It’s human nature to look for structure in life. We crave explanations for why things are the way they are or why things are happening to us. We want to be able to look into the future so that we can prepare for the unexpected. Hence, we turn to all sorts of models and tools in an attempt to shape the inevitable: change. But amongst the myriad models and tools for change which one should we choose?
Let’s compare it with a trained carpenter. Over time, he can expand his toolset and sharpen his tools, yet in the end, experience, practice and respect for the different materials are what makes him skilled. It’s not about the tools. Merely using someone else’s tools will not make you a great craftsman. Nor will blindly following prescribed change models make you a good change manager. There is no one-size-fits-all that will guarantee success in each and every project. If the tool doesn’t work for you, try another one.
In my experience, models and tools are the backbones. Like your spine keeps your posture straight, models and tools keep your change efforts structured, and your mind focused on the end goal. It is, however, crucial to weave a ‘human’ equivalent around this backbone, because, without the human elements, all you’ll have is a lifeless skeleton that won’t move forward. Then, your change efforts will only lead to frustration. So, whatever the model you choose to apply, don’t treat it as scripture, but use it for what it is: a tool to structure your change. That’s all. Feel free to combine (parts of) different models to better suit your needs, or adapt certain aspects if you find that that works better for you. This way you will assemble a toolset that works for you.
Over the years, I’ve assembled a toolset for myself, based on existing change models, experience, training, advice from colleagues and gut feeling but always with a focus on the human aspect of change.
If you want to get a better understanding of some of the change models that I use, or that have inspired me, please have a look at the non-exhaustive list below: