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An Overview of Kotter’s 8 Steps of Change Management

Published By Team AdaptiveWork

While countless tools, tactics, methods and strategies have changed over the years, nearly two decades after its introduction in 1996, organizations of all sizes continue to rely upon Dr. John Kotter’s 8-step process for Change Management.

Given its prominence, value and, frankly, its remarkable durability in a rapidly shifting business world, we thought it would be helpful to recap the steps in Dr. Kotter’s seminal 8-step process. Since as they say, “the classics never go out of style”:

  1. Establish a Sense of Urgency: Help stakeholders understand why change must take place and use this to galvanize support and mobilize effective, focused action now – not later.
  2. Create the Guiding Coalition: Within the larger Change Management group, put together a small group of credible change agents with enough “political capital” – and the will to spend it – to achieve team cohesion and resolve minor issues before they become major, intractable problems.
  3. Develop a Change Vision: Just as a plan needs an objective, a Change Management effort needs a vision. It’s essential to clarify this vision, and then develop realistic strategies that logically lead to its achievement.
  4. Communicate the Vision: It’s not enough for team members to accept that change must take place; they must also agree on the best way to get there. The best way to achieve this – and often, the only way – is through effective communication.
  5. Empower Broad-based Action: The majority of Change Management projects fail, and many of these failures can be traced back to a lack of broad-based action. Team members need the freedom to propose and carry out creative solutions to unexpected and non-traditional problems.
  6. Generate Short-term Wins: Organizations should create short-term wins to help create the momentum and discipline required to achieve long-term goals. Part of this commitment should include celebrating and rewarding individuals and teams.
  7. Never Let Up: Successful change management is an “all-in” proposition that rewards those who have the power and will to change systems and structures that no longer makes sense or, quite often, are opposed to the emerging vision of a better future.
  8. Incorporate Changes into the Culture: Initially, Change Management gains are often vulnerable and can quickly evaporate. It’s essential for organizations to embed the transformation – and all of its related approaches and practices – into the culture at every level, including leadership.

While each step is vital and work together as part of a holistic Change Management ecosystem, it’s clear that there are three principles that underlie Dr. Kotter’s methodology: teamwork, transparency and communication.

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It’s also no surprise that these are often the three things that organizations struggle with the most – sometimes by design, and other times by default.

Much like Kotter’s seminal vision – which, as noted above, continues to be relied upon nearly 20 years after being introduced – Planview AdaptiveWork has been designed from the ground up to promote and enable teamwork, transparency and communication. Why? Because we know that when our customers master this trio of core competencies, they don’t merely manage change. They transform, evolve and reach unprecedented levels of success.

Learn more about how Planview AdaptiveWork can make Change Management work for your organization – instead of against it – by accessing our tailored workplace collaboration solutions: click here.

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Written by Team AdaptiveWork