieved with an experienced guide who can set the constructive tone, maintain an open mind, identify the key issues, articulate agreements, and keep the process moving forward. A guide should be able to offer models and examples from other organizations and use these to inspire a solution. It is also important to have the courage to deal with uncertainty and adversity, so a healthy sense of humor, and strong backbone come in handy, too. It is hard to find a good experienced guide, but they are absolutely essential to a successful change management model.

Eric F. Douglas, author of the book Straight Talk is LRI's principal consultant with expertise in strategic planning, leadership development and change management models.


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