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Willingness to Change

Willingness to Change

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Quick Overview

This model divides people confronted with change into three (target) groups: reluctant to change, without an opinion and those that are easily swayed.

Related Models: Grief CyclePeople and MotivationCircle of InfluenceWillingness to ChangeCore QuadrantsComfort ZonePeople and Competences;MaslovWill Skill Matrix


Willingness to Change

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  • Willingness to Change


Willingness to Change



This model was found in the notes of a Coach & Commitment project management triptych.    

Related Models: Grief CyclePeople and MotivationCircle of InfluenceWillingness to ChangeCore QuadrantsComfort ZonePeople and Competences;MaslovWill Skill Matrix



The model  

The upper section of the model divides people confronted with change into three (target) groups:    

      Those that are reluctant to change (the resistors 20%);

      Those without an opinion (the silent majority 30%), those that are easily swayed (late followers 15%), those that are skeptical (the skeptics 15%);

      Those that are willing to change (quick followers 20%).

The bottom section of this model shows the pitfalls for the people who initiate or carry out the change. The section shows that those who initiate or carry out the change often fall into the trap of incorrectly answering the question, “which of the three groups gets the most attention and with whom do we communicate the most”? The initiators often end up giving the most attention to the first group: those that are reluctant to change. The challenge for the leaders is to give each group the right kind of attention as well as the proper communication messages and style.

People change under the following circumstances:    

      Under pressure;

      If they can see the benefit;

      If they have influence over the process of change;

      If they are given time to emotionally process the experience. (Kubler Ross model).

People with high and low levels of certainty are less likely to change than people with an average amount of certainty.

Depending on the phase of the change process and the nature of peoples’ resistance, the communication style will need to be adapted. At the beginning of the process, it’s important to inform people (presenting information, providing arguments). For those that are skeptical or provide counter-arguments, it’s critical to convince them of the necessity of the change.  Creating enthusiasm for change helps people to believe in the changes. It encourages a ‘we’ vibe and can be seen as a reward for a job well done.  If resistance to change persists, it’s important to negotiate. Depending on the situation, several of the following styles can be used:

      Relational style (finding out why people are resistant to change);

      Normative style (announcing the expectations involving the change and what exactly is being offered);   

      Logical style (clarifying the advantages and disadvantages);  

      Last but not least is forcing. The last of the communication styles, this one makes clear to people that they don’t have any other choice but to cooperate with the change.


What can you do with it?

Being prepared is just the first step on the slippery slope towards change. But it’s a fundamentally important first step. Every journey begins with the first step, and without that first step there is no final destination. In order to take the first step, the step towards developing the readiness to change, people need to have awareness and consciousness.

To apply this model means that the responsible ‘changer’ understands the human tendency to resist change. To ignore the ‘status quo’ is to leap into the unknown, something people don’t normally do. Time, attention, the right message and the proper communication style are extremely important when it comes to involving people and getting them to take responsibility for change.

We wish you a happy change! 

Related Models: 

-   Grief Cycle

-   People and Motivation

-   Circle of Influence

-   Willingness to Change

-   Core Quadrants

-   Comfort Zone

-   People and Competences;

-   Maslov

-   Will Skill Matrix