The Four Stages of Change

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It is often said that there are three things you can be assured of: Life, Death and….Change (although some people say taxes).

Many of us fear, resent and loathe change, but I’m not one of those people because I see change as a necessity and a challenge that you need to prepare for.

When you consider the extent of changes over the past 50 years it is universally accepted that we have experienced more change during this period than all the years leading up to it.

I remember watching Star Trek as a child and I was fascinated that Captain Kirk or Scotty could talk on a handheld phone and see the face of the person at the other end.  Yet, look at how much our technology has changed over the years with the iPhones and iPads and our ability to FaceTime people around the world.

I have been fortunate enough to be at the forefront of instituting change into many businesses and throughout my many lectures on the topic, this is what I have discovered and learned:

  • Change is difficult to manage
  • Your learn from your mistakes.
  • Practice makes perfect.

I would like to share with you a model that I always consider and refer to when I am preparing for change in the workplace.  While there are many versions of this Change Model, I like this simple one because it applies regardless of where the change occurs.

The four stages of change (usually in this order) are:

  • Stage 1 – Denial – “I’ve seen the likes of this person before!”. “They will come in make a big noise, wreck everything and then leave!” Have you heard this kind of talk in the corridor before?
  • Stage 2 – Resistance – This is the most challenging stage of change because people will undermine you, “White Ant” you, speak behind your back, sabotage you and not follow instructions.
  • Stage 3 – Exploration – This stage involves leading people. This is where they start exploring the opportunities in the change
  • Stage 4 – Commitment – This is where you need them to be. Once you have this you are well on your way to success!

If you would like to learn more about the four stages of change and how to manage change, please email me on

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