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In essence, Lean Six Sigma is a process of change. Beyond tools and techniques to solve problems, it is necessary to master the human aspects to ensure the quality and sustainability of actions.


Change is a process by which a person or organization evolves from an initial situation to a desired one. In view of the notion of paradigm all of us, change is not a natural thing. We are all anchored in a way of thinking, a behavior, an attitude … in which we are comfortable and we unconsciously do not wish to change it.

The conduct of change sees the taking into account of this human dimension. Its objective is to make the actors appropriate the changes so that they become the new paradigm by surpassing the resistances.

Note that resistance to change is neither more nor less rational, neither more nor less legitimate than the action that provokes it1.

In terms of change management, there is no standard. We make “tailor-made ».

Cbelow 3 models, the best known, of individual process of change of paradigm.

Kubler-Ross model

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross (1926-2004) was a Swiss psychiatrist and psychologist. She was the pioneer in the approach to palliative care for people at the end of life. She theorized the different emotional stages through which a person learns that he is nearing death. This theorization has now become popular and the most widely used to describe the various stages through which an individual passes during a change of paradigm.

The model breaks down into 5 steps2 illustrated below :

Note that all of these steps are not required. It is estimated that 2 may suffice.

Prochaska and Di Clemente model

For several decades, these two researchers 3 have been studying the process of behavioral change especially in the case of addiction. They developed a model called “transthoric change,” also known as the stage model of change..

They suggest that behavior change occurs during a process consisting of different chronologically ordered stages.

Step 1 : precontemplation / loss

The individual rejects the very idea of change. He loses his bearings, he is afraid. Most of the time it’s because it lacks vision, information. Resistance can also come from a lack of self-confidence, fear of consequences … It is estimated that at this stage, the person does not intend to change his behavior within 6 months.

Step 2 : contemplation / doubt

The individual begins to envision change. It weighs the pros and cons but is not yet convinced. It is estimated that this stage can last up to 2 years.

Step 3 : preparation / discomfort

The individual is preparing for change. He inquires and asks for advice. He is anxious and still wonders what will happen. Generally, it will pass to action in the coming month.

Step 4 : The action / The discovery

This is the moment when the individual will have to expend a lot of energy to change his habits. During this transition, the individual may become discouraged, and the risk of relapse and return to a rejection phase is important.

Step 5 : Maintaining / Understanding

The individual will realize what change can bring. The effort to provide is then less intense and the person has more confidence in his abilities. This phase usually starts within 6 months after the previous one.

Etape 6 : La terminaison / L’intégration

The individual is really convinced of the goodness of the change. There is no longer a risk of relapse to a previous state.

The processes of change

Between each stage are different processes of change, which represent any form of activity undertaken to help change the way we think, feel or behave. The nine main processes involved in the behavior change approach, according to the transtheoretical model, are :

  • increasing awareness (awareness) : providing information about the risks and possible harms of irresponsible behavior, valuing healthier behavioral habits.
  • emotional awakening : promotes the identification, experimentation and expression of emotions related to the risks of irresponsible behavior in order to develop feelings conducive to desired behavior.
  • social release : try to help other people in a similar situation.
  • Personal Reassessment : results in a personal assessment of feelings about the desired behavior.
  • commitment : encourages the person to be confident in his / her abilities to change and to commit to doing so.
  • Enhancer Management : Assign easily accessible (but reasonable) rewards to improve the likelihood that the desired behavior will occur or continue. 
  • helping relationships : assisting the person in different ways, through emotional support or social support (formation of support groups).
  • counterconditioning : Consider and analyze the advantages and disadvantages of change, trying to find alternatives to unwanted behavior.
  • environmental control (stimuli) : avoid situations with high risks of relapse or misbehavior.

The theory of planned behavior

Fishbein and Ajzen4 imagined a method to predict human behavior. They assume that man is rational and logical, and that he systematically uses the available information. According to this reasoning, people consider the consequences of their actions before deciding whether to adopt a certain behavior or not..

They came to develop a theory that they thought could predict and understand behaviors and attitudes. This theory, Theory of Planned Behavior suggests that :

  • attitudes can explain actions and are a plausible indicator of behavior.
  • Attitudes interact with subjective norms (paradigm…) to influence the intention to act, which determines the behavior.
  • Perceptual behavioral control  is defined by the belief of the individual in the idea that it will be easy or not to adopt a certain behavior.

