The Change Curve


for your interest in the Change Curve. Below you will find:

(1) the best source of materials on using the Change Curve,

(2) suggested Program Copy for my presentation based on the Change Curve and related planning strategies, and

(3) reprint of my article on the Change Curve from CONVENE, Feb. 2000.


(1) Materials for using The Change Curve are available from HRDQ (Organization Design and Development, Inc.)

at 800-633-4533.


(2) Suggested Program Copy for your conferees:

Coping with Change:

Core Competency for the New Economy

Are significant changes looming in your industry, organization, or work-group? Do you have a strategy to deal with them -- and help others do so?

Typically, even when they know that a change is inevitable, only 12-15% of employees respond positively and constructively. In this session you will master three proven strategies for dealing with changes -- strategies that will enable you to turn them to your ultimate advantage.

Change favors the prepared mind -- but it can capsize the inept. Come join the Vanguard who are prepared to ride the waves of change into a profitable and rewarding future.


(3) Reprint of article from CONVENE, Feb., 2000:

Where Are YOU on the "Change Curve"?

Ronald Gross

Think of a significant change that is occurring right now in your organization. Make it a change which will definitely come to pass over the next year.

Which of these attitudes best expresses your response to this change?

1. DENIAL ­ The change won't affect me.

2. RESISTANCE ­ I really don't want to deal with

3. EXPLORATION ­ How might I cope with this?

4. COMMITMENT ­ I can see how I can make this
work for me.

These four responses are the stages through which most people go, when confronted with a change in their work-place.

Understanding this process will enable you to deal successfully with change yourself ­ as well as helping colleagues and staff who are at different stages in the process.

At association conferences , I use this Change Curve to help audiences see how they and their colleagues are reacting to changes they are experiencing in their field.

I always choose an example that is highly-relevant to the audience -- the favorites during 1999 were Y2K Compliance, down-sizing, and opportunities presented by new technologies. (It's fun seeing the favorites for 2000 emerging!)

What's astonishing is how similarly professionals respond to such challenges ­ in whatever field, and whether the challenges are positive or negative. Consistently, a large percentage of them remain mired far too long in the stages of Denial or Resistance. They cling to the hope that they will not really need to change.

The percentage of them who begin immediately to explore and develop their options is appallingly small. Our research reveals that in field after field ­ ranging from health care to retailing ­ the proportion of these "early responders" is the same: 12 ­ 15%!

The other 85% adopt attitudes like "Maybe it will skip my division" or "The best thing I can do is just hunker down and continue to do what I've been doing."

After introducing an audience to the Change Curve, I ask several key questions.

Where are YOU on the Change Curve?

Where does your BOSS stand?

How far along are your peers and colleagues?

Where would you place those who report directly to you?

There are various ways you can capture and display such responses. For the largest groups, I use an electronic "Responder System" (see my previous column in CONVENE, June, 1999). Conferees can punch in their responses anonymously, and the audience's cumulative profile appears on the screen

For smaller groups (up to 100), participants can indicate their positions on the Change Curve by placing giant day-glow colored dots on a mural-sized poster of the Change Curve ­ red for their own position, blue for their colleagues, etc.

Once participants have "bought into" the process, we discuss the three best strategies to use at each of the four phases of the Change Curve. Conferees can easily see how the strategies will move them along.

Finally, the Change Curve can be used to measure progress in introducing a change in your organization. Each week or two you can have those involved indicate their position on the curve ­ and see how the steps you are taking are moving people along the Curve, from Denial to Commitment.

For further information on the Change Curve, visit the web-site for this column,, and go to CONVENE Readers' Resources for links to HRDQ (Organization Design and Development) which provides superb materials on the Change Curve.

Ronald Gross , author of Peak Learning, chairs the Innovation Seminar at Columbia University, and regularly addresses association conventions. For information, call (800) 813-2195 or e-mail

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