Change Management Models – Do They Help and If So How?

The people aspects of change is the overwhelming issue

Change management models have clearly evolved from the days of Kurt Lewin’s freeze phases model which was very much a product and reflection of the industrial age – with the emphasis on command control imposed from the top down.

Similarly, even Michael Hammer [„Re-engineering the Corporation“] – the arch proponent of the process led approach to change and business improvement – revised his opinion: “I don’t regret saying anything; it’s more what I left out. In particular, the human side is much harder than the technology side and harder than the process side. It’s the overwhelming issue.”

Psychological impacts of change and managing the transitions

Since Kubler Ross, the concept of an emotional journey through a recognisable path of reactions and responses has been recognised and factored in to all modern models of change management. William Bridges has taken this a stage further with his model that focuses on transitions and the psychological impacts of organisational change and that speaks of developing a culture that embraces change.

Clearly people react at different paces and levels to change and whatever change model is adopted, this needs to be given serious attention.

Many of the more recent change management models place great emphasis on the need for determining the need for change, articulating the desired future and the use of some form of transitional model. In my opinion it is William Bridges – who recognises that it is people who have to carry out change and with his clear emphasis and understanding of what change does to employees [and what they do to the organisation] – who really was the first “management guru” to provide any real sense of the emotional impact of change and what can be done to keep it from disrupting the entire organization.

Any change management models theories or concepts that directly address the people issues, has particular resonance and practical relevance in the current climate and adds values to our understanding of strategies for managing change.

The programme management based model

In my view the programme management based model addresses all of these critical areas by focusing on a holistic approach that takes full account of the people issues.

So, the programme processes of establishing a blueprint of the changed organisation, with clearly defined benefits of change and thorough attention to the stakeholder mapping and analysis will facilitate the creation of detailed communication strategy that addresses key stakeholder concerns.

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