BEST ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE MANAGEMENT MODELS & METHODOLOGIES


Complete Guide to the Top Change Management Models, Frameworks, & Change Methodologies for Practitioners

This free step-by-step guide of change management models has been published for Change Practitioners, Change Managers, Leaders, Project Managers, HR, Program Management Leads, and any other practitioner who is interested in change management.

It provides you with a list of the best change management methodologies that you can use for driving change within your organization in 2021.

It also reviews the pros and cons of the listed top change management models, so you can better determine which model is best for your industry, organization, and sector. Every change methodology & model is different – some are best suited to specific industries. 

The best change management methodology and change models


Why Use Change Management Models? My Experience as a Sr. Change Management Lead

Why use organizational change management models? What are the true benefits of applying an OCM methodology?

Over the last few decades, I have implemented large-scale organizational changes across Intel, Deloitte, Apple, Cisco, the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank, State Street, Accenture, HSBC, Capital One, and other global organizations. During my tenure, I have had the opportunity to apply most of the change management models presented in this article. 

Time and time again, I have identified that applying a structured, defined, and flexible change management methodology increases the success of projects by over 91%.

Ogbe Airiodion
Senior Change Management Lead & Consultant


Additional Reasons for Using a Best Change Management Model

It is normal human nature not to like change – whether that change is personal, business, or social, and so people, as well as impacted target audience groups often exhibit passive, sub-conscious, or active resistance to a change.

As such, using a defined and structured change management approach allows you to apply a repeatable, trackable, and enhanced process for managing all aspects of your change management activities, implementation, and deliverables. 

From the starting process of identifying who is impacted by a change, all the way to managing stakeholders, rolling out the change, delivering effective communications, providing training and coaching, and reinforcing the change, applying the best change management methodologies and tools is key to increasing your success.

Leverage this article, as well as the scholarly articles for change management methodologies referenced below to help increase your knowledge and change performance. Message us if you have any questions.


Best Change Management Methodologies and Models for 2021 and Beyond

The list of change management methodologies below is sorted alphabetically and includes models that are best suited for any sector and industry.

Best Change Management Methods for Specific Industries

The list of change frameworks and methodologies below includes models that are best suited for specific industries & sectors:


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What is Change Management (OCM)?

Organizational change management, which is the people side of change, is a structured approach used to transition individuals and groups that are impacted by an organizational, social, business, economic, or climate change.

Change management models are used to implement the processes for moving people through their individual change curves so that they can successfully accept, embrace, and adopt a change.

Don’t Miss: Importance of Change Management (All You Need to Know)

Irrespective of the factors driving the change, when organizations, governments, agencies, and groups experience change, it is the impacted end-users who ultimately need to change their behaviors or how they perform their day-to-day activities.

If these individuals are unsuccessful in their transitions, for example, if they don’t embrace, learn, and adopt the new way of doing things, the initiative will not be successful, nor it will achieve its expected return on investment (ROI). This is why implementing a change using one of the top models of change management reviewed below is very important.

Don’t miss the list of scholarly articles for change management methodologies at the bottom of this article for additional reading on topics related to implementing change.


Different Types of Organizational Change Management Methods

There is a wide range of change management models and methodologies that can be applied to drive the people side of change.

Consulting firms like Deloitte, Accenture, and McKinsey have their versions of models of change management. There are also standardized change methodologies including Prosci ADKAR change model, Accelerating Implementation Methodology (AIM), John Kotter’s change model, Kübler-Ross’ change curve, Bridges’ transition model, and many more.

Not All Change Management Method are Created Equally

Organizations are always faced with a limited amount of resources and budget, and it’s rare to find an organization that will have the full complement of resources needed to perfectly design, develop, implement, and manage any major transformational initiative.

Based on this, it is essential that every resource and transformational plan is targeted to have the maximum impact in the shortest amount of time.

As stated by the IMA (Implementation Management Associates) organization, “any approach to change management that prescribes the activities of Change Agents and Sponsors without continuously weighing the relative impact and risk of that activity is completely missing the boat.”

What they are saying here is that it is critical to assess and consider the severity, scale, and magnitude of the impacts on the individuals that will be impacted by the change.

Why is this important to you?

