The ADKAR change model was first published by Prosci in 1998. Prosci is the recognized leader in change management research and business process design, and is the world’s largest provider of reengineering and change management toolkits. and benchmarking information.
Prosci’s own research shows that problems with the human dimension of change is the most cited reason for project failures.
And in terms of change management, study after study shows that 70% of all business initiatives where there is a significant element of change [which is virtually all of them!] they do not realize the expected benefits.
ADKAR Model Summary
It is based on 2 basic ideas:
(1) It is people who change, not organizations.
(2) Successful change occurs when individual change coincides with the stages of organizational change.
For successful change to occur on an individual level, people must go through each of these stages:
– Awareness of the need for change
– Yearned for to make change happen
– Knowledge about how to change
– Capacity to implement new skills and behaviors
– Reinforcement retain change once made
For organizational change to be successful, these individual changes must progress at or close to the same rate of progress through the business dimension of the change.
Prosci defines the commercial dimension of the change as the inclusion of these typical elements of the project:
– The business need or opportunity is identified
– The project is defined (scope and objectives)
– The business solution is designed (new processes, systems and organizational structure)
– New processes and systems are developed.
– The solution is implemented in the organization.
Evaluation of the AKBAR model
There are 2 quite different schools of thought that have shaped the practice of change management.
(1) The engineer’s approach to business improvement with a focus on the business process.
(2) The psychologist’s approach to understanding human responses to change by focusing on people.
The single most important reason for the surprisingly high failure rate of 70% of ALL business change initiatives has been the overemphasis on process rather than people: the total lack of consideration of the impact of change on those who are involved. are more affected by it.
Closely related to that reason is the lack of a process to directly address the human aspects of change.
In my opinion, their ADKAR model reflects Prosci’s BPR background and engineers’ approach to business improvement, this is quite evident in the language and tone of their description of the model and with their emphasis only on management and process.
The clear strength of the model is that it provides a useful transition phase management checklist.
The weaknesses, in my opinion, are the following, the ADKAR model:
(1) Does not distinguish between “incremental change” and “step change”
If the change involves any of the following factors, it should definitely be handled as a “gradual change” and treated as a specific initiative that is outside of normal business. The factors are: complexity, size, scope, and priority.
The ADKAR model is, in my opinion, suitable for incremental change and is an effective management checklist. But it loses too much to be fully effective in a gradual change initiative.
(2) Does not distinguish between leadership and management roles and functions.
While the very definitions of change management and project and program management emphasize the management aspect [and of course this is important] Much of the cause of the 70% failure rate in change initiatives can be directly attributed to a lack of leadership … Leadership that sees the big picture, ensures that people will follow, and the discipline of A program management approach provides the tools and processes to facilitate that.
A gradual change initiative must be led, and must be seen to be led.
(3) Ignores the need for leadership to address the emotional dimension
The transition between stage one of the ADKAR model – an awareness of the need for change and stage two – the desire to participate in and support change can be enormous – especially in a change of pace.
One of the main points that William Bridges makes in his book “The Way of Transition” is that transition is not the same as change. Change is what happens to you. The transition is what you experience.
Many opinion leaders in the world of change management and change leadership now speak loudly about the importance of the emotional dimension of leadership and the need to address the human dimension of change.
So to summarize, in Bridges’ own words: “A change can work only if the people affected by it can successfully overcome the transition it causes.”
(4) Does not see the macro level of program management
Steps three through five of the AKBAR model are about knowing how to change, the ability to implement change and reinforcement, making change stick, and all of these relate to one of the most important issues when implementing change. , which boils down to: translate vision and strategy. in actionable steps.
The traditional project approach referred to by the AKBAR model sees it as a set of tasks that, if executed successfully, yield a result. In other words, the typical process-based approach that has so consistently and spectacularly failed over the past 20 years.
There is an important distinction between the micro-level and macro-level perspectives of change management, and one that AKBAR does not recognize.
At the macro level, the main cause of this is the lack of clarity and lack of communication about people’s aspects of how to manage change, and even more fundamentally, the lack of a language and a contextual framework to articulate and manage the processes. change needed that will work for people. At this level, an important part of the solution to this lies in employing a program management approach to change, and this is because it is holistic and takes much more into account of the many dimensions that are overlooked by scope. limited of a project management-led approach.
At the micro level, implementing a strategy and changing a culture requires detailed hands-on management (sometimes micromanaging) in the details of how to do it, especially during the early stages. Therefore, at this operational level, people must be trained and supported to develop the capabilities to implement your strategy and become what you want them to become. [or as close to that as is realistically possible].