The main idea that stems from this theory is : individuals will not be likely to develop a strong intention to act  and behave in a certain way if they do not believe not having the necessary resources or opportunities to do so, even if they have attitudes favorable to the behavior in question and if they feel that the entourage would approve the behavior. 

Some tips

Get membership

Membership is not achieved without informing employees and explaining the merits of the changes. It is based on the mobilization of all energies around the same goal: to transform the company. The enemy to fight: resistance to change. We must therefore listen to each person, understand their point of view (exercise opposite), inform by adapting his speech, to bring all actors to take charge of their own evolution. But beware: the team in charge of driving the change, “ carrier of messages that annoy ” often tends to isolate themselves. On the contrary, “ it must integrate at the heart of the company, to interact with all employees “. Membership is obtained only from the inside.

Communicate around the project

cAt the beginning of the project, individual communication is naturally conducted with managers. Once this first group joins the project, a new pivotal step begins, which consists in making all the employees of the company join. This particular communication must focus on the fact that a person will change if they understand it by themselves and understand that they have to change.

As a reminder of the psychologist’s formula Norman Maier :

E = Q * A

Avec :

    • E : Effectiveness of a decision
    • Q : Pragmatic quality of it
    • A : Level of staff adherence to this decision

Being a psychologist in his approach

Psychosociological approaches favor brainstorming and collective action. They rely on the mutual influence between people. “ These behavioral approaches are to be used because they allow a better involvement des acteurs“. We can also “ rely on employees who welcome change.” In short, you have to know how to use the viral concept to disseminate the new objectives and know how to convince.

Coordinate the teams

Any change management is broken down into a multitude of initiatives to be carried out within the different departments of the company. From this perspective, it would seem logical to form independent working groups. But that would be a mistake. To avoid confusion, by spreading contradictory messages, it is essential to coordinate the different teams working on the project and to ensure a wide transversality in the composition of the working groups..

Never give up

A change approach is a lot of resistance and barriers. You have to be tenacious and never give up.

Manage time

Change management can not be limited to project management alone, as evidenced by the many failures of the past. If you do not fit into pure project management, it is nevertheless vital to formalize and schedule tasks in order to monitor their implementation and ensure that costs and deadlines are respected. In form, the conduct of change is not a project to be approached like the others. In its implementation, it requires even more rigor than a standard project.

The equation of change

Some famous quotes

« If something changes, it’s not safe, it’s for the better … But if something needs to improve it’s not possible without change !  “-Georg Christophe Lichtenberg 

In the changing world, it’s better to think about change than to change the dressing. ” – Francis Blanche

My goal is not to build the company of tomorrow is to show that it should not look like today’s.  “- Albert Jacquard

Everyone is thinking about changing the world, but no one thinks about changing oneself. ” – Leo Tolstoy 

There are those who see things as they are and wonder why, there are those who imagine things as they might be and say to themselves. .. why not ?  “- Bernard Shaw 

The important task is Cultural Change, thinking differently … and thinking for the organization. The Toyota Production System should really be called: The Production System Thinking.  “-  Terayuki Minoura 

Nothing is permanent except the change.  ” – Heraclit 

“When the wind of change blows, some build walls, some mills. ” –  Chinese Proverb

Many things are impossible only because we are accustomed to look at them as such. ” – Charles Pinot Duclos 

Change does not bother me … The inconvenience does not change me. ” –  A Gemba man


1 – E. Friedberg (1993) – Le pouvoir et la règle.

2 – R. Kublur (1969) – On death and dying

3 – J. O. Prochaska, C. C. DiClemente (1982) – Transtheorical therapy toward a more  integrative model of change

4 – Ajzen, I. et Fishbein, M. (1980) –  Understanding attitudes and predicting social behavior

L.Taskin (2003) – Télétravail et organisation, les mythes d’une success story. Entre autonomie et contrôle

N. G. Alvarez, M. N. Antolin (2006) – Appropriability of innovation results: An empirical study in Spanish manufacturing firms

M. Bennour (2004) – Contribution à la modélisation et à l’affectation des ressources humaines dans les processus

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