Several theories and models have been developed to try and equip managers with the relevant skills to manage organizational change. A successful change process largely depends on the human resources involved, the intended change and most importantly the nature of the business.
How well the people involved in the change process understands it, the higher the chances of it being successful. Failure by organizations to change quickly may result in them struggling to survive.
Kurt Lewin, a social scientist, is regarded as the father of change management. His works are now known as Lewin’s change management model. This model is also called unfreeze-change-refreeze because the change process occurs in three stages. Organizational change under Lewin’s change management model is best explained using a block of ice and how it changes in shape.
The analogy of the cube of ice
According to Kurt Lewin, organizations should be treated like a block of ice. If a person wants ice cones but he has ice cubes, the ideal way would be to first of all melt the ice in order for it to be changed (unfreeze). The iced water can be molded into any shape that is needed (change) and finally, the resulting shape should be solidified (refreeze).
The three steps of Lewin’s change management model
The steps are:
Under this step, the staff of the organization is prepared to accept the necessity of the change that is about to be made. A strong message should be sent out on why things need to be done and the process carried out differently.
The support from the topmost layer of management should be strong and unwavering. Key indicators in the organization such as stagnating sales, negative customer feedback, operating expenses hitting the roof and declining profitability could be used to drive home the need for change. The fears and doubts should be listed and ways of countering them devised.
At this stage, alternatives ways of operations are invented. The new direction starts getting support from staff. At this point, it is important for sensitization to be carried out in order for people to understand how they will benefit them and the organization. The most important pillars of this stage are communication and time. The organization should empower people and actively involve them in the process.
Once the change has been pushed through successfully and people have accepted the new way of things, it is time for the organization to refreeze. This stage serves the important purpose of having the changes institutionalized. The policies and procedures manuals could be revised to: incorporate the changes into the organization’s culture, develop the methods of sustaining the change and provide for ways improving on them in the future. A good reward system should also be developed.
The Lewin’s Change Model for PowerPoint uses a cube of ice as an analogy, stating that businesses should be treated like a block of ice: the ice can be changed and melted in order to bring companies to the change they want. The Lewin’s Change Model for PowerPoint slides feature three fully editable PowerPoint slides with colors and text that can be fully edited. In this PowerPoint slide set, you can explain the way that the three different steps of the Lewin’s Change Model apply to your business: what you need to ‘unfreeze,’ what you need to ‘change’ and what you need to ‘refreeze.’