Lewin’s Change Model helps to explain how to initiate, manager, and stabilize the change process. The underlying assumptions about change in this model are that it involves learning, it needs motivation in order to have change, it requires individuals to change, there’ll be resistance, and effective change requires reinforcing what they’ve learned. The first stage in this model is unfreezing, where motivation is created to change by encouraging people to replace old habits with new desired ones. A method would be to make employees unhappy with the old habits of operating. When business is bad because of the old habits, it encourages employees to change those habits to improve. Benchmarking also is helpful because it compares the company with others to see where they stand in performance. This encourages people to adopt successful companies’ systems and habits or create new and better methods. The second stage is changing, where the actual change occurs by providing employees with new information and instructions, such as, sending managers to leadership training programs or installing new information technology. Change should be targeted towards a desired end-result with actions that are designed to reach that goal. The last stage is refreezing. In this stage, support and reinforcement are utilized to implement the new change into their normal ways of operation. Employees are given a chance to learn and demonstrate this change, which is then followed by reinforcement or coaching.
In a book exert from the online website, ChangingMinds.Org, it gave an overview of Lewin’s Change Model, however, it touched on some important points not mentioned in our book. One point Straker brings up is that people have a natural tendency to find context that they feel a sense of safety and control and that talking to people about the future doesn’t help to ‘unfreeze’ them. To ‘unfreeze,’ a push strategy should be implemented to initiate the change, and a pull strategy to motivate people to continue making the change. Some people are ‘change ready’ while others take longer to accept the need for change. In the transition or changing stage, time is essential because change is often a journey rather than a single step. A good leader should help to coach their followers so that everyone can follow through with the change. Initiating change can also be hard because it’s the 1st step. To move past this, a slow initiation of change or preparation will help to ease the uncertainty. Another problem is that often people purposely stay in the transitioning stage rather than reaching the desired change. People become comfortable with the temporary situation where they’re not held accountable for their actions, and replace real action with just talking about change. Instead of completely unfreezing, Straker writes that it’s ideal to be in an inbetween stage where freezing isn’t fully reached so that the next unfreezing will be easier. However, the problem with that is that people experience ‘change shock,’ where they perform ineffectively because they anticipate a new change. This website is helpful in realizing other points about the Lewin’s Change Model.
Straker, David. Lewin's Freeze Phase. 23 April 2010 (http://changingminds.org/disciplines/change_management/lewin_change/lewin_change.htm).