Difference between revisions of "Kotter's 8-Step Change Model"

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The Eight Steps[1]

  • STEP 1: Establish a Sense of Urgency: Most companies ignore this step —close to 50% of the companies that fail to make change make mistakes at the very beginning. Leaders may underestimate how hard it is to drive people out of their comfort zones, or overestimate how successfully they have already done so, or simply lack the patience necessary to develop appropriate urgency. Leaders who know what they are doing will "aim for the heart." They connect to the deepest values of their people and make the business case come alive with human experience; engage the senses; and create simple, imaginative messages that inspire people to greatness.
  • STEP 2: Create a Guiding Coalition: Putting together the right coalition to lead change is critical. That coalition must have the right composition, a significant level of trust, and a shared objective. In putting together the coalition, the team as a whole should reflect:
    • Position Power: Enough key players should be on board so that those left out cannot block progress.
    • Expertise: All relevant points of view should be represented so that informed, intelligent decisions can be made.
    • Credibility: The group should be seen and respected so that the group’s pronouncements will be taken seriously.
    • Leadership: The group should have enough proven leaders to be able to drive the change process.
  • STEP 3: Develop a Change Vision: The change visions clarifies how the future will be different from the past. It serves three important purposes:
    • It simplifies hundreds or thousands of more detailed decisions.
    • It motivates people to take action in the right direction even if the first steps are painful.
    • It helps to coordinate the actions of different people in a remarkably fast and efficient way.
  • STEP 4: Communicate the Vision for Buy-in: Gaining an understanding and commitment to a new direction is never an easy task, especially in complex organizations. Most companies under communicate their visions by at least a factor of 10. A single memo announcing the transformation or even a

series of speeches are never enough. To be effective, the vision must be communicated in hour-by-hour activities. The vision will be referenced in emails, in meetings, in presentations – it will be communicated anywhere and everywhere.

  • STEP 5: Empower Broad-Based Action: This step involves removing obstacles to change; changing systems or structures that seriously undermine the vision; and encouraging risk-taking and nontraditional ideas, activities, and actions. This may involve changing the organizational structure

or management information systems to that reporting relationships and information support needed actions. Another barrier to effective change can be troublesome supervisors with management styles that inhibit change. Easy solutions to this problem don’t exist. Typically, the best solution is honest dialogue.

  • STEP 6: Generate Short-term Wins: This step involves creating visible, unambiguous success as soon as possible. The Guiding Coalition becomes a critical force in identifying significant improvements that can happen between six and 18 months. Getting these wins helps ensure the overall

change initiative’s success. Research shows companies that experience significant short-term wins by fourteen and twenty-six months after the change initiative begins are much more likely to complete the transformation. Wins provide evidence the sacrifices people are making are paying off. This increases the sense of urgency and the optimism of those making the change.

  • STEP 7: Never Let Up!: Resistance is always waiting in the wings to re-assert itself. Even if you are successful in the early stages, you may just drive resistors underground where they wait for an opportunity to emerge when you least expect it. The consequences of letting up can be very dangerous. Whenever you let up before the job is done, critical momentum can be lost and regression may soon follow. Instead of declaring victory and moving on, these transformational leaders will launch more and more projects to drive the change deeper into the organization.
  • STEP 8: Incorporate Changes into the Culture: New practices must grow deep roots in order to remain firmly planted in the culture. Culture is composed of norms of behavior and shared values. These social forces are incredibly strong. Every individual that joins an organization is indoctrinated into its culture, generally without even realizing it. We keep change in place by creating a new, supportive and sufficiently strong

organizational culture. The Guiding Coalition alone cannot root change in place no matter how strong they are. It takes the majority of the organization truly embracing the new culture for there to be any chance of success in the long term.

  1. The Eight Step Prcess for Leading Change Nancy Sullivan