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The most important question to ask on the job is not "What am I getting?" The most important question to ask is "What am I becoming?" ~ Jim Rohn

ADKAR-change model

You must be on top of change… or change will be on top of you! ~ Mark Victor Hansen.

The ADKAR-change model - in essence - is a goal-oriented change management model that allows both individuals and organization's or company's (i.e. any kind of team efforts) to productivelymanage change” and purposefully focus his/her/their efforts to obtain specific change outcomes successfully. The original roots of the ADKAR-change model originated in the corporate world, where the model is normally applied as a means to determine whether different change management “TOOLS” introduced, such as…

…do have the desired effect and “produce” the anticipated results.

Although the ADKAR-change model to deal with change management issues, was originally develop for group and business like environments, the basic principles (i.e. the different steps) of the model are equally as effective and transferable to personal, individual, family or school change efforts. Thus, every situations that needs to change, regardless whether it is mind-sets or processes or procedural changes. The principles of the ADKAR-change model graphically be illustrated as follows…

The ADKAR-change model is supported by the DACIP decision making process and source extensively from PVC-guidelines.

It is very important to realize - as indicated in the above image, by the arrow - that change always happens on a two dimensional level, the process & procedure dimension (vertical axis) and the climate & people's dimension (horizontal axis). Successful changes can only happen successfully when both of the change dimensions occur in tandem, in synchronicity and well coordinated. When this equilibrium fails to take place, all change attempts won't be successful at all. The two change dimensions can briefly be indicated and described as follows…

    • Need to Change: The need or demand and opportunity for change is identified. Normally there are plenty of changes that we would like to implement immediately, but attempting to implement more that 3 - 5 priority changes at any given moment, could prove to be quite disastrous. When too many change projects are managed at once, it will most often result in over stressed resources, overlapping of activities, derailing of efforts, confusion and the loss of focus. Thus, the need to change is priority driven in terms of the minimum standards of change.
    • Concept: This is the defining & demarcation of the intended change project or effort. This imply the formulation of goals, identifying objectives and to determine the scope of the change project. Project goals, objectives and the intended scope of change, should ideally be sourcing from already declared vision, mission, value and legacy statements.
    • Design: Designing the change project - using the project demarcation as guiding parameter - requires that solutions, new processes, different procedures, systems, networks and/or organizational structures should be identified and purposefully structured to achieve specific objectives and eventually achieve the stated project goals (i.e. design = road map of change).
    • Role Assignment: New processes, systems designed and developed, should be assigned to people, processes, procedures and activities to establish, direct and control the who, what, when, where, why and how (i.e. SDS principles & ToDoList) of proposed change implementations.
    • Implementation: Designed and assigned solutions are implemented to initiate and sustain a monitoring, evaluations and correction cycle (if and when necessary) to encourage and promote SMART actions and to establish SMARTER habits.
    • Preservation: Collect and analyze change project data for some time after change project completion, to firmly establish, maintain and sustain gains of changes introduced within the organization, company, family or in one's personal life.
    • Awareness of the need to change is key, because without such an awareness (i.e. a change common strata) any well meaning, honest intended and much needed change project is surely destined for eventual failure.
    • Desire to participate in and enthusiastically support the proposed change strategy and to work dedicatedly without delay to obtain the desired objectives and achieve the aspired goals in a co-creative manner.
    • Knowledge of how to change things, a vision of what the change “looks” like and possible outcomes or alternatives of the change project and effort, including the results when efficient change does not occur (i.e. indicate - for reference - possible alternative futures, as effective/productive and ineffective/unproductive).
    • Ability and willingness to master the necessary skills needed to implement the change diligently, on a daily basis and step-by-step.
    • Reinforcement to continue with and sustain established changed activities and procedures.

