Using Lewin’s Change Management Model in the Workplace

Lewin's Change Management model can provide clear directions to change management a straightforward way of supporting communication and empowering everyone to adapt to the new status quo.

In business, change is vital for growth, and how a company manages to change largely depends on several factors, including the nature of business, the people involved, and what needs to be changed. The latter needs to be determined and supported by the senior management for the entire organization to handle change well. If the management isn’t comfortable with the status quo, then it will be challenging to demonstrate why a change is necessary.

Kurt Lewin’s Change Management Model known as Unfreeze – Change – Refreeze sheds light on organizational change. Developed in the 1940s, this model has remained a cornerstone in explaining the organizational environments’ change processes. In its three stages, the model illustrates how a business can transition from a status quo to the desired state. He explained the organizational change analogy using the shape of a block of ice.  

The Rationale Behind Lewin's Change Management Model

If you have an ice cube and wish to transform it into a different shape, what do you do? The first step is to melt it so it can be tweaked to change (unfreeze). Then you have to mold into the desired shape (change). Finally, you have to solidify it to that shape (refreeze). 

Change management in an organization follows the same cycle. Where you first prepare for what you want to achieve and then focus on achieving it. You start by deciding what you want to change, how to achieve it, and the results you want to see. 

Unfreezing, Changing, and Refreezing

Let’s take a look at how this model applies to organizational change and leadership development:

Unfreezing

The very first step for any business ready to change its status quo is to accept that change is inevitable. The primary goal of the unfreezing stage is for an organization to accept that change is necessary, and there is a need to come up with compelling reasons to support that. These reasons can include a decline in returns, reduced employee productivity, frequent cases of burnout, and a high employee turnover rate.

This is normally the hardest part, as you may invoke all kinds of reactions when explaining why a change is necessary. More specifically, you need to be prepared to ensure those comfortable with the status quo are ready to buy into your idea. This may be the right time to engage a consultant who can provide an independent perspective without any fear.

Changing

Once convinced a change is necessary, the next thing is to look for ways to actualize those changes. This involves looking for new ways to do things and how to support them to remain on the right track. Some of the core things you need to implement in the changing stage include:

  • Communicate often: Explain how the change will affect everyone, the benefits it will bring, and how they need to prepare for what is coming.
  • Dispel rumors: Misinformation is a great enemy of progress, and you need to be prepared to tackle any rumor that arises. Answering questions and dealing with problems as soon as they pop can go a long way in dispelling any rumors likely to hurt your progress.
  • Empower your employees: Some employees will be slow to adapt to the new direction, and one way of ensuring they recognize the benefits a change brings is to support them in the process. This is also another great time for HR managers to leverage the services of business consulting. 


Transitioning from unfreeze to the change stage requires excellent leadership and constant sharing of information to sustain the change. This is important to ensure this stage is a success. Otherwise, it may be short-lived, failing to meet its goals. The
Change Curve model can be very helpful here in helping you understand how different people respond to change. Notably, its application can help you put up with everyone involved.

Refreeze

Your organization is ready to refreeze when people have embraced the new change. Some of the signs that people involved have accepted the new state as the new status quo include:

  • Stable organizational chart.
  • No longer resisting any improvement. 
  • Their strategies, activities, and norms have transformed as per the new state. 


Ensuring your organization gets to the refreeze stage is a big step, but still, there is more to be achieved to ensure all you have done doesn’t go down the drain. Don’t be quick to assume they have fully internalized the changes and are happy with the new way of working. You need to make sure everyone feels confident and comfortable about it. Some of the things you can do to attain that include:

  • Ensure all the changes are implemented all the time.
  • Offer training: Transitioning to a new way of working requires new techniques, skills, and support systems. Determine ways of ensuring all employees have the right skills and information to remain competitive. There are several ways of achieving this, including hiring a business consultant and enrolling them in online programs. 
  • Come up with creative ways of supporting the new norm: For example, establishing a feedback process.
  • Celebrate success: It doesn’t have to be a big party. Even a small one can help your employees find closure and underpin the motivation that will carry them through the upcoming achievements.

