The Domino Change Model

Learn how the Domino Change Model helps ensure successful organizational change.

Organizational change is a big topic, and researchers have been studying it and writing about it for a long time. Harvard professor John Kotter talks about an eight-step process for successful change that follows three phases (Kotter, 2012):

  • Creating the climate for change

  • Engaging and enabling the organization

  • Implementing and sustaining for change

The early 20th-century psychologist Kurt Lewin presented a similar idea:

  • Unfreeze

  • Change

  • Refreeze

These models can be thought-provoking. For anticipating the kinds of support needed for a successful Agile adoption, I like a change model that is inspired by the work of Tim Knoster, which I will refer to as the “Domino Change Model.”

In the Domino Change Model (DCM), a successful organization change requires these elements:

  • Vision

  • Consensus

  • Skills

  • Resources

  • Incentives

  • Action plan

If all elements are present, a successful change occurs. If any of the elements is missing, however, the change will not occur. You can think of it as dominoes that must be in place. If any of the dominoes is missing, change will not occur. This illustration shows what happens when each of the dominoes is missing:

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