Change Management WalkMe TeamUpdated March 17, 2021

The Ultimate Change Management Process Flow

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The Ultimate Change Management Process Flow

Organizations come in all shapes and sizes. Charity, education, retail, financial, industrial, creative — they’re all completely different, right?


When it comes to organizational change, they’re exactly the same.

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We’re going to look at change management process flow examples from different industries. We’ll discover that, when it comes to behavior change, they all follow the same basic flow.

Change management process flow in education

This example of the change management process flow is for an educational organization.change-management-education

Image source: PPTA

It outlines industry specific considerations at each step of the process. However, this change management process flow also easily aligns with Lewin’s theoretical model for organizational change.

In fact, any change initiative could follow Lewin’s three stage flow. This could form the basis of your transformation initiative, whether you work in education or retail.  


Image source: Principles of Management

As far as a flow is concerned, there are processes within each of Lewin’s three stages. I break these down further in an article about Lewin’s change theory model.

Change management process flow in retail

Mary Freeman writes for Cisco:

“To make digital transformation work for your retail company, it can’t just be an IT project.”

It needs to be approached as an organizational or cultural change.

Freeman’s guidance to retail executives is as follows.

  1. Gain executive buy-in
  2. Take a programmatic approach
  3. Don’t neglect training
  4. Consider incentives

So, change managers and retail executives need to consider these four points. But that doesn’t mean you can’t use a generic template for your retail transformations. This one is based on Kotter’s 8 steps to change model.




Image source: Kotter Inc


This is also a helpful 5 stage process flow for change management.


Image source: Shadrok Global Business Solutions

These five stages can easily be applied to retail organizations, financial institutions, not-for-profits, or the hospitality sector.

Why? Because all organizations are made up of people. And people’s resistance is one of the biggest barriers to change.

Change management process flow in hospitality

This flow diagram is a helpful starting point for changes within your hospitality business.

tricordant-managing-change (1)

Image source: Tricordant

Fundamental to the success of every stage in this flow — and all the other flows we’ve looked at — is the vision for change.

Hospitality managers spearheading transitions must be clear on desired outcome and its benefits. Otherwise, you won’t win over stakeholders.

One way to clarify the vision is to go through the 4P’s of change. By asking yourself these questions, you can feel confident and prepared.

Purpose: What is the reason for/background to this change? What are the benefits?

Picture: What will things look like after the change? What would be the risk of not doing it (the “burning platform”)? Restate the benefits.

Part: What’s my part in the change? What do you expect me to do?

Plan: What’s the timeline? What are the key milestones? How is it all going to work?

The ultimate change management process flow

In reviewing the above theories and processes, I’ve developed the ultimate change management process flow.



Begin with a needs assessment and the 4 P’s of change. You must support your change proposal with evidence.


Who is this change affecting? What levels will the change impact? IT systems? Organizational hierarchy? Departmental processes? What are the costs and implications? What do you need from the organization to successfully put this change in place?


(A. UNFREEZE: Contract and engage for change)

STEP 1: Establish a sense of urgency

Remember, people are naturally resistant to change. What are the benefits?

STEP 2: Build guiding coalition

You need support for the change at all levels of the organization.

STEP 3: ESTABLISH THE APPROACH – create the vision and strategy

Use the work you did on the 4 P’s of change.

STEP 4: Communicate the change vision

An army of volunteers can help you communicate the change vision to stakeholders.

(B. CHANGE: Deliver and make change stick)

STEP 5: IMPLEMENT – empower or enable action

Put plans in place for every aspect of the change, including communications, training, and review.

Also, you must ensure that the organization is prepared for the change. There are no barriers to the change, nor conflicting behaviors or procedures.

STEP 6: Create short-term wins

Remember to celebrate success to maintain high motivation.

STEP 7: MONITOR – consolidate gains

Measure, monitor, evaluate. This is how you can be sure of success.

Monitoring and evaluation will enable you to anchor new positive behaviors into culture. You’ll also be able to catch old habits before they threaten the entire change process.


STEP 8: Anchor into culture

Don’t rush into this step. It takes time to form new habits. Only when the old habits seem out of place can the new behaviors become ingrained in culture.


So, you see, it really doesn’t matter what your organization is or does. This change management process flow can be applied to them all.

The step by step flow is generic. What is unique is how you engage with stakeholders to win them over.

The mere fact that you have a change management process flow will help you execute the change. One interesting technique is to share your flowchart with the organization, so everyone feels included in the process.

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