The Kubler-Ross Change Curve, also known as the five stages of grief, is a model consisting of the various levels or stages of emotions which are experienced by a person who is soon going to approach death or is a survivor of an intimate death.
The Kubler-Ross Change Curve is comprised of emotions, including shock, denial, frustration, depression, experiment, decision and integration. While not originally intended to play a major role in the understanding of how change impacts an organization, the concept of a change curve - and the natural, predictable, and widely understandable emotions it contains - fits perfectly in the enterprise-level change management journey.
The Kubler-Ross Model holds true in business.
Every organization needs to initiate and experience changes, whether in management, technology, policies, processes or systems. With inevitable corporate change, every organization needs to support employees in the process of navigating transitions and understanding new strategies, procedures and best practices.
Make no mistake, change is difficult - especially large-scale organizational change. A typical change management strategy covers four main components that address the need of the enterprise - all of which touch on the most critical element in any change scenario - people, and the willingness of people to accept, understand and support change.
- Stakeholder Management
- Organization Alignment
- Communications & Engagement
- Training & Performance Support
The Change Curve
According to Gartner, change management is the automated support for development, rollout and maintenance of system components, including intelligent regeneration, package versioning, state control, library control, configuration management, turnover management and distributed impact sensitivity reporting.
Change management is also about people.
C-Suite. Stakeholders. Managers. Teams. Colleagues. All of which are critical components in the delivery of a successful change management initiative - and all of which easily susceptible to the change commitment curve - or Change Curve. The Change Curve is a powerful model used to understand the stages of personal transition that accompany any organizational change. Understanding the popular stages of the Change Curve aids an organization in predicting how its people will react to change.
There are four stages of a Change Curve - all vitally important in an organization's change management journey.
What are these key four change management stages - and how are they best managed?
- Awareness: Ensure awareness by all internal and external employees that new technologies or processes are coming and make sure they know of all the time frames and related actions.
- Understanding: Build understanding of the potential benefits for the employees—why the new technology or processes is needed.
- Adoption: Create ownership of the change, so employees feel included and are eager for adoption of the new or updated processes and technologies.
- Commitment: Generate higher morale and increased commitment from all employee groups in consistently using a new system and/or process.
The fact is that organizations do not change because of new technologies, procedures, strategies or organizational structures.
Change takes place thanks to the support, endorsement and acceptance of the human component.
The C-Suite often views change management in terms of workflows, deployment strategies and operational budgets. However, it is even more critical to make sure executives, subordinates and all enterprise colleagues are equal partners in the change process. That way, when change does happen, employees actually embrace it. The reality is, enterprises change because the people within the organization adapt. Only when the people within an enterprise make their own personal transitions to accepting change - and implementing change - can an organization truly reap the benefits of any change initiative.