Change management: Models, trends, and the main KPIs. 

What is change management

Has your organisation mastered the art of change management?  Are you quick to respond to new or changing strategic direction?    

Change management is a methodical approach of preparing, implementing and monitoring organisational change. Its purpose is to facilitate smooth transitions, overcome obstacles and achieve positive results by using strategies and coordinated actions to align the organisation with new objectives or circumstances. In other words, change management is the application of a structured process to control and adapt to new situations.   

Top 5 change management models

There are many ways to approach change management, but not all are suitable for every organisation. Each method has its pros and cons, that’s why it’s important to analyse each of them before choosing the right approach. Some of the well-known change management models include:  

1. ADKAR model

ADKAR stands for Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability and Reinforcement. This model has five key components: realising the need for change, wanting to make the change, knowing what’s necessary for the change to work, being able to carry out the change, and making sure the new methods stick. It helps employees understand and align during the change process. However, this is a fixed model that might not suit organisations looking for a more detailed and deeper approach.

Figure 1 | ADKAR model

2. Kotter’s theory:

This theory involves eight steps: create a sense of urgency, build a powerful coalition, develop a vision and plan for change, communicate the vision, remove obstacles, generate short-term wins, build on wins, and embed changes into the culture. This theory is easy to understand and gets employees involved, encouraging their commitment. However, as it’s a sequential process, skipping a step can lead to significant challenges. 

Figure 2 | Kotter’s theory

3. Kübler-Ross’ change curve:

Also known as the “5 stages of grief,” outlines how people feel when they go through a major life change. This model can also describe how individuals react to significant changes at work. The five stages in this model are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. This model can be very useful for managers, as it focuses on how change affects individuals personally. However, it can sometimes make managers concentrate too much on people and not enough on what the organisation needs.

Figure 3 | Kübler-Ross’ change curve

4. Lewin’s model:

Kurt Lewin introduced a change model consisting of three stages: unfreezing, changing, and refreezing. This model offers a straightforward and effective framework for comprehending the process of change. According to Lewin, the process of change involves first establishing the awareness that change is necessary, then progressing towards the desired new behaviour, and ultimately, embedding that new behaviour as the standard practice. This model continues to be widely used and forms the foundation for numerous contemporary change models.

Figure 4 | Lewin’s model

5. McKinsey 7-S model:

This model is a tool used to evaluate a company’s internal organisational structure, encompassing seven key elements: strategy, structure, systems, staff, style, skills, and shared values. These components serve as indicators of the organisation’s readiness for change and its capacity to achieve its objectives. This approach safeguards against undertaking change initiatives prematurely, though it may also introduce or overlook aspects that may not be immediately relevant to the organisation’s specific change objectives.

Figure 5 | McKinsey 7-S model

5 steps to drive successful transformation through change management

Beyond the models presented above, there is a standard process that can be followed to drive successful transformation through Change Management, it consists of 5 main steps: 

1. Prepare for change: this step is about preparing staff and stakeholders for upcoming changes. It’s vital for the change manager to address concerns, manage resistance, and secure employee support through clear communication.

2. Create a vision and plan for change: once stakeholders approve a change, this phase involves devising a strategy to achieve the transformation. People involved set goals, assign tasks, and plan for potential problems. 

3. Implement the changes: during this phase, the change plans are implemented. Effective management and communication are crucial, and change managers must ensure that everyone is carrying out their responsibilities. 

4. Embed the changes in the company culture: after making the changes, it’s crucial to ensure they stay in place. This step sets up systems to train staff and explain new structures, workflows, and rewards.  

5. Review and analyse the results: in this last step, change managers look at what worked and what didn’t, and then make changes as needed. 


Figure 6 | 5 steps to drive successful transformation through change management 

2023 change management trends

As time goes by, change management becomes more important to master. In 2023 there’s a series of trends that will impact how companies manage and carry out company-wide changes: 

  • Greater focus on employee engagement and empowerment: companies are increasingly involving employees in decision-making, providing essential support and resources for effective change management.  
  • Simplified and tactical communications: due to nowadays’ information overload, we need simplified and focused communication to effectively reach stakeholders and end users without making things complicated. 
  • Increased incorporation of technology and digital resources: project management softwares, along with technologies like AI, machine learning, and data analytics, will become essential tools in the daily practice of change management. 
  • Focus on agile and iterative approaches: modern trends are inspiring the change from old methods to agile approaches like Scrum and Kanban, offering more flexibility in project development and adaptable change processes. 
  • Increasing importance in social responsibility and sustainability: this involves thinking about the long-term effects on the organisation and stakeholders, taking a comprehensive approach that covers environmental, social, and economic impacts.  
  • Greater emphasis on leadership in change: the demand for capable leaders who can handle change management challenges rises. This includes recognising the necessary skills, while offering support to ensure leaders can guide the change process. 
Figure 7 | 2023 change management trends

Change management KPIs

As with innovation development, change management is also an ephemeral process in which measuring results is not as intuitive as in other practices. Today we share a series of KPIs that can be used to measure the progress of change management in your organisation: 

  • Adoption rate: shows how many employees have successfully embraced a new change, like a new digital tool or process. It tells us how well the new initiatives are being integrated in a team or organisation. 
  • Time-to-adoption: the time it takes to achieve a business goal through a change transformation.  
  • Change rejection rate: number of suggested changes that are rejected or never implemented due to internal resistance, obstacles, etc.   
  • Employee satisfaction, engagement and participation: evaluates how employees view a change effort and their level of engagement or commitment to it.  
  • Training effectiveness: training metrics assess the effectiveness of training programs for changes, such as adopting new software or workflows.  
  • Communication effectiveness: analyse the effectiveness of communication efforts by measuring awareness, understanding, and feedback.  
  • Change success rate: it evaluates how well the change has been put into practice and if it has achieved the expected goals.  
  • Change cost: measures the total costs linked to executing the change.  
  • Business impact and ROI: the main goal of looking at all these KPIs is to analyse how the change affects the organisation’s performance and financial results. At the end, it is necessary to figure out if the change was worth the investment by calculating the Return on Investment.

In Consulcad, we help organisations drive successful innovation through change management. We do this by ensuring our customers’ projects are managed with the necessary PM frameworks, award winning PPM technology, and supported by a change management approach that means every team member knows how to use these tools. 

If you need assistance with Innovation and Project Management, contact us.