The Change Wheel

The Change Wheel
John P.

The Change WheelAs a follow up to my post from a few days ago about 7 Skills of Change Masters, this article is going to focus on a context for change management – again as laid out by Dr. Rosabeth Moss Kanter, a recognized expert in the field of change management and Professor at Harvard Business School.

In her book e-Volve, Dr. Kanter set forth a framework for managing change which she dubbed The Change Wheel. It’s appropriate that she treats the concept of change as one which has no real beginning or end, because the process needs to be continually taking place.

In other words, once any change process is coming to completion, another change process should be beginning anew.

The Change Wheel

Select the image above for a full sized graphic which illustrates the change management process in the continuing format. The following list contains The short way to look at it:

  • Tuning in to the Environment
  • Stimulating Breakthrough Ideas
  • Communicate Inspiring Visions
  • Getting Buy-in, Building Coalitions
  • Nurturing the Working Team
  • Persisting and Persevering
  • Make Everyone a Hero

As soon as you are done, repeat.

And here it is in far more detail.

  1. Common Theme / Shared Vision
    1. Must be well and widely understood
    2. Crafted by a small group, but must be internalized by a large group
  2. Symbols and Signals
    1. Vision must be modeled from the top down
    2. Employees gage whether the change is serious and how it will feel
    3. The right early symbols show people what the change will mean for them
  3. Guidance Structure and Process
    1. Assigning accountability for the big picture
    2. Keeping an eye on all the elements of the change is an important step
  4. Education, Training, Action Tools
    1. Necessary to communicate the Why and What of change
    2. Necessary for people to become adept at the new behavior implied by the change
    3. Action tools help people relate the change to their own day-to-day work
  5. Champions and Sponsors
    1. Changes need people who become passionate about seeing them take place
    2. Champions are cheerleaders for change
    3. Sponsors make sure the change has the backing of those with the power to fight for it
  6. Quick Wins and Local Innovations
    1. Early successes show that change is possible and indicate what the change means in practice
    2. Pick projects that particular units can tackle
    3. Give a clear overall direction, but details created as units allow people to “make it their own”
    4. Pilot projects, demonstrations, and local modifications make the vision concrete and ensure its acceptance
  7. Communications, Best Practice Exchange
    1. Change requires more communication than routine activities
    2. Leaders need rapid feedback from the field
    3. The field needs role models to learn from the experience of their peers
    4. Change can be chaotic without a way to communicate what’s happening
  8. Policy, Procedures, System Alignment
    1. Rules and processes need to be reassessed and adjusted to support the new direction
  9. Measures, Milestones and Feedback
    1. It is important to know if the change is on track
    2. Must establish measures for things that don’t show up on financial or other reporting mechanisms
    3. Divide big changes into small milestones
    4. Celebrate milestones met, readjust for milestones missed
    5. Have a feedback loop based upon measures of progress
  10. Rewards and Recognition
    1. The organization’s carrots and sticks combine with the publicity engine to create heroes of the revolutions or enemies of the change


  1. asad says

    hello.thanks. i need to some information’s about the ways of overcoming resistance to change.please advise me.thanks in advance.

  2. says

    It’s always tough to do that it seems, jetseta. In Wired this month there was an article (well maybe last month, I’m a couple mags behind) about a movement called “Get Things Done” or GTD.

    The founder has some odd roots which throw the system into question (is it based on an agenda?), but otherwise it’s good for those that need to figure out how to properly task and change their life.

  3. jetseta says

    Nice to see it doesn’t get creepy preachy like Covey. CAN’T. STAND. COVEY. (what a way for a business to funnel money into the Mormon church!–and they think their employees don’t know!)

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