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  • Writer's pictureKohei Yoshino

Importance of Individual Development In Change

Updated: Mar 8, 2022

As a change management consultant and leadership coach, I’ve worked on a series of change initiatives and learned firsthand that successful change management strategies must be developed while taking both individual and organizational development into account since, after all, an organization consists of individuals. This simply means that without effectively getting buy-in from and developing individuals, OD practitioners would have difficulty successfully managing a change. As Jones and Brazil (2014) mention, it is crucial to remember that individual work and development are required to help bring different stakeholders together. Referring to Kotter’s 8 Step Change Model, for instance, the key steps that are relevant here are forming a powerful coalition and empower people (Kotter, 1996).

Without effectively getting buy-in from and developing individuals, OD practitioners would have difficulty successfully managing a change.

In today’s environment, employees within an organization have diverse backgrounds (e.g., interest, culture, personality, ethnicity, gender, financial status, etc). This implies that the strategies to build a coalition of different stakeholders as well as empowering those who are affected by the change will likely require a level of both group and individual interventions. For instance, as mentioned by Jones & Brazzel (2014), prior to proceeding to group team-building activities, the leaders of the organizations and teams must be individually coached and trained to understand power dynamics, cultural differences, and other potential interpersonal nuances. On a similar note, for a change initiative to be successful, individuals must all work towards the same vision and each individual’s psychological relationship to this vision along with their biases must be carefully looked at (Sullivan, 2014). Should an individual is considered to have a negative relationship with the vision, then a developmental intervention should be applied to ensure the success of the overall change.

Another effective change management model, ADKAR, can be used to understand and diagnose individual resistance in an organization (Bose, 2020). For those of you who are not familiar with this model, there are five key phases that an individual must go through in order to successfully implement change: 1) awareness, 2) desire, 3) knowledge, 4) ability and 5) reinforcement (Bose, 2020). If, for example, an individual in a team (or organization) is resisting to implement the change, OD practitioners can use this model to identify what phase the person is currently in and develop and implement a development plan to move him or her to the next stage. For example, if the person is resisting the change due to his or her lack of knowledge and ability to implement the new process, then appropriate individuals can provide coaching, training, and mentoring to reduce the level of resistance. In summary, to effectively manage and implement a change initiative, OD practitioners must assess individual readiness and develop and implement interventions to address the resistance or gap with regard to the change.


Bose, I. (2020). The Journey of Change at Corus Strip Products, UK: A Theory-Based Case Review. IUP Journal of Supply Chain Management, 17(1), 24–35.

Kotter, J. P. (1996). Leading Change Boston: Harvard Business School Press

Jones, B.B., & Brazzel, M. (2014). The NTL Handbook of Organization Development and Change (2nd ed). Pfeiffer.

Sullivan, R. R. (2014). Towards depth visioning: A depth psychological investigation of group visioning methods (Order No. 3629518). Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global: The Sciences and Engineering Collection; Psychology Database. (1562271514)


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