The ADKAR Model


Digital transformation, robotic process automation or organizational restructuration, change is everywhere! However, change is not an easy process to implement. Indeed, if the organization is forced to evolve in the light of technological developments, change actually comes from the employees; if they don’t adopt changes, the organization will fail in its initiative to change. It is often complex and difficult to get change accepted by individuals within the organization. That is what change management is all about.

Change management encourages individuals to accept change in order to meet organizational success and outcomes. To influence people in their individual transitions to change, change management bases its approach on three levels of change management: individual change management, organizational change management and enterprise change management capability.

Individual change management is based on disciplines like psychology and neuroscience. It aims to understand several factors at individual level like:

  •  How is change experienced by individuals?

  • What do they need to adopt change?

  • How can they succeed in their individual transition?

  • What messages do individuals need to hear when and from whom?

  • When is the optimal time to teach someone a new skill?

  • How to coach people to demonstrate new behaviours?

  • What makes changes “stick” in someone’s work?

 A methodology, The ADKAR model for individual change, was developed by Prosci after years of studying how individuals experience and are influenced in times of change. This model will be developed in this article.

When a project has an impact on hundreds or thousands of people, it is often difficult to manage change on a person-by-person basis. Organizational change management provides the steps to follow at the project level to ensure impacted employees will succeed in their individual transition to change.

Enterprise change management capability is reached when change management is effectively integrated in each layer of the organisation allowing adaptation of the enterprise to the ever-changing world.

Let’s focus on individual change management and more specifically on the ADKAR model. In this article, you will learn about the ADKAR model and its milestones, aligned with some other change enabling methodologies.


  • Introduction

  • The ADKAR model

    • Awareness of the need of change

    • Desire to support the change

    • Knowledge of how to change

    • Ability to demonstrate new skills and behaviours

    • Reinforcement to make the change stick

    • Consequences of missing steps in the ADKAR model

  • Aligning ADKAR milestones with the waterfall model

  • Aligning ADKAR milestones with the Agile model

  • Aligning ADKAR milestones with Six Sigma

  • Aligning ADKAR milestones with lean management

  • Conclusion

About the author


Sarah Walu Onya has four and a half years of experience in the Banking sector. 3-lingual FR/NL/ENG with a Master’s degree in Economics. Sarah joined Initio in January 2018 as Consultant and is active in the Business Line Governance & Projects.  She acquired experience in change management and process analysis in leading Banking projects.