Monthly Archives: July 2011

Unsure about ADKAR

Recently, the acronym ADKAR came up in some discussions at work around Organizational Change Management. Not knowing anything about ADKAR, I Googled it, and the first result is an overview page:

They list some examples of change management, both personal and professional. One personal example is a father trying to get his son to improve his batting – dad is convinced that his son is not as good at this as the other boys on his baseball team. So dad tries a bunch of things, and can’t get the son interested. The example continues:

The father’s attempt to educate his son failed and resulted only in a frustrated parent. He finally sat down with his son and asked him why he would not watch the tape and use it to improve his batting. His son replied that he just enjoyed playing baseball with his friends, and it did not matter to him if his batting was as good as some of the other boys.

At this point, it feels like that story is headed for some sort of heartwarming moment, where the dad hugs the son and just lets him play the game. Awwww.

Nope. The very next paragraph is:

In this example the father skipped elements of the ADKAR model (from awareness to knowledge). His son had no desire to change and was content just to be out there playing the game. Dad’s efforts to build knowledge failed because his son lacked the desire to change.

Now, I don’t know who wrote this, but that made it really easy for me to picture them as one of those parents that scream at their kids and the Little League coaches during the game, then try to beat up the umpires in the parking lot afterwards.

But wait, there’s more!

Eventually, they have you do an exercise. It begins like this:

Begin by identifying a change you are having difficulty making in another person (a friend, family member or work associate). Complete the worksheets to the best of your ability, rating each area on a scale of 0% to 100%.

Be sure you select a change you have been trying to make happen in a friend, colleague or family member that is not working regardless of your continued efforts. Answer and assign a score for the following questions.

How about identifying a change you are having difficulty making in someone else, then figuring out how you need to change instead?

So, as far as I can tell, ADKAR seems to be change management for manipulative jackasses. This may not be true, I don’t know, but that article was very off-putting for me. Count me out.

Oh, and if you’re still wondering, the acronym stands for “Awareness – Desire – Knowledge – Ability – Reinforcement”.

Three Words

The Brick Elephant ate the whole fig tree in one shot. (Yup, and then he started right in on another one!)

The Stainless Steel Elephant looked disdainful. There’s simply no justification for gluttony like that – it’s undignified. She sniffed over the sad state of youth today. (Maybe she is older than Brick, but he’s fully growed up. Snooty old hag!)

The Plastic Elephant looked impressed. He knew his limitations, and if he tried to eat a whole fig tree at once he’d just be sick. He probably wouldn’t be able to finish it, anyway. (That Brick, though, he doesn’t even think twice about it – there’s not much as slows him down!)

The Flesh-and-Blood Elephant looked determined. She was sweet on Brick, and found her own fig tree and set to, trying to impress her hero. (She kept glancing over at him – you could tell that hussy was hoping he’d notice her. As if!)

The Helium Elephant didn’t look like anything much at all, and floated off, unnoticed. (Good riddance to bad rubbish, I say. And don’t come back round here, neither!)

The Wooden Elephant looked shocked. Shocked! In conflicts between pachyderms and forest, she doesn’t know who to support. (”Can’t we all just get along?” No, we can’t, so shut up already!)

And, finally, the Force-Field Elephant looked thoughtful. He then transformed himself into a fig tree – not so much to change sides as to gain perspective. (He’d change back right quick if Brick headed his way, though – you can bet on that!)

The Brick Elephant, completely oblivious to all this fuss, finished his second fig tree and calmly moved on to the third. (That’s old Brick for you!)


It starts with a sound like steel shattering. Then the low roar of an earthquake, the kind where the ground rises up to slap you in the face.

The next thing you know, you’re engulfed in the chaotic center of Armageddon. Nothing about this is random or undisciplined – this ultimate fury is expressed with military precision. This is fury, yes, but fury practiced, directed, controlled, perfected.

When the screaming, long awaited, finally begins, the anticipation realized does not release your tension, it reignites it. Dreams, fears, expectations, nightmares: reformed, rebuilt, redirected. Remember what it means to fear darkness, beasts, strangers.

Remember your infant fear of loud noises, loud voices – turn, and the fear is gone – but the loud noises, loud voices remain.

These speak to you – the words may not matter, the way words in a dream may not matter. It’s the tone, the texture, the intention interacting with parts of your brain that don’t have language. The broadest emotions – love, hope, joy – all people know them, they can be expressed in any language.

But fear and hunger – all living things know what these are, with or without language.

So this moment touches a generality within you – beyond individual, tribe, nation, people, species, genus, family, order, class, phylum, kingdom, domain – it touches life.