How to Lead People Through Change – ADKAR® Series Part 5: Reinforcement

ADKAR®: Reinforcement

Finally, we’ve reached our final milestone – Reinforcement. In our last blog we covered the third and fourth element of ADKAR – Knowledge and Ability and mentioned that people need to have both the information on how to change and the ability to make the change.

Here is a quick recap of what ADKAR stands for:

  • Awareness

  • Desire

  • Knowledge

  • Ability

  • Reinforcement


Reinforcement is the person continuing and sustaining the change. During this phase you continue to manage resistance, implement corrective actions, and celebrate success.

It is also important to collect and analyze feedback because creating a good feedback loop, where people have a voice on what is working well and can provide areas of improvement, will help them feel empowered to continue to support the change.

I’ve seen some great success with this when companies have communication channels where employees can recognize other team members that are doing well with the change. Managers have different options to honor them with some type of formal reward including becoming certified or even gaining a promotion. At one company I was at, they called this acknowledgement “Find the Good and Praise It” (FTFAPI) and at another it was known as giving someone a “High-Five.” Both were easy actions for a person to submit a praise and that praise to be shared company-wide.

Unfortunately, try as we might to get people through their ADKAR journeys, some changes may result in employee turnover. Monitoring this effectively can help shape how the organization approaches change and strengthen the culture (or weaken if it is not properly dealt with). This goes back to the Desire blog where we mentioned the organizational or environmental context factors can affect the desire ADKAR milestone based on the success (or non-successes) of past changes, other changes that may be also occurring in the organization, and the organization’s culture of change.

Yes, change is a cyclical journey, and everyone will go through each milestone with each change they encounter. It’s up to us as change practitioners (or project managers with our change management hat on) to help educate our Sponsors, Mid-Line managers, and Team Members on how to effectively manage through each milestone by educating them that this is a process, but we have the resources available to help them through it.

Want to learn more about how Kolme Group can help with your Change Initiatives? Schedule a free 30-min consult with Drew or Kim here.

Kornelia Homewood Administrator
PPM Consultant , Kolme Group

Kornelia loves to help Kolme Groups customers by bringing a breadth of PM, PMO, and PMIS knowledge to guide them in discovering what will work best and drive the most value within their own organizations. She is a certified PMP, Professional Scrum Master I, and has a master’s degree in project management. This knowledge and experience has helped her build PMOs, coach others on project management methodologies, and lead countless projects in finance, higher education, marketing, and technology industries. She is a life-long learner and always curious. When not in the office, you’ll find her taking a quick walk around the neighborhood listening to all her favorite PM podcasts, logging on to a PM webinar, or just reading about PM trends.

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