The Bottom Line

Lewin’s 3 Stage Model of Change remains one of the key references for change management despite criticism from some. Its flexibility in providing clear directions to change management explains why it has stood the test of time. Moreover, it provides a straightforward way of supporting communication and empowering everyone to adapt to the new status quo. Use it today to manage the changes your organization needs to move to the next level —and if you need a helping hand in the process, don’t forget to turn to business coaching.

Sounding Board is a leader in providing exceptional leadership coaching according to a company’s specific needs. We will ensure you receive the right level of support when transitioning to a new way of working. For more information on how Sounding Board can support your company, click here.

Join Our Newsletter!

Newsletter Signup

Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on facebook

Request A Demo

We Develop The World's Most Impactful Leaders

From leading remote workforces, building productive teams, to improving diversity, equity, and inclusion, Sounding Board has virtual and scalable enterprise solutions that are urgently required to adapt to rapidly changing workplace environments.

Demo Request

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Play Video
Play Video
Play Video

Piyush Gupta

VP of Product and Technology
Piyush Gupta is VP of Product and Technology at Sounding Board and champions the voice of customers and users with deep empathy. Piyush envisions Sounding Board to be the first window of coaching experience for professionals and leaders worldwide. His approach is deeply rooted in proven scientific research, modeling human behaviors, and data-informed insights to deliver mindset shifts and desired business outcomes for organizations at scale. He believes that a world-class UX is key to drive simplicity that will lead to millions of professionals to access coaching for their development. Piyush co-invented the world’s first ‘landmark intelligent driving directions’ technology that led Google to redesign their routing algorithms for the Asian markets. For the next decade, he led two disruptive FinTech companies to the market leadership positions and delivered two award-winning products that serve more than 70 million users worldwide. His teams filed 20+ patents while he himself authored three patents. He is an active startup investor and advises selected AI-driven startups on business and product strategy. He is the recipient of the World Summit Award, one of the most prestigious international honors for product innovators. In addition, he is a James Swartz fellow, the most prestigious fellowship at Carnegie Mellon University funded by the founder of the iconic venture firm, Accel Partners. Piyush holds an MS in Software Management from Carnegie Mellon University.

Tommy Perkins

SVP OF SALES, PARTNERSHIP & CUSTOMER SUCCESS

Tommy is at his best helping clients think through complex challenges in order to create a positive impact on their organizations. He thrives when interacting with others whether helping his team succeed or working with clients to build long-term partnerships. He has extensive experience consulting with organizations on driving their employee experience, guiding organizations through change, and working to ensure organizations are moving the needle when it comes to their results.

Most recently, Tommy was a Client Services Leader overseeing some of GP’s most prized accounts on a global level. His responsibilities included overall client growth strategy, retention, and satisfaction. He represented all of GP Strategies’ major business lines including leadership, coaching, and engagement, digital transformation, outsourced services, and technology implementation solutions.

Before GP Strategies, Tommy spent several years with TTEC Digital (formerly rogenSI) where he led the sales team,  eventually becoming the regional Learning & Performance practice leader for North America. While managing the P&L and sales team he also led the largest global relationship for the firm (Deloitte Globally). During his time at TTEC, he focused on delivering blended learning solutions that incorporate technology and hands-on training. Before TTEC Digital, he spent several years dedicated to strength-based leadership disrupting the business landscape regarding performance management and employee engagement with thought leader Marcus Buckingham at The Marcus Buckingham Company / TMBC (now ADP).

Tommy has had the privilege of working with some of the most well-known global brands in professional services, retail, technology, and healthcare including Deloitte, Facebook, Microsoft, Bank of America, Novartis, Gap Inc., lululemon, and Intel. Several projects he led for Deloitte were Global GNPS, New Partner Pivot, NextGen Partner Program Deloitte China, Present to Win, the RPM project on performance management, and Unconscious Bias.

