Models of change management
There are a number of recognised approaches to structuring your change-management programme. This is a summary of some of the models currently being used in public services reform.
A. Kotter model
This is used within the Every Child Matters: Change for Children programme and may be something you have already come across locally.
The model is based on research which shows that there are eight critical steps an organisation or service needs to go through to ensure that change happens and sticks.
These steps are:
- establish a sense of urgency
- examine market and competitive realities
- identify and discuss crises, potential crises or major opportunities
- form a powerful, guiding coalition
- assemble a group with enough power to lead the change effort
- encourage the group to work together as a team
- create a vision
- create a vision to help direct the change effort
- develop strategies for achieving that vision
- communicate the vision
- use every vehicle possible to communicate the new vision and strategies
- teach new behaviours by the example of the guiding coalition
- empower others to act on the vision
- get rid of obstacles to change
- change systems or structures that seriously undermine the vision
- encourage risk taking and non-traditional ideas, activities and actions
- plan and create short-term wins
- plan for visible performance improvements
- create those improvements
- recognise and reward employees involved in the improvements
- consolidate improvements and produce still more change
- use increased credibility to change systems, structures and policies that don't fit the vision
- hire, promote and develop employees who can implement the vision
- reinvigorate the process with new projects themes and change agents
- institutionalise new approaches
- articulate the connections between the new behaviours and corporate success
- develop the means to ensure leadership development and succession.
These steps are summarised in the diagram below:
Click to view a scalable vector graphic version of the Kotter model diagram.
Reading and resources
Kotter, J. (1996) Leading Change, Boston: Harvard Business School Press
Kotter, J. (1995) 'Leading change - why transformation efforts fail' in Harvard Business Review
Kotter, J. and Cohen, D (2002) The Heart of Change, Boston: Harvard Business School Press.
B. The model for improvement
This model was designed by the Improvement Foundation (formerly the National Primary Care Development Team in the NHS), which works with primary-care practices, schools and other organisations to help them deliver improvement for patients, learners and communities.
The model builds on and brings together for practitioners change-management theory and practice, especially that published in 1992 by Langley, Nolan et al. It provides a framework for developing, testing and implementing changes to the way that things are done that will lead to improvement.
It is in two parts of equal importance.
- The 'thinking part' consists of three fundamental questions that are essential for guiding improvement work. The aim is to gather ideas and evidence to support the changes.
- The 'doing part' is made up of Plan, Do, Study, Act (PDSA) cycles that will help you make rapid change.
This is summarised in the diagram below:
Click to view a scalable vector graphic version of the improvement diagram.
The Improvement Foundation recommends that the key to PDSA cycles is to try out change on a small scale to begin with and to rely on using many consecutive cycles to build up information about how effective your change is.
This makes it easier to get started, gives results rapidly and reduces the risk of something going wrong and having a major impact. When you have built up enough information to feel confident about your change, you can then implement it as part of your system.
Reading and resources
The Improvement Foundation website is aimed at those involved in improvement programmes for patients, schools and communities, but may be of interest to others involved in change programmes.
Langley, G., Nolan, K. et al. (1996) The Improvement Guide: A Practical Approach to Enhancing Organisational Performance, San-Francisco: Jossey Bass
C. School remodelling
Schools are undergoing their own programmes of change as they work to implement the terms of the National Agreement.
The process tackles very similar challenges to those facing people setting up new multi-agency service models. For example, understanding and managing change is a key part of the school remodelling process. The remodelling process recognises that it can often prove to be the most difficult part, involving a fundamental alteration in mindset.
The school remodelling programme recognises that for a change programme to be successful and sustainable, there must be:
- a compelling reason to change
- a clear vision for the future
- a coherent plan for getting there.
It sets out a five-stage remodelling process, shown in the diagram below:
Click to view a resizable diagram of the remodelling process.
The school remodelling programme also provides information on different tools that can be used at different stages of the remodelling process to help colleagues think through some of the issues in an interactive, collaborative way.
Reading and resources
Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA)
This site has more information about the TDA's work with schools, their change model and case study examples.
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Last updated on 27/04/2009