In 1996 John Kotter wrote Leading Change* which looked at what people did to transform their organisations. Kotter introduced an 8-step change model for helping managers deal with transformational change. This is summarised in Kotter’s 8-step change model.
For The Heart of Change* (2002) John Kotter worked with Dan Cohen to look into the core problems people face when leading change. They concluded that the central issue was changing the behaviour of people and that successful change occurs when speaking to people’s feelings.
In this article Martin Webster explains how Kotter’s 8-step change model gets to the heart of how successful organisational change actually happens and answers the question “how do you go beyond simply getting your message across to truly changing people’s behaviour?”
You’ll also learn how The Heart of Change can alter the way organisations and leaders approach change management.
Since this guide covers a lot of ground and is a long read (3,000 words) you may want to check out the table of contents below for some quick jumping around. And if you want to read more high quality articles please sign up for email updates and never miss another post.
Table of Contents
- Successful Change Management
- Kotter’s 8-Step Change Model for Leading Change
- Conclusions on Kotter’s 8-Step Change Model
Successful Change Management
John Kotter’s 8-step change model comprises eight overlapping steps. The first three are all about creating a climate for change. The next on engaging and enabling the organisation. And the last, implementing and sustaining change.
From experience we learn that successful change occurs when there is commitment, a sense of urgency or momentum, stakeholder engagement, openness, clear vision, good and clear communication, strong leadership, and a well executed plan. Kotter’s 8-step change model recognises each of these characteristics.
Kotter’s 8-Step Change Model for Leading Change
We highly recommend you read The Heart of Change* John Kotter and Dan Cohen. Whether you are a senior executive, in middle management or part of a project team the research, which is backed up with stories — mini case studies — and exercises, is invaluable.
The reading provides straightforward advice that makes much sense — undoubtedly you will have observed what is written.
Creating a Climate for Change
Many initiatives fail or at best fall short of their original aim because the organisation either lacks interest in the proposed change effort or spends too much energy resisting the change management process.
We often see organisational change beginning with detailed analyses, the preparation of a hefty business case, and later approval by corporate management. Unfortunately this energy is often wasted and does very little to move the organisation toward transformational change.
The assumption is that information and analysis followed by executive management approval is enough to change behaviour. It is not! Whilst these may be necessary organisational steps they are not needed … right now.
John Kotter is internationally known and widely regarded as the foremost expert on the topic of transformational leadership. His international bestseller Leading Change — which outlines an actionable 8-step change model for implementing successful transformations — has become the bible for leaders around the world who want to achieve great results.
Dan S. Cohen is a Principal with Deloitte Consulting LLP, where he focuses his consulting activities on large-scale organisational transformation. Cohen led the development of the firm’s Global Change Leadership Methodology, as well as Deloitte Consulting’s Human Capital Energy practice. He has provided consulting support across industries to Fortune 100 companies worldwide.
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Creative Commons image courtesy Nancy Regan.