Tommy holds a BS in Health Sciences from Texas A&M University, and an MBA from Universidad del CEMA.

Learn How to Build Agile and Productive Leaders Now!

From leading remote workforces, building productive teams, to improving diversity, equity, and inclusion, Sounding Board has virtual and scalable enterprise solutions that are urgently required to adapt to rapidly changing workplace environments.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

We respect your privacy! Your information will not be shared

Join our coaching team

Our expert coaches combine top notch coaching, business acumen and organizational savvy to truly become your leadership “Sounding Board”. Sounding Board coaches are all industry certified and strongly vetted going through a 3 step qualification process and receiving ongoing supervision and development.

Lori Mazan

Co-Founder & CCO Sounding Board, Inc.
Lori Mazan is the Co-Founder and Chief Coaching Officer of Sounding Board, the preeminent global leadership development enterprise platform changing the face of leadership development through innovative technology for leaders at all levels of an organization. Lori is a seasoned executive coach who has guided hundreds of corporate executives through 1:1 coaching focused on business outcomes and developing critical leadership skills. Client companies advanced by Lori’s expertise include Fortune titans such as Chevron and Sprint as well as high growth and public companies like Intellikine, and Tapjoy, plus 10XGenomics, which became a public company in 2019 while top executives worked with Lori and the Sounding Board team.
Lori has spent the last 25 years coaching C-Suite executives to leadership excellence. Many of those public and private company CEO’s expressed that they would have liked this caliber of coaching earlier in their careers. Inspired by these experiences, Lori joined with Christine to launch Sounding Board as a feedback-driven, cloud-based leadership coaching platform that could maintain best-in-class leadership coaching while lowering costs to make it affordable and scalable for leaders at every level of their careers.
Before founding Sounding Board, Lori received her Masters’ in Adult Educational Psychology/Counseling from the University of San Francisco and a Bachelors’ in Psychology from the University of Virginia. Lori is an educator and has spent over 10 years as a professor of social psychology and group dynamics while acting as the interim Dean of Students at Holy Names University, She is certified by the industry’s gold standard, the Coaches Training Institute, and is a founding member of the Genentech Preferred Network of Coaches. Sounding Board is one of <3% of sole female founded startups receiving venture funding. In 2019 Sounding Board was selected as 1 of 7 startups (out of 100+ applicants) as part of SAP’s HR tech cohort, a group that represents the rising stars of the next-gen HR ecosystem.

Christine Tao

Co-Founder & CEO Sounding Board, Inc.
Christine Tao is the co-founder & CEO at Sounding Board, a Silicon Valley startup redefining how organizations are developing their leaders. Her extraordinarily rapid career growth to executive management in the media, mobile and tech sectors of Silicon Valley became her inspiration for founding Sounding Board. As she began to manage larger teams and be responsible for growing revenues, it became clear that she needed a “sounding board” to coach her on the development of her leadership skills. That’s where her Sounding Board co-founder, Lori Mazan came on the scene. A seasoned executive coach focused on leadership development, Lori coached Christine on real-world leadership skills that had a direct impact on business outcomes. Based on her positive and impactful experience with leadership development, Christine was driven to make leadership development coaching accessible to people at all levels of the organization.
Christine advises several startups, is a budding angel investor and is also a Tory Burch Foundation Fellow, a foundation dedicated to investing in the success and sustainability of women entrepreneurs.
Prior to co-founding Sounding Board, Christine was a Senior Vice President of Developer Relations at Tapjoy, a venture-backed, leading mobile advertising & publishing network. She led the growth of Tapjoy’s publisher advertising business from 0 to over $100 million in revenues in less than 3 years. Prior to that she led e-commerce partnerships and strategy at YouTube. Christine holds an MBA in Marketing & Operations from Wharton and a BA in Business Administration from UC Berkeley.

Want to learn more about how Sounding Board can help your organization?

Simply fill out the form below and we will be in contact soon. If you are interested in becoming a Sounding Board Coach please visit our careers page.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.