It is important because when analyzing, researching, and identifying the best change management models, methods, and frameworks that are currently available, you want to make sure that you select the one that is best for you, and for your program, as well as for the people that will be impacted by your change program.

In addition to the change models reviewed below, also view these change frameworks for specific industries and sectors.


High-Level Review:
Top Organizational Change Models and Methodologies


Accelerating Implementation Methodology (AIM) Change Method

The Accelerating Implementation Methodology change model is a flexible, business-disciplined change management framework that is both systematic and systemic.

The AIM change model is driven by data, which increases its appeal to the sciences and technology sector as well as to human resources (HR) professionals. 

AIM Change Model-min

Based on its flexible structure, the AIM change method can be applied to any kind of transformational program, from small to large scale initiatives, which makes it one of the top models of change management.

Why is AIM change management important

A key benefit of the AIM organizational change management model is that it involves an integrated system of operationalized strategies, tactics, techniques, analytics, and tools that can be applied across the life cycle of a change program, all the way from inception through the “post-implementation phase” where the return on investment is realized.


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Questions or comments about the AIM change method? Click here to contact the AGS Change Management Team.


AGS Change Management Method

What are the background and driving factors behind the Airiodion Global Service’ AGS Change Model? Let’s hear from our founder, Ogbe Airiodion, who founded the AGS Change Methodology.

Over the last decade, I have worked on large scale, complex projects as a Senior Change Management Lead and Consultant for top banking, financial, and technology companies including Cisco, Intel, HSBC, Berkshire Hathaway, Deloitte, Accenture, and many more.

Most of these organizations apply the Prosci change management approach based on its flexibility and its focus on the individual end-user. Over the last decade, I have mastered and applied the Prosci change model but found that it lacked some key change components that are needed for end-to-end change management programs.

In developing the AGS Change Model to become one of the most effective change management methods, I evaluated and defined a flexible change approach that was best for change practitioners, HR, and project leads. Read more: AGS Change Management Model for Change Practitioners.

Ogbe Airiodion

Questions or comments about the AGS change model? Click here to contact the AGS Change Management Team.


Bridges’ Transition Change Management Model

When you’re facilitating change in any organization, you have to focus on the planning element as well as understand how that change will impact your employees and other stakeholders.

If your change planning is too “top-heavy” and doesn’t focus enough on the people transitioning through the change, you have a good chance at failure.

One of the most effective change management models that is all about the personal journey through change is the William Bridges transitions model for change. The personal journey is at the heart of the William Bridges transition model.

William Bridges’ organizational change model argues that instead of focusing on the change itself, the focus should be put on the transition that people have to go through for the change to happen successfully. Read more: How Do You Use Bridges’ Transition Model to Facilitate Change? Pros & Cons.


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Questions or comments about the Bridges’ change framework? Click here to contact the AGS Change Management Team.


John Kotter’s Change Method and Theory

Why is John Kotter’s 8-Step change management model so popular?

The Kotter 8-step change management framework is very popular because it offers an easy-to-understand roadmap that change managers can follow, even if they’re new to change. Each step describes exactly what needs to happen to keep a change project on track.

John Kotter’s 8-step change framework focuses on the enthusiasm that one must generate, especially within the firm’s leadership, to make change happen. It lays out eight key transitional steps that take you through the process of initiating, managing, and sustaining change.

Looking at the pros and cons of Kotter’s change model is an excellent way to decide if it’s a good fit for your change team and organizational needs. You don’t want to just jump in and choose the first change model you run across; otherwise, you could end up having problems. Read more: Detailed Review: John Kotter’s Change Management Model.


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Questions or comments about the Kotter organizational change management model? Click here to contact the AGS Change Management Team.


Kurt Lewin Change Management Model

Kurt Lewin is often recognized as one of the pioneers of social psychology. He emigrated to the U.S. from Germany and is the person behind Lewin’s three-stage model for change management.

The Kurt Lewin model of change management includes a 3-stage process that many companies find simple to understand and implement. It’s one of several change management frameworks that organizations can use as a roadmap for change.

Lewin’s 3 stage model of change focuses on the transitions needed by people that are impacted by a change, comparing them to the freezing and unfreezing of water, and is designed to move an organization’s team past initial signs of resistance.

