By ProServeIT on November 22, 2022

The 6 Stages of the IT Change Management Curve [Explained]

Change is not always easy but it can be achieved with the right plan. 

For your organization’s digital transformation to be a success, you need to strategically overcome internal resistance to change which is the main reason for the failure of many digital transformation projects.  

The right change management strategy can make all the difference.  According to a study by McKinsey, 143% of expected ROI is achieved by businesses with effective change management programs. By contrast, organizations with little or no change management achieve only 35% of the expected ROI”. 

Take a look below at the 6 stages of the change curve and what an organization’s leadership team can do to guide their workforce along the change journey.  

In this blog you will find:

6 Stages of the Change Curve
Stage #1: The beginning of change
Stage #2: When change gets difficult!
Stage #3: Back to the old way of doing things
Stage #4.  Wow, I can do so much more!
Stage #5.  I am getting it
Stage #6.  This is way better than before!


This is part 2 of our Change Management blog series. Check out  part 1 in this blog:

5 Reasons Change Management is Essential for a Digital Transformation (

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In this blog post, you will get a full picture of the change management journey that organizations go through during a digital transformation and how to mitigate any issues at key points along the change curve. I will highlight what organizations experience at each point of the change curve and tactics to help guide your organization further down the curve. 

The 6 Stages of the Change Curve 

*The boxes on the right-hand side of the chart speak about the solutions to address the main roadblock found in the corresponding color on the curve. 

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The 6 Stages of the Change Curve 

Below are the 6 stages associated with change management for your organization’s digital transformation journey: 

🙉 Stage #1. The beginning of change (Surprise! Kind of fun!) 

The first stage is when your organization is about to introduce some new change and really, this is the fun part. This is the best part. This is the ideation stage. 

This is really an exciting moment which involves a lot of people. It tends to be an opportunity for teams to come together and say “OK, awesome. Here's what we're going to work towards”. There is a lot of excitement in the air. 

The key is to channel that excitement towards department or organizational alignment around what we're going to achieve with the proposed change. This will help your organization to progress along the curve in a collaborative manner. 

🔨 Stage #2.  When change gets difficult (It’s Difficult!)  

Right after Stage #1 is when the work really starts to happen and the organization starts to realize that (depending on the significance of the proposed change) it's going to be hard. There are going to be challenges and it's going to require a lot of work. 

When your employees begin to realize how difficult or how significant the change is going to be, that’s really when it is essential for your company to send out the right communications to its workforce. Make sure to inform them about what is happening, reinforce the alignment statements or the why that your organization is trying to achieve and spend time on training. 

The key is to use education and training to aid employees in taking one step after another on their digital transformation journey. Education and training are vital components of any kind of formal change management strategy. If a company foregoes bringing their people into the change process, helping them understand what's going on and training them on what's to come, there is going to be a lot more resistance than anticipated. 

⏪ Stage #3.  Back to the old way of doing things (Reliance on the Old) 

At this stage, your organization gets to the bottom of the valley (so to speak) when employees start to say: “You know what, this is just too hard. I want to go back to the way I was doing things before. It wasn’t that bad”. You are going to see a lot of employees just begin to drift back to their old ways of doing things because those ways are familiar even if they're not as efficient or effective as the proposed change. 

Traditionally, people don't like change and so they can easily slip back into their old work habits. This is where your organization needs to spark their motivation to continue along the digital transformation journey. There are different ways to do this and some of it will depend on the work culture of your business. Below are a few ideas: 

  • Create prizes or contests (team or individual) linked to the proposed digital transformation 
  • Build internal social momentum through employee recognition linked to the proposed digital transformation 
  • Continue to highlight the benefits to the individuals when they stick to the new change 
  • Create team centric goals connected to the proposed digital transformation 
  • Consider gamifying some element of the change management plan to engage employees 

✨ Stage #4.  Discovering the benefits of change (Wow, I can do so much more!)

So once your organization gets through that reliance on the old way of doing things and your workforce understands why the proposed change is happening, they are invested and there's motivation for them to participate as well as to further advance the initiative.  

What you then find is that employees begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel. They begin to get it. It starts to click (light bulb moment). What's important here is when they start to understand that the proposed change can help them be more effective on the job, it's critical that your organization continues to provide learning and education support through this phase so that your workforce doesn’t regress on its change journey.  

So as your employees are exploring new things, make sure they understand how to do what they need to do (related to the incoming change). Ensure they have the appropriate knowledge to do what they need to do and feel supported through this transition. This can be done through regular functions where they have the ability to delay some of those things or to apply the appropriate amount of time to successfully navigate this change.  

Don't introduce more struggle into this change journey. Give your employees the needed support and help them continue with the forward momentum.  

👐 Stage #5.  Embracing the change (I am getting it) 

Once you've gone through Point #4, your organization gets into the phase where it really starts to click. At this phase, your organization is almost through the tunnel, so to speak, and your employees really embrace the change you have implemented.  

This is when you start to see true effectiveness or efficiency gains from this change that you're introducing. The business begins to see an ROI at this point and it is really important to describe broadcast this: share what value is being brought to the business through this change. Make sure that the advocacy team, the change management team and the rest of the employees at your organization understand that this is not the end of the journey.  

The message should be something like this: “Our company said we're going to do this. We went through a lot of work going through this difficult change process, and now we're starting to begin to see tangible value. That's amazing. Let's keep going because this isn't the end point”.  

💫 Stage #6.  Discovering the benefits of change (This is way better than before!) 

The end point is all about making it clear that the implemented change is far better than how things were done in the past. This is not about just making sure that the organization has a new way to do the same thing it did before. It is about having a new way that is better and the way for us to make it better is to make it “evergreen”.  

There's a cycle for innovation so it's important to have a feedback loop. It's important that there is an optimization period that occurs and we say, “OK, we're into this new mode of working. We're into this new change (whatever that change at scale is). And we want to have that evergreen feedback so that we don't have to go through that massive change again in the future”.  

You don't want to have to do a huge overhaul. You want to continue to invest in this (the change that you just implemented). This involves making continuous, consistent, intentional changes, and positive movement into those new tools/systems, so that your organization builds that muscle and discipline of consistently innovating 

Hopefully, this content can help your organization with its change management journey.  


It's important to understand that there are different points in the journey when your organization is going through significant change. Knowing what to do and how to guide your organization through each point on the curve below can mean the difference between success and failure for your proposed digital transformation. 

Do you need help creating a digital transformation plan for your business? Partner with us today and see how ProServeIT can help. 

Published by ProServeIT November 22, 2022