Organization Development Network of Western New York

3 Stages of Change. What to do Before, During and After a Change

“If you have been trained to think in a certain way and are a member of a group that thinks the same way, how can you imagine changing to a new way of thinking?”

– Edgar Schein

Complexity and change

Your organization and work are changing around you, whether you want it to or not.

Having an understanding of how this change takes place, the steps that people go through and the systems-that-drive the negative and positive behaviors to this change are requisite in your lasting or fading away.

Change and Complexity are conjoined like twins with a secret language.

The greater your business and you can understand, handle and plan for complexity, the more likely the change will happen.

3 Stages of Change

Lewin/Schein change Theory – Summation from http://www.entarga.com/orgchange/lewinschein.pdf

Stage 1 – becoming motivated to change (unfreezing)

Multiple forces established by past observational learning and cultural influences tend to maintain the current behavior.

Change requires adding new forces of change or the removal of some of the existing factors that are at play in perpetuating the behavior.

Observed Behaviors and Actions Common in Stage 1

  • Denial
  • Scapegoating, passing the buck, dodging
  • Maneuvering & Bargaining

 

Stage 2 – change what needs to be changed (unfrozen and moving to a new state)

Once there is sufficient dissatisfaction with the current conditions and a real desire to make some change exists, it is necessary to identify exactly what needs to be changed, if not already articulated in the first stage.

Observed Behaviors and Actions Common in Stage 2

  • Words take on new and expanded meaning
  • A concept is interpreted within a broader context
  • There is an adjustment in the scale used in evaluating new input relative to what had previously been learned and accepted as factual.

 

Stage 3 – making the change permanent (refreezing)

Refreezing is the final stage where the action becomes habitual. This requires behavior that is consistent with other behaviors and the values and beliefs held by the individual.

Observed Behaviors and Actions Common in Stage 3

  • Develop a new self-concept and identity
  • Establishing the new behavior in interpersonal relationships.

 

Working Through Change + Learning Anxiety

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Interventions for change success – ‘massaging the anxiety’.

Drive Survival Anxiety up by creating risk and triggering evolutionary ‘fight or flight’ response or/and drive Change/Learning anxiety down to bring the ‘tipping point’ forward (example here is how this could be used to support effective training associated with a new system implementation but the same model could also be applied for any change event and a wider change program).

Click on Image to Enlarge.

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What do you think?

How might you incorporate the Lewin/Schein 3 stages of change and the ideas of Survival plus Learning anxiety into your Organization Development work?

 

For more information contact Michael Cardus

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3 Responses

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  1. Tracy Boff said, on April 2, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    Using Kirt Lewin’s Force Field Anylasis is helpful too. I have had my staff list items both drving forces and restraining forces. When they are able to acknowledge and brainstorm ideas on best ways to approach barriers or restraining forces, then we are headed in the right direction. They also feel part of the solution and then more engaged in the change.

  2. Michael Cardus said, on April 2, 2013 at 8:34 pm

    Tracy.
    Thank you and yes the Lewin force field analysis is helpfull 🙂 Often with change identify attractors and repelers allow people to think through things.

  3. […] “If you have been trained to think in a certain way and are a member of a group that thinks the same way, how can you imagine changing to a new way of thinking?” – Edgar Schein How might you incorporate the Lewin/Schein 3 stages of change and the ideas of Survival plus Learning anxiety into your Organization Development work?  […]


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