Change Management Methodologies

There are several change management methodologies.

However, I chose these five methodologies here below because of their elegant simplicity and proven effectiveness:

1) DVF formula
2) Internal Transition versus External Change
3) John Kotter’s Leading Change
4) I don’t get it / I don’t like it / I don’t like you
5) Forming / Storming / Norming / Performing

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1) DVF formula

The first change management model we introduce was originally developed by Richard Beckhard & Reuben T. Harris in, “Organizational Transitions: Managing Complex Change” (Addison-Wesley, Reading, MA: 1987); and then later on it was retaken by Dannemiller Tyson Associates, “Whole-Scale Change: Unleashing the Magic in Organizations” (Berrett-Koehler, San Francisco, CA: 2000). change management methodologies

It is called the “DVF formula” and it looks like this:

D x V x F > R

Where D stands for Dissatisfaction

  • Dissatisfaction with the status quo
  • It is the organization’s reason for change
  • It is the sense of urgency
  • This is what is usually called “Business Case for Change”

    V stands for Vision

  • The vision is an appealing mental picture of the ideal future
  • Your vision is what your aspire to achieve, to become, to create with the change
  • Your vision does not predict the future – it is a tool to help you create the future

    F stands for First steps

  • First steps in the direction of the vision
  • First steps depict the specific activities that express the movement en route for the vision
  • This is the change strategy to get to the vision

    R stands for Resistance

  • Resistance to change is a universal human characteristic
  • Within an organization always exist natural forces of resistance
  • Human resistance must be addressed if change is to be successful

    Now, if either D, or V, or F equals zero, the change initiative won’t be able to overcome the human Resistance, and the change project will be unsuccessful. This is why in the DVF formula DVF must be greater than the resistance.

    Notice how this very same mathematical formula, can also be depicted in this fashion:

    (DVF) / R = C

    Where C stands for Change

  • Change quality – how successful or unsuccessful the change is
  • The relationship between DVF and R determines the degree of the change
  • The bigger DVF the more successful the change, and vice versa

    Caveat: change management methodologies

  • Notice that for the change to be successful, the presence of DVF in the organization is not enough.
  • It is not enough either that DVF be present in the organization and simultaneously the top organizational executives be aware of DVF.
  • For the change initiative to be successful, the entire workforce must be aware of DVF – especially those that will be responsible for the change execution, and those affected – directly and indirectly – by the change.

    The next time you find yourself in a position where you are responsible for implementing a change initiative, make sure all your change stakeholders are 100 per cent aware of all three elements (DVF) throughout the change – they all must have a crystal-clear understanding of each one of these three ingredients – this will make your job much easier indeed.

    Among robust change management methodologies, this one is perhaps one of the simplest ones, however, its elegant simplicity makes it very attractive.

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    2) Internal Transition versus External Change

    Among change management methodologies to keep in mind, another classic one is the model developed by William Bridges in, “Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change” (Addison-Wesley, Reading, MA: 1991).

    He makes a clear-cut distinction between change and transition:

    Change is what happens outside the individual
    Transition is what happens inside the individual

    Transition is the natural psychological process the individual goes through in the inward phase of trying to accept the change – when the person is attempting to catch up to the outside new reality.

    Transition happens much more slowly than the situational change.

    Allowing people to work through the transition and helping them during this inner stage is critical to coming to terms with change.

    Unless effective transition occurs, effective change will not happen.

    In other words, if you want your people on board in a change initiative, give them the time and help them during this phase – involve them, ask them questions, give them a significant part to play in planning the transition.

    When people resist the change – instead of becoming suspicious – ask them questions, dialogue with them, involve them, etc.; remember, resistance is a natural human characteristic.

    If we are thinking about change management methodologies per se, this one might not be a change management methodology in the entire sense of the word, but Bridges’ counsel is fundamental advice to help ease and facilitate any change initiative.

    Another vital piece of recommendation William Bridges provides in his book is the following:

    Normally, top executives go through their own transition as they envision and begin to plan the change. However, by the time middle management and the rest of the organization are going through their transition, the organizational leaders are well past their own transition.

    In other words, if you want your people on board in a change initiative, remember your own transition, and show empathy towards those who are on a different timeline regarding transition.

    According to a German proverb, “A great war leaves a country with three armies: an army of cripples, an army of mourners, and an army of thieves.”

    William Bridges believes that major corporate wars leave companies with similar groups of people still in the organization. Hence, executives need to deal with employees in the appropriate way in order for the organization to become whole, strong, and ready to continue on.

    Many change management methodologies are pretty sophisticated, but Bridges’ simple advice goes to the heart of proper change management.

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    3) John Kotter’s Leading Change

    To continue on in our change management methodologies journey, John P. Kotter provides another clear path to follow, yet more thorough, in “Leading Change” (Harvard Business School Press, Boston, MA: 1996).

    He offers an eight-stage process for creating major change:

    Stage One – Establish a sense of urgency

    Without a high urgency level, it is very difficult if not impossible to overcome inertia and complacency.

    Stage Two – Create the guiding coalition

    You must build a sufficiently powerful team to guide the change. Powerful in the sense that it must legitimately represent the organization, and powerful in the sense that it must work as a high performing team – it must posses both trust and a common goal.

    Stage Three – Develop a vision and a strategy

    Creating a vision is no easy task – managers don’t create visions, leaders do.
    Without genuine teamwork in the guiding coalition and without a sense of urgency, you will never create a vision.

