Tag Archives: Nonfiction

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”.