ADKAR Change Management Model

ADKAR is a goal oriented change management model for individuals and organisations to help guide them through changes and create lasting change. As both an agile coach and a personal coach, I find this model incredibly useful. This is something that we can all use ourselves in our work and personal lives to help form new habits.


Key question: Why do you want to change x from the way it is now?

The first point of any change is to have an awareness of the need to change, and then building an understanding of it. If this change is coming from yourself then you should already have an understanding of this. If it’s a change for an organisation, you’re going to have to ask around to find out. If the decision has come from a committee then finding that why may be difficult. Find out who the key people who have made the decision to change are, and start asking them questions.


Key question: How will I benefit from making this change?

Once you have your why, the desire to change is easier to foster. This is the time to create passion and a sense of purpose around the change by selling it. Whether it’s change for an individual or a group, there needs to be a commitment from everyone involved towards the change in order to make it happen in the first place. Organisations need to employ change agents to support the change, and individuals need to create a network around them of people to help them stick to their decisions.


Key question: What behaviours do I need to change for the entire change to be successful?

Now that you’ve built up some passion, it’s time to gain the knowledge that we need in order to enact that change. There are plenty of resources available out there, you’ve just got to make the most of them. If you have a budget, then look for training both online and IRL. If you’re lucky enough to be in a major city then you’ll probably find groups of other people exploring the same kinds of things that you are. Perhaps you can take an evening class, or take a trip down to your local library and do some old fashioned book reading. Whatever it is that you need to learn, go and learn it.


Key question: What can I use to trigger me to remember to behave differently?

Knowledge is great, but until we’ve changed that knowledge into understanding and habitual behaviour we’ll sit in the hardest part of change. This is the part of the model where we actually start making those changes. Whilst you’re starting to make the change things are going to be slow and awkward because you’re having to really concentrate to make sure you behaviour in the new way. Persevere through these times. The longer that you practice the new behaviour, the easier that new behaviour will become.


Key question: Who can I ask to help me maintain my new behaviour by rewarding me when I exhibit it?

We’ve all started a new habit (usually around January) with good intentions to keep it up, but over time find ourselves falling off the wagon and back into old habits. Either find a way that you can reward yourself, or ask someone else to comment when they see the new behaviour. If you’re in an organisation and have the luxury of a change agent, then ask them to create a process for everyone to be able to easily call out when they see that people are successfully adopting and exhibiting the desired new behaviours.


When you’re thinking about making a change, take a moment to consider this model and what it means to making the changes you want. Create a passion within yourself to making this change, find out all the information you need before you start changing your behaviour, and finally find yourself a support network so that you can find that emotional reward for being successful.

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