Lewins Change Model – 3 Step Process

5 Min Read
Lewins Change Model – 3 Step Process

Lewins Change Model is a three-step process to help your business through change.

Regardless of the size of your business, it’s almost inevitable that it will go through some kind of change more than once during its lifetime. All around you, the world changes on an almost unbelievable level. To be a success, your business has to change too, and it must do it quickly in order to keep up. If your organization can’t change or handle any change well, it’s likely to find it a struggle to survive.

Change management is a concept that has become very familiar to the modern business owner, but any change that is managed varies considerably. The reasons for this tend to be the nature of the business, the type of change, and the people who are involved. An important element is how well people understand the process of change.

In the 1940s, a man called Kurt Lewin developed a model that has become a cornerstone for understanding organizational change. Amazingly or not, it’s a model that still holds true today.

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What is Lewins Change Model?

Kurt Lewin was an American-German social psychologist who lived in the early 20th century. He was one of the first to research organizational development and group dynamics. During his research, he developed the Three-Stage Model of Change or Lewins Change Model.

He developed this model to help him evaluate the change process in organizational environments and how you can challenge the status-quo in order to realize effective changes.

Why use Lewins change model?

Why use Lewins change model in your business? Staff are always resistant to change due to uncertainty and Lewins change model takes that into account.

Lewin’s change theory believes for the process of change to be successfully implemented within a business you need to shake people out of their current equilibrium and make them see that change is needed, to prepare and move them towards the new way/method. Then solidifying that it is the new norm.

How do you use Lewins change model?

This Lewins change model is about a compelling message about why change is best and needed. Communicating your message for change and then sharing a long-term vision of why this change is needed.

According to Lewins change model, three specific steps are crucial if any kind of change is to be successful. The three steps are:

  • Unfreeze
  • Change/ Transition
  • Freeze/ Refreeze

The Unfreeze Stage

Unfreezing is the first stage in any change. It also happens to be one of the most critical. It involves making sure your organization is ready for change. This is done by preparing it to understand and accept the critical nature of the change. There are 4 key steps that have to be undertaken.

1. Determine the Need for Change
You have to identify what needs to change and why. In this step, you also break down the status quo, challenge existing behaviours, revise standard practices, and create new ways to do your business.

2. Gather Support
The people in charge have to get support from key people and across the organization via Stakeholder Management and Analysis.

3. Strategy Development and Communication
Using organization vision and strategy, senior management must substantiate communication for transformation and the need for change.

4. Appreciate and Manage Uncertainties and Reservations
Any employee apprehensions or scepticism should be addressed. You can do this by stressing the reasons for stopping existing ways and introducing new ways.

The Change or Transition Stage

When people are no longer frozen, they are ready to move closer to the desired state. However, step two can be very challenging for people to get past. They might be uncertain about the future, need time to understand and adjust to the change, or are new to change.

To help you manage this stage effectively, use the following four steps.

  • Communication should be organized and consistent: Make sure you share the benefits of change across your organization.
  • Hearsay should be dismissed: Hold regular sessions and don’t be afraid to answer any questions, immediately sort out any issues, and stress the need for change as a necessity.
  • You should encourage action: Senior management should be role models and empower people to suggest solutions.
  • People should be engaged: Involve people in the process, give them time to adjust, and talk to external stakeholders.

The Freeze or Refreeze Stage

Freezing or refreezing is the stage during which the desired changes are reinforced and institutionalized. You should make sure they are accepted across the organization and incorporated into the business.

The four steps to ensure successful implementation of any change are:

  • Embed the change
  • Plan how the change will be sustained
  • Provide support
  • Celebrate your success
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