Harvard Business School professor Dr. John Kotter has been a thought-leader on organizational change, and he developed Kotter’s 8-step change model, which helps business managers deal with organizational change. Kotter created the 8-step model to drive organizational transformation.
- Understanding Kotter’s 8-step change model
- The eight steps of Kotter’s change model
- Key takeaways
- Connected Organizational Frameworks And Concepts
Understanding Kotter’s 8-step change model
The model was developed by Harvard Business School professor Dr. John Kotter, a notable thought-leader on organizational change.
Kotter recognized that change was difficult for some businesses, especially for those that had been in operation for some time. But he also knew that change was an important factor in a business remaining viable, no matter how much success they had enjoyed in the past.
The eight steps of Kotter’s change model
Kotter created his model after witnessing how leaders led their organizations during periods of transformation.
These are the eight steps that will help a business navigate this transformation:
1 – Create urgency
The most significant changes occur because of urgency. For example, urgency might result from a string of negative reviews or the emergence of a powerful competitor. Whatever the scenario, it is important to present change as the solution to a problem.
To feel compelled to act, management must be notified of a problem in advance with convincing evidence or support from key stakeholders.
2 – Form a powerful coalition
This can be achieved by identifying the key playmakers in an organization. Who are the individuals that hold the power in decision making?
In the search to form a coalition, representatives should seek out influential people with a broad range of experience or skillsets.
Key decision-makers will only get behind an initiative for change if they can understand the reasons for doing so. Therefore, the vision for change must be clear, concise, and well presented.
It should also:
- Reflect the core values of the business or identify new core values.
- Contain a mission statement.
- Detail a logical and feasible change strategy.
4 – Communicating the vision
Presenters should not be afraid to sell the vision to decision-makers if required to do so. They must present their vision with confidence and conviction. In other words, they must truly believe that their strategy will be successful.
Wherever appropriate, relate the strategy for change to pre-existing company values. Address any concerns from the audience publicly in a calm and empathic manner.
5 – Remove the obstacles
Individuals are often the greatest obstacles to change. Identify those most resistant to change and work collaboratively to address any concerns. Then, reward or recognize those who were open to change from the very beginning.
6 – Create short-term wins
Early in the change process, short-term wins are crucial to building momentum and confidence. This is particularly true of large changes with long timelines because people can become disheartened at the prospect of the job ahead of them.
Again, incentivization is useful for those who meet and continue to achieve short-term wins.
7 – Consolidate gains
Consolidation means building on quick wins through expansion and repetition. Each win should be analyzed to determine areas for possible improvement.
8 – Make it stick
Making a change stick means that it becomes part of company culture. This process can take years and usually involves mistakes or employee turnover along the way.
To ensure that management cannot revert to the status quo, change success stories should be regularly highlighted. Employee contributions should also continue to be celebrated and rewarded where appropriate.
It is also essential that a business knows what it stands for before recruiting. This allows HR managers to instill core values into new employees from day one.
- Kotter’s 8-step change model helps decision-makers adapt to transformational change.
- Kotter’s 8-step change model was developed by leading management consult Dr. John Kotter. By observing organizations undergoing transformation, he identified that leadership ultimately determined the likelihood of change.
- Kotter’s 8-step change model advocates urgency, stakeholder engagement, and a clear vision as important preliminary change driving ingredients. Change must then be communicated to leadership convincingly so that a plan rewarding short and long-term wins can be implemented.
Read Next: Lewin’s Change Management.
Connected Organizational Frameworks And Concepts
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