Psychology and Ethical Minds
The 5 Minds of The Future

Kurt Lewin's Model








 
 



Lewin Change Management

If you've ever tried to implement a major change program in your organization, then you’ll know that it’s often difficult.

People can resist change, and it can be hard to make change stick in the long term.

This is why it’s so important to understand the change process.

Then, you can manage it effectively, and get people’s support at each stage.

A useful way to get a better understanding of this process is to use Kurt Lewin’s Unfreeze – Change – Refreeze model.

This is based on the analogy of melting a block of ice, and then re-freezing it into a new shape.
 



Kurt Lewin Change Management Model was a landmark model that explained organisational change and was developed long back in the 1950s by Kurt Lewin, a physicist as well as a social scientist. The postulates of his model hold true even today. Popularly known as Unfreeze-Change-Refreeze after the three stages that the model suggests, this model has benefited many organisations across the world.
 
The Stages of the Kurt Lewin Change Management Model

Stage 1: Unfreezing

This is the most important stage to understand and implement.

This stage begins the process of change and involves getting ready for it. It is about understanding the fact that change is necessary and agreeing to move away from our comfort zone.
 
Stage 2: Change or Transition

Kurt Lewin knew that change is not a single event but an entire process called transition.

More specifically, transition is the inner movement that we make as a response to the change.

It is only after unfreezing that you can expect to change the shape of a block of ice.

The inertia within people makes this stage the most fearful and difficult one.
 
Stage 3: Refreezing

The name is quite suggestive of what this stage is all about. It involves establishing the changed identity.

The stage is about accepting the changes that have become norms.

During this stage, people create new relationships and become attuned to their changed routine.
 
Practical steps for using the three stages of Kurt Lewin Change Management Model:

Unfreeze



 


DETERMINE WHAT NEEDS TO CHANGE

Survey the organization to understand the current state
Understand why change has to take place.

ENSURE THERE IS STRONG SUPPORT FROM SENIOR MANAGEMENT

Use Stakeholder Analysis and Stakeholder Management to identify and win the support of key people within the organization.
Frame the issue as one of organization-wide importance.

CREATE THE NEED FOR CHANGE

Create a compelling message about why change has to occur
Use your vision and strategy as supporting evidence
Communicate the vision in terms of the change required
Emphasize the "why"


MANAGE AND UNDERSTAND THE DOUBTS AND CONCERNS.

Remain open to employee concerns and address them in terms of the need to change.

 
 
1. Understand the need for change and identify what needs to be changed by surveying the organisation and understanding the present state of affairs.
2. Make sure the upper management approves the change in principle. Analyse stakeholders to identify their stand and win their support. Project the change as an issue of importance for the organisation. Generate a compelling message that will make the higher ups realise the importance of that change.
3. Be ready to understand the concerns of the employees which generate from the change that you are about to bring and try to address them.
 
Transition or Change



COMMUNICATE OFTEN
 
Do so throughout the planning and implementation of the changes.
Describe the benefits.
Explain exactly how the changes will affect
everyone. Prepare everyone for what is coming.
 
DISPEL RUMORS
 
Answer questions openly and honestly.
Deal with problems immediately.
Relate the need for change back to operational necessities.
 
 
EMPOWER ACTION
 
Provide lots of opportunity for employee involvement.
Have line managers provide day-to-day direction.
 
INVOLVE PEOPLE IN THE PROCESS
 
Generate short-term wins to reinforce the change.
Negotiate with external stakeholders as necessary (such as employee organizations)

1. Make sure you communicate enough during the planning and implementation stage. Explain the benefits of change to people who are going to be affected by it. This way you will prepare everyone for what is going to come their way.
2. Rumors are bound to spread once the news of an anticipated change becomes public. Try and dispel as many rumors as possible and answer the questions of people who are going to be affected by the change honestly. Try to again relate the need for change with the betterment of the organisation.
3. Give ample opportunities to employees to involve themselves in the process of change. Employ managers to provide day to say direction and guide people through the process.
4. Institute small rewards for people who involve themselves in the process of change.
 
Refreeze



 

ANCHOR THE CHANGES INTO THE CULTURE

Identity what supports the change
Identify barriers to sustaining change

DEVELOP WAYS TO SUSTAIN THE CHANGE

Ensure leadership support
Create a reward system
Establish feedback systems
Adapt the organizational structure as necessary.

PROVIDE SUPPORT AND TRAINING

Keep everyone informed and supported.

CELEBRATE SUCCESS


1. Make the change a part of the culture and acknowledge all that supports the change. Also identify all that did not support the change so as to be able to overcome those deterrents in future.

2. Try to develop ways and means to sustain the changes. You can do this by creating a reward system and ensuring high standards of leadership. Feedbacks are another good way of sustaining change.

3. Finally, celebrate success and let everyone know that you and your organisation have changed for good.

It shall not be an overstatement to say that Kurt Lewin’s model is an easy and simple to understand model to implement the change you wish to see. The process begins with creating a motivation to change and then goes through the change itself. The process ends when your organisation returns to a sense of stability.