The Change House Model
There are many change management models, one that is becoming increasingly popular is one often referred to as: “The Change House Model“, “The House of Change Model” or the “Four Rooms of Change model”.
History of the Change House Model
Originally developed in the early 1970’s by Claes F Janssen, it’s original or proper name is The Four Rooms of Change or the 4-Room Apartment.
In Janssen’s work this is represented as:
The Four Rooms of Change matrix
CONTENTMENT Adjustment. My present situation feels good enough as it is. Relaxed, effortless self-control, as when riding a bicycle. Attention focused on the here & now, no marked self-reflection. »I am OK, you are OK«. Feeling »average« in the sense of not special.
RENEWAL Creative change. Integration. A sense of »getting it all together«. Insights, aha-experiences. Feelings freely felt and expressed. Intense experience of the here & now, with self-reflection: I participate and observe that I am participating. Strong feelings of community. Self-confidence. Energy.
Radical ideas, a desire to make things happen.
DENIAL Pseudo-adjustment. Self-discipline with focus on completing a certain task or defending a certain pattern or status quo. No clear feelings. I am in control but uptight. The here & now (if experienced at all) feels empty and mechanical. Irritation.
Attention concentrated on the task felt to be necessary, on the rules and/or my image in others’ eyes, on not to lose face, on tactical considerations, etc.
CONFUSION Maladjustment. Something is or feels wrong here & now, but I do not know what, or what to do to make things right. Tense, negative self- consciousness with feelings of inferiority and doubts; »self-centred«. Chaos.
Dialectical YES/NO-conflicts within and/or without. Feelings in a clinch. A sense of unreality.
Janssen says “Personal Dialectics (1975), it (the model) turns up at the end, as the answer to a particular scientific question, namely how to integrate what I called the outsider’s experience. I had worked with this question for ten years. The book was my Ph.D. thesis.”
Later (third party) additions to the change rooms:
It is thought that the ‘Sun Lounge’, ‘Dungeon of Denial’ ( or Cellar of Despair) and ‘Pit of Paralysis’ were added by Ashridge Business School who took Claes’ model and renamed it as the ‘Change House’.
Some claim that the additional rooms may well have been done in association with Ander & Lindstrom Partners and Claes Janssen as they were consultants to Ashridge at the time. This is unfounded. I have since spoken to representatives of the model and they deny that the authors have added these to their original thinking. As you will note from comments to the blog this was not the case. The author (Janssen) believes that if the original model were fully understood, then these adaptations are not necessary. Indeed they may be considered a distraction.
The model is sometimes accredited to Kilbride and Durkins – where this reference is from is not known.
On Janssens site is a wonderful explanation of how to apply the change house model in a section taken from one of his books.
Much like the early work of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, who created an awareness of the psychological impact of change, this model looks at the “states” we like to inhabit and have to transition through as a natural part of a change process.
To find out more about the change house or four room model visit the copyright holders web site
The Change house model page reviewed June 2015