Let's face it. Most organizations struggle when attempting to implement significant change. One important concept from the corporate world over the past decades is that of 'change readiness' which relates to the level of employees' competence and commitment as they adapt to new structures, systems, processes and ways of working. Of course, there is also a psychological and emotional aspect to change readiness. The Transition Curve as described by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, Rosabeth Moss Kanter and William Bridges has been with us for quite some time now and it nicely captures the process of letting go that each individual needs to go through in order to embrace major change.
So why should your organization now start working with the Four Rooms of Change® and it's associated tools?
While on the surface many existing theories may seem similar to the Four Rooms of Change, on closer examination some significant differences emerge. Most existing theories are illustrated using a continuum of peaks and valleys along an X-Y axis - an individual moves through a experience of change with associated emotions over an undefined period of change. The Four Rooms of Change theory is based upon four psychological states of mind and can therefore be reliably measured. Organizations and management teams thrive on data and often need it in order to take action. The Organizational Barometer© provides you with that data. This organizational assessment tool derived from the theory allows you to measure the climate for change within your organization, create a common language for group and organizational dialog, identify critical issues and find ways of handling them.
The barometer is an excellent alternative to anonymous employee opinion surveys or can be used to enhance the quality and clarify the meaning of data that you have already gathered from a survey. It also helps people to take action. The tool is often administered to large groups following an initial introduction to the Four Rooms of Change and then leads to an immediate exchange of experiences, needs and expectations. Finally specific action plans are agreed upon which can then be implemented immediately as part of a 'real time' strategic change intervention within your business.
A second key advantage of the Four Rooms of Change theory is its flexibility. It applies to us as individuals but can also apply to teams, groups and the organization as a whole. Perhaps the most powerful learning for many groups and especially for senior executive teams is fact that individuals and groups within the same organization can be operating from different rooms at the same time. Because groups build the theory out of their own personal experiences, your facilitators will rarely struggle to gain 'buy in' from those participating in the process. When used as part of an organizational assessment or 'discovery process' the model and its associated tools provide a powerful platform and a common language for organizational dialog which then ultimately leads to significant and sustainable organizational change.
Flexibility also means that the tools can be - and have been - customized to specific social or organizational situations in which cultural change is a key enabler of success. The Gender Equality Barometer, Diversity & Inclusion Barometer, Lean Management Barometer and Sports Team Barometer are all good examples of this. Planned future applications include a Corporate Sustainability Barometer and Creativity & Innovation Barometer.
Finally for those that wish to go deeper, the Four Rooms of Change can help managers and leaders of change to understand how individual preferences tend to drag people into certain psychological rooms or states of mind and may prevent them from experiencing others; especially under stress and anxiety. These differences cannot only be observed as significant differences between people in everyday life; they can actually be measured and predicted. This was actually the starting point of Claes Janssen's research in the 1960s and 1970s. No other theory of change picks up on these individual differences.
With current users and managers one recurring comment about the Four Rooms of Change theory and its associated tools in the business context is, 'It works.' In conclusion, if you are looking for a theory, model or tools that provide individuals, groups, organizations and social systems the energy and initiative to change, you should try the Four Rooms of Change®.