Posted by: Adam Deane | 25/03/2010

Change Management – Kotter’s 8 Step Change Model

There are many theories around about how to implement change in an organization.
This is John Kotter’s (Harvard professor) 8-Step Change Model:

Step 1: Create a sense of urgency
For the change to happen, it needs the whole organization behind it – believing in it:

  • Identify potential threats and develop potential scenarios showing what could happen in the future
  • Examine the opportunities that should be exploited
  • Start discussions, giving people convincing reasons to start thinking and talking and thinking about the change
  • Rally support from your customers and outside investors to reinforce your argument

Step 2: Form a change coalition
To help convince people that change needs to happen, find and fuel effective leaders in your organization:

  • Identify true leaders in your organization
  • Ask for emotional commitment from these people
  • Check your team for weaknesses and make sure you have a good mix of people from different areas and levels

Step 3: Create a vision for change
You need a clear vision so people can understand the purpose of what you’re asking them to do:

  • Determine the values that are central to the change
  • Develop a short summary that captures what you see as the future of the organization
  • Create a strategy to execute the vision
  • Practice your vision speech often

Step 4: Communicate the vision
What you do with your vision will determine whether you are successful or not and you’ll find many other run of the day company communications competing against yours:

  • At every opportunity, talk about your change vision
  • Address people’s concerns – and there will be concerns
  • Tie your vision to operations- training, reviews, hiring process …
  • Lead by example

Step 5: Remove obstacles
You need to remove obstacles to empower people to execute your vision:

  • Identify change leaders
  • Recognize and reward people for making change happen
  • Identify those resisting change and help them see the need
  • Remove barriers – human and other

Step 6: Create short-term wins
Success motivates – give your team a taste for success:

  • Pick a simple project you can implement with help from the die hard critics
  • Choose inexpensive projects where you can justify the spend
  • Reward the people the help you meet the goals

Step 7: Build on the change
Real change runs deep – keep looking for improvements:

  • After every win, analyze what went right and what went wrong
  • Set goals to continue building on what you’ve achieved

Step 8: Anchor the changes in corporate culture
Make the change stick!

  • Talk about progress every chance you get
  • Tell success stories
  • Include values when hiring or training staff
  • As key leaders of the change move on, be sure to replace them

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