Learning and change management models

Change is the one constant of all living and non-living systems. Practical Change management models are useful frameworks for leaders of change.

Related Change Pages

Managing Organizational Change
Look I know it is not as easy as step 1 to 8, and yes, this is a bit of a simplification. However it is a convenient way to illustrate the route map for managing organizational change.I have found this model to be a useful checklist and planning tool to help ensure you cover the most important components of organizational change management.

Dealing With Change
The key to you dealing with change or helping others during, for example during restructuring, mergers or acquisitions, is to understand what happens to people during any change. Here we will talk about the impact of change on learning and what you can do about it.

Resistance To Change
Understanding and working with resistance to change. As human beings we tend to show a resistance to change. Not all change is the same of course, or perhaps I should more correctly say our perceptions of change vary according to how we see the world. A key aspect of that is how engaged and part of the change process we feel.


Here are introductions to a number of practical and useful change management models for would be learners and change leaders.

From the day we are born or organisations are created, there is change. We instinctively know change is inevitable, in fact we often scorn those we see as being fixed and rigid and reward those that embrace it.

And yet when it is our turn, we may have a fear of change and dealing with change is often a bit tricky. For our purposes we are assumming the process of learning and change to be intimately linked. If you were to review the global research on managerial effectiveness and employee engagement, you would be forced to come to the conclusion that, in spite of billions of dollars invested in leadership development and employee training, we are just not very good at change and learning in organisations.

For many of us, that experience tells us a fear of change means that leopards cannot change their spots.

We need different and more effective approaches that take into account peoples' reactions to change and the reality of what is happening in our organisations.

fear of change model

Find a route map for organizational change here

A change management model:Dealing With The Truths of Change

Leaders of change take note:

• Emotional reactions are at least as important as any other aspect of implementing change.

• The higher the involvement in change, the less negative the inevitable reactions.

• The intensity of emotional reaction is proportionate to the speed of change.

• The unresolved effects of change are cumulative.

• The longer a group / individual / situation has remained static, the greater the investment in the status quo. Therefore, the greater the resistance and reaction.

• Rewards and incentives can cause people to change, but they will not neutralise their feelings of loss.

Dealing with change will always be a matter of personal opinion although understanding others views can be influential in a range of decision making from deciding on what to purchase check out personal opinion.uk or understanding what the impact of the change might be for you.

Want another perspective on leading change then check out this video with Pat Zigarmi

Leadership development in leading change

See brain based learning page in order to better understand change reactions


Change Management Model: Dealing With Change Misconceptions

• Change happens quickly
• Survivors are glad they have a job
• Time takes care of everything
• Everyone who is not on board has something wrong with them
• The weak people are the ones who leave
• During change, those who appear OK really are
• People “hear” what senior management communicates
• People take senior management communication at face value
• If the communication is done “right” the first time, it is enough
• By changing the formal relationship, how we “do business” will change
• The transition behaviour of the senior management is invisible to the rest of the organisation
• Pressures that caused the change will be seen in a rational manner

We suggest these misconceptions require a thoughful approach from those leading change.

Change Management Model: What Happens when your Organisation Undergoes Change?

People frequently feel overwhelmed when there are major changes within their organisation. They are often uncertain of their future, and the future of their colleagues in the organisation. Consequently the following fear of change reactions may occur.

People generally feel smaller, ie.

Self-conscious - the only one feeling the effects

Missing - opportunities, job, status, security taken away

Alone - nobody understands, the unlucky one

Lethargic- commitment goes, energy levels drop

Limits - each person has limits to the amount of change they’re comfortable with

Enough - when those limits are reached they cry enough and resist further change

Revert - people easily revert back to known behaviours

Because we are all individuals we react differently. Some of the common reactions to change result in the following behaviours at work:


Drop in morale
Drop in work outputs and
Drop in productivity
Drop in Manager’s credibility
Drop in Commitment to the organisation and work
Drop in levels of service


Staff resisting change or conflict and making life difficult. This especially happens when people have been in the organisation for a long time.

