Why do some changes fail while others succeed? After
extensive research with hundreds of organizations undergoing
major change, I have observed that the root cause of failure
is not simply inadequate communications or poor training.
Success is not to be found in excellent project management
alone, or even the best vision or solution to a problem. The
secret to successful change lies beyond the visible and busy
activities that surround change. Successful change, at its
core, is rooted in something much simpler: How to facilitate
change with one person.
The ADKAR model presented in
ADKAR: a model for
change is a framework for
understanding change at an individual level. This model is
then extended to show how businesses, government agencies
and communities can increase the likelihood that their
changes are implemented successfully.
The ADKAR model has five elements or objectives as shown
in Figure 1-1. It is useful to think of these elements as
building blocks. All five elements must be in place for a
change to be realized.
The ADKAR Model
||Awareness of the need for change
||Desire to support and participate in the change
||Knowledge of how to change
||Ability to implement required skills and behaviors
||Reinforcement to sustain the change
Figure 1-1 The ADKAR Model
Awareness represents a personís understanding of the
nature of the change, why the change is being made and the
risk of not changing. Awareness also includes information
about the internal and external drivers that created the
need for change, as well as ďwhatís in it for me.Ē
Desire represents the willingness to support and engage
in a change. Desire is ultimately about personal choice,
influenced by the nature of the change, by an individualís
personal situation, as well as intrinsic motivators that are
unique to each person.
Knowledge represents the information, training and
education necessary to know how to change. Knowledge
includes information about behaviors, processes, tools,
systems, skills, job roles and techniques that are needed to
implement a change.
represents the realization or execution of the
change. Ability is turning knowledge into action. Ability is
achieved when a person or group has the demonstrated
capability to implement the change at the required
Reinforcement represents those internal and external
factors that sustain a change. External reinforcements could
include recognition, rewards and celebrations that are tied
to the realization of the change. Internal reinforcements
could be a personís internal satisfaction with his or her
achievement or other benefits derived from the change on a
The elements of the ADKAR model fall into the natural
order of how one person experiences change. Desire cannot
come before awareness because it is the awareness of the
need for change that stimulates our desire or triggers our
resistance to that change. Knowledge cannot come before
desire because we do not seek to know how to do something
that we do not want to do. Ability cannot come before
knowledge because we cannot implement what we do not know.
Reinforcement cannot come before ability because we can only
recognize and appreciate what has been achieved.
The lifecycle for ADKAR begins after a change has been
identified. From this starting point, the model provides a
framework and sequence for managing the people side of
change. In the workplace, ADKAR provides a solid foundation
for change management activities, including readiness
assessments, sponsorship, communications, coaching,
training, recognition and resistance management.
Chapters 2 through 7 of
ADKAR: a model for change in
business, government and our community introduce each
element of the model with case study examples. Once the
foundation for the model is established, Chapters 8 through
14 provide concrete strategies and tactics for achieving
each element of the model.
Jeff Hiatt, President and founder of
Prosci and author of
ADKAR: a model for
change in business, government and our community