Visual models for organizational change

Change is a necessary step in a world where success is defined by one’s ability to survive. These models can help you on your journey.
Wednesday, May 11, 2022

The future belongs to those with adaptability in their DNA and speed as their expectation. This is a requisite to overcome challenges and ensure new methods of doing things find space in our collective consciousness. Whatever your starting point, we commit to identifying needs and surfacing solutions to pivot, embrace and enable change – with the best interest of the business, people, and systems at the heart of every decision.


1. The ADKAR model
The Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability, and Reinforcement (ADKAR) model asserts that change acceptance starts with awareness. In other words, you must first be aware of a change needed, before your curiosity is piqued and you’re inspired to learn more and gain the ability to apply your learnings gleaned, which is reinforced to make the learning more permanent.


2. The McKinsey 7-S model
The McKinsey 7-S model is a framework for understanding the factors that influence an organization. These are Strategy, Structure, Systems, Shared Values, Style, Skills, and Staff. In this model, all elements of the company must work together to cultivate radical alignment and succeed.


3. Kotter’s change management theory
Kotter’s change management theory concludes that it takes time for an organization to realize the need for change before they can move forward with planning and implementation. From there, it takes time to plan out the steps necessary to put strategy into action. This model ensures repeated attention towards what is happening, with a sense of urgency during the entire process.


4. The Lewin change management model
The Lewin change management model believes there are three stages to change: unfreezing, changing, and refreezing. To be successful, change must go through these three stages, which will be affected by the level of resistance to change.


All these models are important to understanding how to effectively manage and navigate change, and with consistent application, organizations are poised to pave the way in how change is delivered today. Try each on for size and determine which is most appropriate for your situation.

Parker Lee

Parker Lee is the managing partner of Territory, a design consultancy, who has developed and led teams in transformation, design thinking, and business development for decades. Co-author of The Art of Opportunity, he has created and facilitated dozens of design and visual thinking engagements.

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