    Stage Four – Communicate the change vision

    Communicating the vision effectively is one of the easiest stages to accomplish; yet, one of the most common mistakes is under-communicating the vision. change management methodologies

    Stage Five – Empower employees for broad-based action

    Change the necessary organizational structures, processes, systems, skills, and even people, to allow for the change to happen.

    Stage Six – Create short-term wins

    To build the credibility you need to sustain your efforts over the long haul, you must create visible and unambiguous short-term wins clearly related to the change project.

    Stage Seven – Consolidate gains and produce more change

    Your entire effort will take more time and energy than you initially expected: Corporate culture and organizational interconnections that make it difficult to change anything without changing everything can make progress slip quickly, and critical momentum can be lost. Don’t declare victory too soon.

    Stage Eight – Anchor new approaches in the culture

    Securing a new set of behaviors in a culture is very difficult, even if those behaviors are consistent with the core of the culture – but when they are not, the challenge is much greater. However, a new set of practices usually sinks into a culture only after it’s very clear to the organization that they do indeed work. Only when you embed new key norms and values into your already formed culture, you may start talking about change accomplishment.

    Among change management methodologies for creating major change, John Kotter’s is perhaps among the most straightforward methods.

    To see these change stages in action, you might also want to read an entertaining, insightful, and illuminating fable by John Kotter in, “Our Iceberg Is Melting: Changing and Succeeding Under Any Conditions” (St. Martin’s Press, New York, NY: 2005).

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    4) I don’t get it / I don’t like it / I don’t like you

    Among the change management methodologies that deal with resistance to change, Rick Maurer approach is brilliant, unambiguous, and easy to remember.

    He talks about the three aspects of resistance to change that should be addressed – leaders need to attend all three:

  • “I don't get it”
  • “I don't like it”
  • “I don't like you”

    The first aspect of resistance is Rational. It is about understanding what the change is about, how it will be managed, and what the effects will be – left brain: “I don’t get it”

    The second aspect of resistance is Emotional. It is about how we react to news of change, how we feel about it during the change, and how it will affect the culture of the organization when completed – right brain: “I don’t like it”

    The third aspect of resistance is Personal. It is grounded in how much I trust my organizational leadership – both brains: “I don’t like you”

    However, even if I don’t get it (rational resistance) and I don’t like it (emotional resistance), I may still accept it if I trust the leadership.

    Typical mistakes: change management methodologies

    When employees resist change for rational reasons (they don’t get it), managers get busy giving emotional support to employees, instead of giving them the information they need to help them understand the change.

    When the workforce resists the change for emotional reasons (they don’t like it), executives intensify their efforts to clarify the logical reasons for change.

    When leaders say, "trust me," instead of addressing necessary rational and emotional aspects. Leaders fail to address the “I don’t like you” issue of the equation.

    Change management methodologies to help you deal with resistance? Just remember:

  • “I don't get it”
  • “I don't like it”
  • “I don't like you”

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    5) Forming / Storming / Norming / Performing

    Last but not least, the next tool that we give you in these change management methodologies is Bruce W. Tuckman’s model of group development, “Developmental Sequence in Small Groups” (Psychological Bulletin No. 63: 1965).

    Tuckman suggests that in order for a team to grow, it needs to pass through four different phases: Forming – Storming – Norming – Performing

    This four-phase model may also be applied to the organizational change level.

    Think of it as the life of a human being – no matter where a human being is from (China, Argentina, or Norway), every single human being needs to go through infancy, adolescence, adulthood, and old age.

    In the same way, any team (or organization), needs to go through these phases:

    Forming – Storming – Norming – Performing


    Forming is the beginning of the team’s life. The new organization is formed. Team’s purpose and individual roles are still unclear. The leader plays a big role at this stage.


    In the initial stages when people begin to work together, they find out they have different work habits, they have difficulty understanding each other, and conflict begins to erupt everywhere; uncertainties abound – the organization resists the change.

    Norming change management methodologies

    After several struggles, team members begin to understand each other; they begin to establish new work habits and new norms of behavior. Roles and responsibilities begin to take hold. A normality begins to take place when people start developing their own processes and style of work – they begin to feel comfortable with the new situation.


    At this stage, people know how to work together effectively. The focus is on achieving goals; disagreements still occur, but they now have a decision-making process in place. It is only after the fact that the first three phases that have been outgrown that the organization begins to experience the change benefits – the benefits of the new situation.

    Forming – Storming – Norming – Performing

    Now, the advancement from one phase to the next is not guaranteed: In the same way that you might encounter a 40-year old person who behaves like an adolescent, in the same way you might encounter teams that have spent years in the Storming (or in the Norming) phase without being able to move forward.

    Moving from one phase to the next is not easy – but then again, nobody said being a manager was easy.

    This four-phase model might appear too simplistic from the change management methodologies perspective, but it has proven to be extremely helpful both at the team level and at the organizational level.

    As a leader, keep it in mind – you will be glad you did.

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    To read about change definitions, take a look at my define change page.

    Also, you might want to take a look at my change management model page, and at my quotes about change page.

    To keep on learning about other useful skills, go back to the previous page, or click here.

    To learn more about the skills you need to manage the performance of your direct reports, go to my Management Skills page.

    To learn more about the skills you need to lead the performance of your entire organization, go to my Leadership Skills page.

    If you would like change management support using some of the knowledge in these change management methodologies through my speaking or consulting services, please click on this link.

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