The relevance of Prochaska’s "Six Stages of Change"
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The relevance of Prochaska’s "Six Stages of Change"

June 13, 2013

Alison Servi

For various reasons that don’t fit into this post, Prochaska’s six stages of change have been on my mind a lot lately. For me, Prochaska was first encountered in the classroom of Designing Strategic Change and – for lack of a better descriptor - I grew slightly obsessed with it. I really liked having a name for the “pre-contemplation” and “contemplation” part of the journey and the idea of “learning from relapse” remains particularly meaningful.

For various reasons that don’t fit into this post, Prochaska’s six stages of change have been on my mind a lot lately. For me, Prochaska was first encountered in the classroom of Designing Strategic Change and – for lack of a better descriptor – I grew slightly obsessed with it. I really liked having a name for the “pre-contemplation” and “contemplation” part of the journey and the idea of “learning from relapse” remains particularly meaningful.

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I also started seeing application of the model everywhere –take a program like Weight Watchers, and what I love is that they’ve essentially designed for failure/relapse into their program (think weekend points, getting points back). So why are we talking Weight Watchers/Prochaska?

Whether it’s changing their brand of pet food or starting a personal journey with a new medical diagnosis, customers are always somewhere in Prochaska’s cycle. Knowing where they are in the cycle tells us how to focus our marketing dollars. While we speak in terms of retention strategies and acquisition strategies, we’re constantly reflecting on who is where in the cycle, and using the why to set tactics.

The model is typically applied to personal change, but I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to apply it to people in an organization and initiatives. As Kelton continually works with our clients and their stakeholders to navigate change, we constantly stay in tune with where they are in their own relationship with changes in their organization. Oftentimes, each stakeholder is at a different point in the cycle; our job is to both meet them where they are and use the impetus of customer insights and testimonials to align the group.

Alison Servi

Partner, Strategy & Learning

With a deep understanding of both organizational and marketing strategy, Alison connects the desire for actionable research insights with an understanding of what it takes from both a process and...

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