What we learned yesterday is different from what we learn today. The way we organizations did business yesterday isn’t the same as what we see today.
If people, processes and places change overnight, the way we conduct ourselves and our behavior also has the potential to change.
In a professional setting, management should incorporate an element of unlearning and relearning to keep growing and developing. But how can organizations help their leaders embrace this attitude?
Let’s explore Kurt Lewin’s change model to discover ways to make room for new behaviors and actions in your organization.
What Is The Kurt Lewin Theory?
Lewin’s change management model or Lewin’s 3 step model is based on the principle of ‘unfreeze’, ‘change’ and ‘freeze’. It begins with recognizing there is, in fact, a need for change. It’s only with awareness that we can move to change our current behavior and adapt. Once we’ve transitioned to this new behavior, we solidify or freeze it, making it common practice.
Employees get into a routine they stick to unless prompted externally. To encourage this change, it’s necessary to help them ‘unfreeze’ or be ‘ready for change’. Following this, there’s an implementation of change, which may be a process or policy. Then the final step in Lewin’s change model is to freeze the new behavior or ‘make it stick’.
Lewin’s 3-Stage Model Of Change
The process of change is continuous. As we’ve observed after a year of living with the COVID-19 pandemic, we have to change our behavior to keep up with our immediate environment.
In an organization, as decision-makers, you can help your managers be open to change if you want to sustain competition, prepare for uncertainties and stay afloat in a crisis.
Here are three stages of the Kurt Lewin model:
Consider the new hybrid work culture that organizations have adopted. Many organizations had to transition to a work-from-home setup because of the lockdown. This required an unfreeze from past behaviors. Employees were used to traveling to their offices every day and working till evening. The new setup, however, was in complete contrast as they were restricted to their respective homes—communicating via online channels and email.
Shifting to a work-from-home culture is one of the examples of Kurt Lewin model of change. This is how ‘unfreeze’, or the first step in Lewin’s change model, works. Organizations had to enable their employees to learn this new way of working, helping them open up to unfamiliar territory.
Once your employees have accepted the need for change, it’s time to put plans into action. Setting up a home office, moving all communication online instead of in-person meetings and supporting many employees as they moved to their hometowns. For people who moved out of their parental homes 10 to 15 years ago, this proved to be a challenge. But at the end of the day, most employees adapted and accepted the change.
Organizations have the responsibility to help their employees transition smoothly. There may be bumps in the road, but with careful planning and a vision for the future, change can be implemented successfully.
Organizations like Spotify have now introduced a ‘work from anywhere’ feature, offering their employees the flexibility to work remotely. This is one of the ways to ‘freeze’ or solidify the new system. It’s the final step in the Kurt Lewin change model, one that’s ongoing and can be modified. You may want to introduce new processes in the future, but for now your employees can start to get comfortable with the new system.
Change management is a critical leadership skill that organizations must encourage among their senior executives. With the Kurt Lewin change model, they can guide their teams to embrace change successfully. Especially in a volatile situation, strong leadership is effective in accepting and implementing change. Training and development can help you help your leadership learn more about change management. If you want to drive high-performance behavior in your organization, you can give your senior executives a chance to unlearn and relearn.
Harappa’s High Performing Leaders program is designed to teach leaders how to achieve transformative results in the workplace. Leaders drive high-impact results as they’re responsible for how each team works to achieve its goals. By encouraging effective goal-setting, our program will get them on the fast track to success. Combining practice with learning, they’ll be introduced to thrive skills such as developing a growth mindset, driving innovation and critical thinking. Invest in leadership development for a strong and powerful workforce that helps you accomplish organizational goals.
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