…of the two change dimensions, the people dimension is the most complicated to deal with and to keep on track. Research shows that problems experienced with the people dimension of change, is often the most commonly cited reason for most change project failures. However - the opposite is also true - because in successful change management projects, people was also listed as one of the top overall factors for the success of change project implementation and guidance by managers (leaders), change teams and the identification of a sponsor, were also regarded to be other important contributing factors for the successful implementation of change. Thus, although processes and procedures are a vital and an important part for the successful implementation of a change management project, it is the vitality and driving energies generated by the people dimension, that eventually ensure any change project's viability and success.

Companies, organizations and processes doesn't change, ONLY people does! Companies, organizations and processes eventually change as a result of a tipped critical mass, which was brought about by a number of changing individuals.

For illustrative purposes, take the following into consideration…

People first need to realize and know what they are doing is wrong, unacceptable or undesirable. This awareness often comes when an upset person (e.g. parent, teacher, manager supervisor) tells the individual s/he is doing something wrong. Simply knowing it is wrong - however - will not stop most people from doing it again. Their natural inclination - to a greater or lesser extent - is to consistently test boundaries and push limits. Under these circumstances, consequences - either positive or negative - are usually required. These consequences impact on and influence the individual's desire to change… or not to change. But, the the process of change cannot stop there. Providing proper motivation to change, an individual needs a responsible role model to see and experience what proper (i.e. acceptable) behavior actually “looks like” (i.e. the teaching/leading by example principle). People need examples so they can understand and obtain knowledge of what the correct (desired) behavior actually is all about.

Next, they need practice in order to obtain the fourth outcome of the ADKAR-change model… ability. Very few individuals can change immediately; it is an ongoing process requiring them to continuously develop their skills, abilities and competencies… they need practice time to develop “newaction models.

Finally, individuals need frequent reinforcement to keep the “good” behavior going (i.e. consequence). This could be in the form of supportive feedback’s, encouragements or any other kind of reward.

The above illustration highlights all five essential elements of the ADKAR-change model. Please note that each element represents a particular result or outcome that weAs change facilitators, agents, managers, coaches, parents, teachers, …etc. are trying to achieve. Also keep in mind that these results happens consecutively and - therefore - should be initiated and completed in the chronological order, of…

  1. Awareness for the need for change.
  2. Desire to make the change happen.
  3. Knowledge about the how/what/when of change.
  4. Seek opportunities and master the competency to implement new skills and behaviors.
  5. Reinforcement to either retain or sustain the change once it has been made.

Common sense isn't it? What can be reinforced if there is no ability - or worse - not even the presence of an awareness to change?

The real significance and value of the ADKAR-change model is that it establishes focus on the different aspects, that often are the root causes of failure to the successful implementation of change. When we approach change, using this model - regardless whether it is in a personal, family, group, team or business like context - we can immediately identify why the change process is presently derailing, where it is failing or which elements are being overlooked or neglected.

The ADKAR-change model approach to change tends to avoid generalized and “outcomes vague” discussions regarding the change process, which - in the end - rarely produce any actionable steps. This ADKAR-change model's results-oriented approach, helps to focus attention and people's energies on those areas that will produce the highest probability for success, deals with and answer questions such as…

  • Why is healthy communication so important during the change process and which areas is most susceptible to communication failures, derailments and assumptions? (see… minimum standards, vision, mission, value and legacy statements for more information).
  • Why do people persistently resist change, even when they - as a matter of fact - realize that change is either essential or unavoidable? (see… the VIDSHE-model for more information).
  • Why do authoritative figures, prominent people and leaders need to be active and visible sponsors of change? (see… teaching by example for more information).
  • Why do individuals become stressed and easily distracted from their day to day change efforts? (see… mind defenses, psyche wounds and future shock for more information).
  • How can we find the critical or tipping point of change and successfully manage people or management's resistance to change? (see.. being a Locksmith, Facilitator or Enabler for more information).
  • Why should facilitators be actively involved when coaching people during any process of change? (see… learning and critical outcomes for more information).

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