2 • The six stages of concern model

As a customer service leader, you need adaptive leadership styles and leadership qualities when managing change. The ‘stages of concern’ model helps you consider people’s individual needs when you’re leading your teams through change.

Dr. Jason Price explains the 6 stages of concern model and how it helps you make customer-facing change in your organisation.

PODCAST • 13 minute listen

In this podcast episode

In my video about preparing for life after lockdown, I talked to chartered psychologist Hayley Lewis about three issues people leading teams need to think about as they help people return to work after the extended lockdown periods experienced during the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic.

I talked about the stages of concern change model in that video, and this podcast talks about each of the six stages in more detail. If you're dealing with any sort of business change, this model is something you'll find useful when it comes to helping people understand what change is about and what it means for them.


What did we learn?

The stages of concern model of change was published in 1979 by Dr. Gene Hall, based on his earlier research at the University of Texas in 1973. This research showed that change is an unfolding of experience and a gradual process of skills development that it takes time for people to absorb.

Forty years on from this evidence, it's amazing that so many organisations still think they can implement change by "management edict" without paying attention to people's individual needs.

The stages in this model refer to the way people respond emotionally when some change or innovation is introduced. People progress through these stages sequentially, as each of their concerns are dealt with in their own minds.

These stages are shown in the diagram below.

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As a leader helping people work through change, you'll need to make sure your change efforts address people's concerns in each step - and remember, they'll be different.

Progressing through the six stages of concern is important if you want people to adapt to their new environment (whatever that is) successfully. This podcast talks about each of these stages in more detail, and what it means for you as a change leader.

Change only happens when people take individual decisions to do things differently

Dr. Jason Price

Lessons to learn

  • Change is a process people need to go through. They'll progress sequentially as they come to terms with what change means at each step
  • At the start, people work out what it means for them, before they'll move on to think about how to apply a change and make things better
  • You can use the stages of concern model to help you understand where people are in their own personal journey and plan interventions accordingly

Links and references

Hall, G.E., 1979. The concerns-based approach to facilitating change. Educational Horizons, pp.1–7.

Blanchard, K., 2007. Leading at a higher level, Harlow, UK: Prentice Hall. Available at: http://www.kenblanchard.com.

VIDEO: Preparing for life after lockdown - Dr. Jason Price, Price Perrott Limited

Hayley Lewis • Founder and Director at Halo Psychology. https://halopsychology.com


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