ADKAR® Model, created by Prosci®‘s founder Jeff Hiatt, is a goal-oriented change management model used in the process of individual and organizational change. It is based on a simple idea that organizational change can be achieved through personal change. Organizational change happens when people do their job differently. To do that, they themselves need to change.

ADKAR letters represent 5 stages of the change process on individual basis. Those are the milestones that people need to achieve to change and to make the change last. It starts with the awareness of why the change is needed, the desire to be a part of a change, the knowledge to know what to do, and the ability to actually do that. At this stage the change happens, and the last step is the reinforcement to make the change last.

5 milestones of ADKAR


ADKAR® Model is based on 20 years of research with over 4500 participants. Both model and methodology are unique and come from collective worldwide “lessons learned” by those who are implementing change. According to research, 97% of participants said that ADKAR® was either somewhat or extremely effective as a structured approach to change management.

  • ADKAR® Model is focusing on driving individual change to achieve organizational results.
  • As a goal-orientated model it sets clear goals for change management activities and measurable outcomes.
  • The simple framework makes it user-friendly for everyone involved in managing change. It provides understandable language for everyone within an organization to describe and discuss the changes.
  • It comes hand-in-hand with project management. A project brings a solution, while the Model focuses on its adoption and usage.


According to Prosci’s research, the people side of change is cited as the most common reason for project failure. We are all familiar with the project output being realized, but the outcomes are not as close as expected. Organizations often invest solely in the technical side of the solution that brings change, but few pay attention to the people who will need to bring that change to life by changing the way they work.

Managing organizational changes is far more successful when leaders are aware of the people side of change and understand how it affects individuals. There are tools, models and methodology that can help them board individuals on a journey to change and cope with resistance. It is individuals who collectively make up an organization, and organizational change is therefore made of accumulated individual changes.


ADKAR® Model is a process-oriented approach. The Model presents five milestones of an individual’s path through the change process and those correspond to three states of change.

In the CURRENT state of change, it is important to recognize the need for change, to understand what change will bring or what will happen if the change does not happen. It is important to onboard individuals to actively support and engage in the change process.

In the TRANSITION state, the focus is on empowering people to handle the change. It is important they know what to do and are able to develop needed skills and behaviors to successfully move through this state.

In the FUTURE state, it is all about sustaining the change. It is human nature to return to a more familiar environment and it is highly important to reinforce change to achieve desired outcomes.


Successful change requires integrating individual change management with organizational change management. Prosci offers another component of methodology known as the Prosci 3-Phase Process.

It provides strategic and step-by-step approach to organizational change management. The link between individual and organizational change management is what differentiates Prosci Methodology from others and makes it the world leading methodology.

5 milestones of ADKAR


The 3-phase process is the structure for organizational change. It includes research-based assessments and templates that project- or change managers can use to work through the change initiatives they are driving.

The 3-phases are:

  1. Preparing for change
  2. Managing change
  3. Reinforcing change

Every two years, Prosci updates the methodology, its tools and assessments with insights from the latest Best Practices in Change Management Benchmarking Report. This enables change practitioners to keep pace with best-in-class approaches.


In the 1st phase, change and project teams prepare to design change management plans and it is crucial to understand the situation they are dealing with. They can help set the situational awareness by:

Assessment of change – scope, number of employees impacted, type of change, scope of change from the current state.

Assessment of the organization – culture and value system, capacity for change, leadership styles and power distribution, residual effects of past changes, middle management’s predisposition toward the change, employee readiness for change.

The outputs of this phase are:

  • Change characteristic profile
  • Organizational attributes profile
  • Change management team structure
  • Sponsor assessment, structure and roles
  • Impact assessment
  • Change management strategy


With the information gathered in the first phase, the change and project management team focuses on creating plans and integrating them with a project plan. The plans/levers are there to support the individuals being impacted by the project. Those plans help them move through the ADKAR® Model:

This plan aims to answer the questions that employees might have and ensures that the right message is sent to the right audience at the right time from the right sender through the right channel.

Each Prosci’s best practices benchmarking studies shows that active and visible sponsorship is the greatest overall contributor to success. Senior leaders add authority and legitimacy to change. The roadmap outlines the specific actions that leaders need to take to become great sponsors.

Managers and supervisors are closest to the employees and are key allies during the change process. They need to gain the skills and tools to effectively coach employees. Coaching takes place on two levels: individual coaching and group coaching.

Training is a necessary and often used approach, but alone it is not enough to enable a successful change. This plan documents the requirements for individuals to make a successful transition and ensures that training occurs with enough understanding.

Resistance is a natural response to change. This plan helps teams to be more proactive in mitigating and reacting to resistance. It includes both proactive resistance management and reactive resistance management. Resistance can be prevented or, at least, its impact on the project can be minimized.


An often overlooked but very critical phase in a process is to sustain a change. The third phase helps project- and change teams develop a mechanism to measure how well the change is taking hold. New behaviors are required and new skills are needed. It is important to identify and correct the gaps if they occur.

In this phase:

  • Changes in behavior are measured
  • Corrective action plans are developed
  • Reinforcement mechanisms are in place
  • Hard work of individuals or groups is recognized
  • Success is celebrated
  • Change management efforts are reviewed for future projects