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Change Management

Change Management Process Flow Diagram

Change Management Process Flow Diagram

“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”

This quote from Charles Darwin, the famous naturalist and “father of evolution” points out that “survival of the fittest” is not about I.Q., or brute strength, but more about adaptability.  Species that are able to adapt quickly and efficiently are the fittest for the long-term.  The dinosaurs are a good example of this.  Even though the dinosaurs once dominated the earth, were often huge in size and certainly fierce enough, they died out and became extinct because they could not adapt to changes that occurred on Earth.  This rule applies to all of us in today’s world – we must try to adapt to change not only to survive, but to thrive, or grow because of it.

Now let’s define what we mean by “change management.” Change management is a structured approach to change in individuals, teams, organizations and societies that enables the transition from a current state to a desired future state. The change referred to in this context includes a broad array of topics. From an individual perspective, the change may be a new behavior. From a business perspective, the change may be a new business process or new technology. From a societal perspective, the change may be a new public policy or the passing of new legislation. Successful change, however, requires more than a new process, technology or public policy. It therefore requires the engagement and participation of the people involved.

The change management process flow diagram shown here offers a simple model for how people typically react to change.

Pioneers

Pioneers like change and often all things “new” because it’s new and gives them something to explore. They are generally perceived a little too curious, but they account for a large majority of the new approaches and inventions of the world, even though this may be only 2-5% of the population.

Early Adopters

Early Adopters pay close attention to the Pioneers, and have the ability to more widely communicate the best of the Pioneer’s feedback to the rest of the population. The early adopters are a little more cautious about new approaches and change than pioneers but not by much. However they will typically make up 15-20% of any given population.

Followers (sometimes also called Late Adopters)

Followers want the things they use to be mainstream before they will accept a change. Usually this is done by watching the early adopter experience over a reasonable amount of time and making sure that any problems and difficulties have been “ironed out”. About 60% of a given population are Followers.

Resistors (sometimes also called Laggards)

Resistors will generally stay with what they have “always done” even if it is fairly obvious to everyone else that newer ways are better. Some may even actively resist a change to hold on to the familiar or the tried and trusted ways. Resistors typically account for around 15-20% of any given population.

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About Dr. Jon Warner

Dr. Jon Warner is a prolific author, management consultant and executive coach with over 25 years experience. He has an MBA and a PhD in Organizational Psychology. Jon can be reached at OptimalJon@gmail.com

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About the Editor and Primary Author

Jon Warner

Jon Warner is an executive coach and management consultant and in the past has been a CEO in three very different companies. Read more

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