Change Management

Change Management Strategies for Growing Startups: Comparing Bridges, Merron, and Kotter Models

I graduated from my Executive MBA program back in 2014, and this blog post has been sitting in my drafts until today, when I decided to ask GPT-3.5 to help me structure my ideas about mixing and matching change management models and adapting them for a startup environment.

Change is an essential part of any growing organization, and startups are no exception. As your organization grows, change becomes more frequent and complex, and effective change management strategies become critical to achieving your goals.

There are several change management models to choose from, each with its own set of strengths and weaknesses. The Bridges, Merron, and Kotter models are three of the most commonly used approaches.

Understanding Change Management Strategies

Think of the Bridges model as a ship on a voyage. The ship’s captain is the single leader who is responsible for driving the change forward, and the crew are the team members who need to be aligned with the change. The captain needs to create a sense of urgency to set the ship in motion, and the crew needs to be on board with the change to keep the ship moving in the right direction.

The Merron model is like a puzzle, with each piece representing a different aspect of the organization that needs to be aligned for the change to be successful. By putting all the pieces together, you create a comprehensive approach to change management that can be tailored to your organization’s specific needs.

The Kotter model is like building a house. You need a solid foundation to support the change, and each step of the process builds on the previous one. By following the steps in the right order, you can create a more coordinated approach to change management that’s suitable for larger organizations.

Build-Your-Own Change Management Experience Modeling

But what if none of these models are right for your organization? That’s where an out-of-the-box approach comes in. By combining elements of different models or creating a customized approach, you can create a change management strategy that’s tailored to your organization’s specific needs.

Getting Team Buy-in

For example, imagine you’re a startup that’s struggling to get buy-in from team members for a new product direction. Instead of following the Bridges model, where the focus is on creating a single leader, you could try a more collaborative approach. By involving the entire team in the decision-making process and allowing them to have input on the direction of the product, you create a sense of ownership and accountability that can lead to a more successful outcome.

Potential Next Steps

Managing change in startups requires a flexible, adaptable approach. By understanding the different change management models available to you and tailoring them to your organization’s specific needs, you can successfully navigate the waters of change and achieve your goals. In your next challenge, go think outside the box and try new approaches – you might be surprised by the results.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Bridges, Merron, and Kotter change management models and how they compare to one another, there are many great resources available to you. Other folks have written about leveraging change models to chart your own path, so I encourage you to also take a look at Prosci, Cognology, HBR, and SolutionsIQ. If you’re interested in exploring this topic further, I encourage you to do some research on your own and see what you can learn.

Photo by Brad Starkey on Unsplash

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