Change management

How To Successfully Implement And Sustain Change

What makes change successful?

Successful change happens because leaders give equal attention to two different perspectives – the business dimension and the people dimension.

The ADKAR model of change management brings together these two dimensions in order to understand, implement and sustain changes within the business.

ADKAR model of change graph. This explains how both the business and people element work closely to deliver successful change.
Successful change will only be achieved when both dimensions are managed simultaneously, as shown in the above diagram.

The business dimension

The business dimension broadly looks at a change initiative from the project management perspective and will include a number of phases:

  1. A business need or opportunity is identified
  2. The project is scoped, and objectives and costs are established
  3. A business solution is devised, which may include:
    • Developing new processes
    • Purchasing new systems or introducing technology
    • Organisation restructuring
    • Developing new innovations or products
  4. Timescales are developed
  5. The solution is implemented

The people dimension

This structured approach to managing projects often means that managers are more comfortable with the business dimension than the people dimension, where emotions and personal opinions become involved. The people dimension is how colleagues experience the process of change. ADKAR looks at the five key phases that every individual will experience:

ADKAR is an acronym for:

Awareness of the need to change

Desire to participate and support the change

Knowledge of how to change and what the change looks like

Ability to implement the change on a day-to-day basis

Reinforcement to keep the change in place

So how do you successfully implement and sustain change?

Managing these two aforementioned dimensions in tandem allows the change to be managed organically, at a rate which both the business and the people can maintain comfortably.

Business need and awareness

Spending time communicating what the change is and why it is needed will help to both define the business need and raise awareness amongst employees. Sharing the information and drivers behind the initiative helps to develop an understanding amongst those affected. This understanding then mitigates any fear about the impact the change may have on individuals. Also, as more people become aware of the drivers, a broader perspective can be taken.

Concept, design and desire

Resistance to change often occurs when individuals feel that change is forced upon them. Conversely, if individuals want to make change happen, implementation is likely to be smoother. Sharing concepts and involving people early in the process helps them to develop a vision of the future, and become more aware of the consequences that not changing may have for the organisation.

Implementation and knowledge

Once employees have developed a desire to become involved in the change process, they become keen to build the skills and behaviours they will need to make it happen. If possible, a gradual or phased implementation can be considered to allow employees time to develop these skills and gain confidence.

Implementation and ability

As the ability and confidence of employees in their new skill or knowledge grows, the change becomes embedded. Rushing the implementation without allowing employees sufficient time to become comfortable with their new skills will result in the overall process taking longer than planned, as previous steps may need to be revisited.

Post implementation and reinforcement

This is possibly the most important phase of a change initiative. It is important to celebrate successes and recognise achievements so that the change becomes fully entrenched and part of the organisational culture. Measuring the success of the change, and citing the improvements and benefits achieved will provide employees with a sense of pride in their achievement. This creates a desire to continue to develop the change, and allows a more positive change culture to develop in the organisation.

What can you do?

To successfully implement and sustain change you need to have a great plan. Change big or small is likely to put your teams in turmoil if not lead well with clear direction and recognition at the key stages.

The ADKAR model for me embraces all concepts in the change agenda in a concise way. There are other models you can explore which are equally effective, it’s just a case of personal preference. Have a read of this post around organisational change that I particularly like.

Until next time I hope you and your teams enjoy this weeks blog, take a look further down the page for other subjects covered in the LRC Bitesize series.

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LRC Bitesize

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Hi! I`m Chris Webb, I live in the South East and started Leaders Retail Consultancy in 2019. Before freelancing, I was a senior retail leader for a number of the UK’s top retailers gaining experience over 23 glorious years. When I am not coaching I enjoy spending time with the family or in the gym.

Click here for more information about Leaders Retail Consultancy


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