Community Manager, FutureX

Erin Calvert

Managing Change with the ADKAR Model

In the words of Margaret Mead “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

However, adopting change can be easier said than done. We might all know it’s needed, but even the top organisations can struggle to communicate and implement change at scale. 

However, adopting change can be easier said than done. We might all know it’s needed, but even the top organisations can struggle to communicate and implement change at scale. 

The ADKAR Model is a communication framework developed by Prosci Incorporated and it stands for Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability, Reinforcement. With this tool Prosci enables leaders to communicate complex change with a human-centred approach that is easy to understand and quick to implement. 

Let’s explore each stage in greater detail, to give you a better understanding of how to implement the model in your organisation:

Stage 1 . Awareness

It is human nature to resist change even in the most appropriate of circumstances. How you communicate change with your team, your customers, and partners should always focus around building a solid awareness of why change needs to occur - remember people care more about why, than they care about how.

Your rationale behind change should be easy to understand and you should strive for transparency. Your goal at this stage should be to turn thoughts like ‘this is a waste of time’ into ‘how will this impact me’ or ‘When will I need to be ready’.

Stage 2. Desire

Instilling a desire to embrace change within your organization starts with communicating the benefits of change to managers and key players, supplying them with the tools to have an open and honest conversation about the proposed change with each employee. 

The reason you must engage with managers in this way is to engineer a situation in which the employee feels comfortable expressing themselves to the manager they work most closely with - creating the space for psychological safety. 

The dialogue between the manager and employee should not be overly curated. Enable your employees to speak freely and encourage your managers to make them feel heard. Change is not always easy to adopt but by encouraging an open dialogue early on you can overcome most barriers.

Stage 3. Knowledge

Once awareness and desire have been appropriately instilled within your team, it’s then possible to start training your employees on how to embrace your proposed change. In some organisations training sessions and workshops are often the first step. If you neglect to properly prepare your employees to learn, you will end up fighting an uphill battle, as resistance to change will be at its highest point. 

When your team is ready to learn, it is essential to deliver your training workshops in a way that is easy to understand to avoid friction. You must have clear objectives, deliverables and you should tie all of your training back to the key benefits of this change. To clarify, our objective is X our outcomes are Y and Z and we are doing this to ultimately streamline our production process.

Stage 4. Ability

Once you have instilled an intellectual understanding of the proposed change it is now essential to bridge the gap between knowledge and ability. The knowledge-ability-gap refers to the practical understanding and application of new skills within a real working environment. This is the point where you will have to support your employees learning with hands-on coaching and continued support. This can be done in a formal training environment or in a simulated working experience, ensuring that your employees are confident and comfortable before moving on to our final stage.

Stage. 5 Reinforcement

The phrase old habits die hard is one to keep in mind when reinforcing your changes. 

The human mind is programmed for habits and instilling new habits by breaking the old will require reinforcement and positive recognition when employees adopt changes effectively. The support you give following change is essential to changes sticking within your organization so be ready to support your employees and keep in mind that change that is gradual and methodical is more easily adopted and embraced by teams worldwide.

That’s the ADKAR model explained. Have you used this model in your organization? Will you consider using it in the future? Let us know your thoughts!

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Managing Change with the ADKAR Model


In the words of Margaret Mead “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

However, adopting change can be easier said than done. We might all know it’s needed, but even the top organisations can struggle to communicate and implement change at scale. 

However, adopting change can be easier said than done. We might all know it’s needed, but even the top organisations can struggle to communicate and implement change at scale. 

The ADKAR Model is a communication framework developed by Prosci Incorporated and it stands for Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability, Reinforcement. With this tool Prosci enables leaders to communicate complex change with a human-centred approach that is easy to understand and quick to implement. 

Let’s explore each stage in greater detail, to give you a better understanding of how to implement the model in your organisation:

Stage 1 . Awareness

It is human nature to resist change even in the most appropriate of circumstances. How you communicate change with your team, your customers, and partners should always focus around building a solid awareness of why change needs to occur - remember people care more about why, than they care about how.

Your rationale behind change should be easy to understand and you should strive for transparency. Your goal at this stage should be to turn thoughts like ‘this is a waste of time’ into ‘how will this impact me’ or ‘When will I need to be ready’.

author

Erin Calvert
Community Manager, FutureX
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