The Kotter Model: 8-Step Process Ensures Successful Change

Filed Under Innovation

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Harvey Wade

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March 31, 2014

Over 30 years ago, Dr John Kotter identified an eight-step model for ensuring successful change in an organisation that sticks. Today, this model is still as relevant as it was then.

Dr Kotter’s model formed the key tenets to the innovation program we created and ran. I wrote the eight steps in the inside cover of each notebook I used. Being both strategic and practical, the model really does work, and when anything went wrong, we found we had normally strayed from the model.

If you are leading or running a change, transformation or innovation program and you are not aware of the Kotter change model, I encourage you to become familiar with it: You will not regret it!

The eight steps are outlined here…

Step 1: Establishing a Sense of Urgency

Help others see the need for change and they will be convinced of the importance of acting immediately.

Step 2: Forming a Powerful Guiding Coalition

Assemble a group with enough power to lead the change effort, and encourage the group to work as a team.

Step 3: Creating a Vision

Create a vision to help direct the change effort, and develop strategies for achieving that vision.

Step 4: Communicate the Vision

Make sure as many as possible understand and accept the vision and the strategy.

Step 5: Empowering Other to Act on the Vision

Remove obstacles to change, change systems or structures that seriously undermine the vision, and encourage risk-taking and nontraditional ideas, activities, and actions.

Step 6: Planning for and Creating Short-term Wins

Plan for achievements that can easily be made visible, follow-through with those achievements and recognize and reward employees who were involved.

Step 7: Consolidating Improvements & Producing More Change

Use increased credibility to change systems, structures, and policies that don’t fit the vision, also hire, promote, and develop employees who can implement the vision, and finally reinvigorate the process with new projects, themes, and change agents.

Step 8: Institutionalisation New Approaches

Articulate the connections between the new behaviors and organizational success, and develop the means to ensure leadership development and succession.

For greater detail on this model, here is a link to the HBR article.
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This article was originally published on Harvey Wade’s Innovative Thoughts blog. View it here.
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