Staff “bad mouthing” the organisation/management or behaving in negative ways because they feel angry and/or threatened and want to hit back at the organisation.

Effective leaders of change are aware of these not uncommon individual reactions to change. They plan how to deal with change by acccepting that employee anticipation and fear of change is a significant organisational risk unless people can be encouraged to learn and engage with the change and reflect upon the choices and options available to them.



“The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew” Abraham Lincoln

Love this quote, change and learning are about new thinking and new action. Effective leaders of change create the benefical conditions for employee engagement,thinking ,learning and adaptation.

The Four Step Change Model



Change Management Model:Dealing With Change

1. Denial

The first response to a significant change is often shock, - a general refusal to recognise the information. In this way we protect ourselves from being overwhelmed. Common responses include:


• Denying: “This can’t be happening.”
• Ignoring: “Wait till it blows over.”
• Minimising: “It just needs a few minor adjustments.”

It is possible to continue working in the denial phase, but sooner or later the impact hits home and a personal response is required.

Management Approach

Be up front with information to individuals and groups of staff. Let them know that change is going to occur. Acknowledge their fears of change as legitimate. Explain what to expect and suggest actions they can take to adjust to the change. Give them time to let things sink in, and then have a planning session to talk things through.

2. Resistance

In this phase things often seem to get worse. Personal distress levels rise. It is common to spend time looking for someone or something to blame, or to spend time complaining about the new set-up. Resistance is about fear of change. People may become physically ill, feel all sorts of physical, emotional, and/or mental symptoms. Some people may doubt their ability to survive the change. During this phase there is a greater focus on mourning the past, more than preparing for the future. Many people want to avoid the situation or pretend it is not happening, sometimes by moving back into denial. The self-acknowledgement of feelings being experienced, will ready people to move more quickly to the next phase.

Management Approach

Listen, acknowledge feelings, respond empathetically, encourage support. Don't try to talk people out of their feelings, or tell them to change or pull together. If you accept their response, they will continue to feel they are able to tell you how they are feeling. This will help you respond to some of their concerns. Use questions to stimulate broader thinking and perspective setting.

3. Exploration

After a period of struggle, individuals and organisations usually emerge from their negativity, breathe a sigh of relief, and shift into a more positive, hopeful, future-focused phase. People realise they are going to make it through OK. It can be as subtle as just feeling better, or as obvious as sleeping through the night for the first time since the change started. The timing is different for each person.

New directions do not emerge all at once. Rather, what emerges first is the energy to put a search into action. People begin to discover and explore new ways, to start clarifying goals, assessing resources, exploring alternatives, and experimenting with new possibilities. A motivation to ‘swing into action’ occurs without trying first to find the “right way”. It is important to resist completing the exploration phase too soon by accepting something less than what the person is capable of. This is a period of high energy, with creativity at its peak.

Management Approach

Focus on priorities and provide any needed training. Follow-up on projects underway. Set short-term goals. Conduct brainstorming, visioning and planning sessions. Foster all learning opportunities to help overcome fear of change.

4. Commitment

Finally, the individual has broken through the problems, discovered new ways of doing things and/or adapted to the new situation. The commitment phase begins with focus on a new course of action. This could be new ways of doing the job, or finding a new job. The successful commitment to a new course of action shows there has been learning growth and adaptation on the part of the individual.

Management Approach

Set long-term goals. Concentrate on teambuilding. Create a mission statement. Validate and reward those responding to the change. Look ahead.

More information on dealing with change here

Peter Senge's 4 futures model adopts a systems approach.

Dealing With Change

Essentially for effective change to occur there has to be a combination of appropriate dialogue, consultation and empowerment which leads to the right action.

It supports the view that change cannot be easily imposed upon people, and that each individual has to learn how to lead themselves and others through the change.

In that sense change management is a false concept, change is about perception and learning and responds more to influence from effective change leaders rather than control from good managers.

Check out other change management resources here


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