How do you know if Kurt Lewin’s organizational change methodology is the best one for your change project? What are the cons and pros of this change methodology? Will it provide you with all the steps you need for success and foster a positive environment for employees and other stakeholders? Read more: Kurt Lewin Change Model | Pros & Cons | Everything You Need to Know.


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Questions or comments about the Lewin change methodology model? Click here to contact the AGS Change Management Team.


McKinsey 7-S Change Model

Companies have multiple moving parts that can be impacted by a change. Even the smallest change can set off a ripple throughout an organization. Understanding all the pieces of business that can be impacted by the change is at the heart of the McKinsey 7S framework.

The 7S model, that McKinsey introduced back in the late 1970s takes a holistic look at what makes companies tick and how each element of a company needs to be in harmony for an organization to operate competitively and manage change successfully.

Click below to find out how the McKinsey 7S OCM methodology is used for organizational analysis and in change management projects. Bonus: We included a downloadable McKinsey 7S framework PPT and McKinsey 7S framework PDF that you can use to explain this McKinsey change management method to others.

McKinsey 7S Change Model Framework | All You Need to Know.


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Questions or comments about the 7S change process and model? Click here to contact the AGS Change Management Team.


Prosci ADKAR® Change Management Model

The Prosci ADKAR® Model is often considered one of the best change management methodologies by organizations across every industry. This is due to the ADKAR change management model’s flexibility and goal-oriented framework that guides individual and organizational change.

The Prosci ADKAR® Model is a goal-oriented change framework that was created by Jeff Hiatt, Prosci’s founder. ADKAR is an acronym that represents five key milestones that users need to achieve for lasting change.


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In spending decades studying change leaders and programs, noting what worked and what didn’t, and establishing how to effectively implement change and measure results, Prosci has been able to create a repeatable, scalable change management method for managing the people side of change.

When an organization implements a new solution, it is the employees and managers who eventually need to learn and use the new solution. If individuals are not successful in their individual transformations, then the solution will not achieve success.

The ADKAR OCM methodology has become one of the widely used top change management models because it is structured specifically for transiting the individual employee, which makes it a great change model for:

  • Planning change management activities
  • Diagnosing gaps
  • Developing corrective actions
  • Supporting managers and supervisors


Don’t Miss.

Scholarly articles for change management methodologies and other related business change process:

What is a change management methodology?

A change management methodology is a defined and structured process for implementing organizational change management. It outlines the steps you need for completing the three key stages of an organizational change management program. Read more: https://www.airiodion.com/organizational-change-management-methodologies/

What are the different change management methodologies?

The different change methods include: Accelerating Implementation Methodology (AIM), Airiodion Global Services (AGS) Change Model, Bridges’ Transition Change Management Framework John Kotter’s OCM Methodology and Theory, Kurt Lewin Change Model, McKinsey 7-S Change Model, Prosci Organizational Change Management Methodology (ADKAR)

What is Lewin's 3 Step Model?

The Lewin’s 3 stage model focuses on the transitions needed by people that are impacted by the change, comparing them to the freezing and unfreezing of water. Kurt theorized that to begin a successful change project, people need to be jolted out of their current equilibrium so they can transition to the new state of being, which is the post-change state or desired state. Read more at: https://www.airiodion.com/kurt-lewin-change-model/

What is Kotter Change Model?

The Kotter 8-step model is popular because it offers an easy-to-understand roadmap that change managers can follow, even if they’re new to change. Each step describes exactly what needs to happen to keep a change project on track. John Kotter’s 8-step model focuses on the enthusiasm that one must generate, especially within the firm’s leadership, to make change happen. It lays out eight steps that take you through the process of initiating, managing, and sustaining change. Read more at https://www.airiodion.com/john-kotter-change-model/

What are the 5 key elements of successful change management?

The key elements of a successful change management program includes leadership support, effective communications, a completed change impact assessment, successful training and enablement and ongoing reinforcement of the change.



Authors: Ogbe Airiodion (Senior Change Management Lead) and Francesca Crolley (AGS Cloud Content Producer)
Content on Airiodion Global Services (AGS)'s Airiodion.com website is copyrighted. Questions? Contact Airiodion Global Services (AGS) .

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External sources: https://www.prosci.com/adkar/applications-of-adkar, https://www.imaworldwide.com/aim-change-management-methodology, https://www.imaworldwide.com/blog/the-value-of-aim-change-management-certification