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Other Change Management Models Vs CML 5Es

Illustration of a CML 5Es Change Management model design used for our Change management training and consulting services

We’ve all heard about the need for companies to adapt and embrace change, but it’s a bigger challenge than many organisations realise. Change management is more than simply introducing a new product or strategy; it requires a concerted, delivery-focused effort on the people within the business.

From my years of experience working in various organisations across the public and private sectors as a Change and Transformation Consultant, I’ve recognised that change management frameworks are widely used to manage people through change yet, organisations still fail to change their chaotically reactive approach to change management.

As we move into a more technologically advanced world, where forces such as Artificial Intelligence and robotics are shifting how businesses operate, change is starting to ramp up. Therefore, it is important for Change Professionals to know how to proactively deliver change to help organisations stay ahead of the competition and thrive.

This is where the CML 5Es methodology comes in. The CML 5Es is a simple five-phased approach for Change Professionals to hit the ground running and implement effective change. I have helped many organisations to up their change game, using this ‘New kid on the block!’ model to drive the transition, on large scale organisational restructuring programmes, to merging processes and to the adoption of new technologies and software. The 5Es stand for Explore, Enable, Engage, Emerge and Embed – and used together, they are the key to leading successful change initiatives.

This powerful delivery approach strengthens the change management process and allows individuals and organisations to apply their existing framework or other change management models.

Organisations such as the Dogs Trust charity that have established the CML 5Es as their Change Management Framework on their Transformation Programme, have benefited from clear communications in times of change, and improved morale as employees feel engaged in the process. The CML 5Es provide a logical approach to change management while ensuring that all impacted stakeholders are engage with it.

CML 5Es is a Change Management Model used to help set up the Change Management Office. The framework consists of 5 stages, Explore, Enable, Engage, Emerge and Embed

Let’s do a quick walk through the CML 5Es for a better understanding:

Explore Phase – This is the first stage of the CML 5Es and raises the question, is there a need to change? This phase focuses on analysing and understanding the current situation. It’s all about uncovering why the change needs to happen, and the possible impact that the proposed changes may have. This is the perfect stage to identify all the stakeholders  affected and to gain a thorough understanding of the organisational environment. In the Explore phase you can apply the Mckinsey 7s to analyse the current environment. 

Enable Phase – Raises the question, how can we make this change happen? This phase focuses on ‘how’ Change Professionals can make change happen by understanding the change and the degree of impact. This phase also allows change professionals to develop the right plan of change interventions and tactical approaches needed to support people through the change journey. It also includes the resources required and obtaining agreement and buy-in from key stakeholders.

Engage Phase –  Raises the question, what do we need to do? This phase focuses on ‘what’ key engagement activities are needed to execute the change vision. This phase focuses on the people within the organisation and carrying out the activities detailed in the change and engagement plan developed during the previous phase. This phase includes communication through various channels, training, managing the change network to gain the trust of the people affected and much more.

Emerge Phase –  Raises the question, are we ready for the new ways of working? This phase focuses on knowing ‘when’ the organisation is ready for change. It’s key for Change Professionals to begin testing to see whether the organisation has come far enough to confidently adopt the change. It requires the cultivation of the new landscape, monitoring and managing any side effects, and developing the capacity to sustain the change.

Embed Phase   Raises the question, how do we stay on top? This phase focuses on ‘how’ Change Professionals can successfully maintain the adoption of the change. This phase seeks to ensure the change is here to stay. This includes developing new mechanisms that will ensure the change is woven into the fabric of the organisation, from regular staff appraisals to reward and recognition schemes.

With these five phases in mind, organisations can make informed decisions and create effective strategies to drive their change initiatives forward. By applying the CML 5Es, organisations can up their change game, enabling them to leverage the benefits of change and ensure success.

In summary, individuals and organisations who invest in applying the CML 5Es methodology can tackle their people-related projects successfully. By exploring, enabling, engaging, emerging and embedding change, organisations will be able to drive the desired outcomes and build a culture of change.

Check our digital flip book to understand the different tools that could be used when adopting the CML 5Es and our next Change Management – CML 5Es accredited training!


Maribeth Olafioye

Founder of Change Management Library

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