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

The ADKAR-change model - essentially - is a goal-oriented change management model that allows both individuals, on the one hand and organization's or company's (i.e. any kind of team effort), on the other, to productivelydeal with and manage changes” that he/she/they are confronted with. The model purposefully focus efforts, actions and attention to obtain specific change outcomes successfully. The roots of the ADKAR-change model originated from the corporate world, where the model - to a greater or lesser extent - is frequently applied as a monitoring mechanism to determine whether different change management “TOOLS” introduced, such as…

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

Although the ADKAR-change model, to effectively deal with change management issues, was originally develop for group and business like environments, the basic principles (i.e. the steps) of the model are equally as effective and transferable to personal, individual, family or school change efforts. Thus, every situations that needs to address and deal with change.Regardless whether it is a mind-set, attitude, processes or procedural change. The principles and steps of the ADKAR-change model can 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 image - that change always happens on a two dimensional level, the result, process & procedure dimension (vertical axis) and the climate, attitude & people's dimension (horizontal axis). Changes can only occur successfully when both of the change dimensions occur in tandem, in synchronicity and is well coordinated and integrated. When this equilibrium and balance fails to take place, any change attempts will be futile and not successful at all. The two change dimensions can briefly be explained as follows…


  • The Need to Change: The need or demand and opportunity for change is identified and described. Normally there are plenty of changes that we would like to implement immediately, but attempting to implement more that 3 to 5 priority changes at any given moment, often are quite chaotic and 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 and demarcation of the intended change project or effort. This imply the formulation of goals, identifying objectives and to determine the scope and extent of the change project. Project goals, objectives and the intended scope of change (i.e. the mission), 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 actually determine and tweak the road map of intended change).
  • Role Assignment: New processes, systems designed and developed, should be assigned to individuals, processes, procedures and activities to establish, manage, direct and control the who, what, when, where, why and how (i.e. SDS principles & ToDoList) of proposed change implementations. Which may or may not include the assistance of “outside” specialists.
  • 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 the 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 with dedication - without delay - to obtain the desired objectives and achieve the aspired goals in a cooperative and 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 efforts, including the results when efficient change does not occur (i.e. indicate - for reference purposes - possible alternative futures, as either effective/productive and/or 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.

IMPORTANT TO REALIZE… People do not change… they evolveGrow, develop and actualize potential. !

Recognizing that we are constantly working to create and evolve ourselves, is critical for successes in life and for eventual optimal self-actualization. We have to understand that when we are dealing with changeThus, when implementing the ADKAR-change model. that the human or climate dynamics of change has an additional component, which is… people don't really change, they evolve! Change projects often are initiated and managed based on the false premise that - in order for any change to be successful - someoneWhich might be a child(ren), learner(s), manager(s), employee(s), spouse(s), parent(s), …etc. has to, must or should change.

Changing people is a mistaken premises and a futile exercise, because… (i) we don’t need to change, (ii) we can’t really changeWe cannot be forced to be somebody other than we truly are. Thus, people cannot be changed, we can only change how deal with them. and (iii) we evolve into becoming a better more improved and efficient “version” of our current selves.

To evolve imply… illuminating issues, highlight problems, explore perspectives, determine context, investigate suggestions and advice, identify possibilities and seek out alternatives. It is the individual him/herself who has to decided what to adopt and what not to adopt, what to accept, reject and how to apply it in his/her personal and/or professional life. The goal should never be to change anyone. It is rather a question of guiding people towards authentic self-knowledge, which implies living in their full potential and being the best that they can be… an evolutionary processI.e. personal LDP and supportive CPD. that continues throughout our life's.

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 equally as true - because, in successful change management projects, people were also listed as one of the top overall factors for the success of change implementation. The guidance by managers (leaders), dedicated change teams and the identification of a sponsor, were also founded 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 ensures a change project's viability and success.

Companies, organizations and processes does not change… ONLY people does! Companies, organizations and processes eventually change as a result of a tipped critical mass, which was brought about by the number of evolving individuals.

For illustrative purposes, consider the following…

People first need to realize and know what they are currently doing is unproductive, inefficient and out of context. This awareness often comes when an upset personFor example… a parent, teacher, manager, supervisor informs or tell the individual s/he is doing something wrong and/or unacceptable. Simply knowing it is wrong - however - will not stop most people from doing it again. Our 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. To 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 effective (desired) behavior actually is all about.

Next, they need ample 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 opportunities to practice, time to develop and establish “improvedaction models.

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

The above highlights all five essential elements of the ADKAR-change model. Please note that each element reflects 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 accomplish.

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's approach to change tends to avoid generalized and “outcome-vague” discussions regarding the proposed 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, and 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, misunderstandings, derailments and assumptions? (see… minimum standards, vision, mission, value and legacy statements for additional 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 additional information).
  • Why do authoritative figures, prominent people and leaders need to be active and visible sponsors of change? (see… teaching by example for additional 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 additional information).
  • How can we find the critical or tipping point of change and successfully manage individuals or management's resistance to change? (see.. being a Locksmith, Facilitator or Enabler for additional information).
  • Why should facilitators be actively involved when coaching people during any process of change? (see… learning and critical outcomes for additional information).

Implementing the ADKAR-change model strategy aims to…

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  • Last modified: 27 August, 2018 @ 8:13pm
  • by Jan Viljoen