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Eight Step Model for Change Management By Dr. John Kotter

by on October 10, 2010

Dr. John Kotter is a Harvard Business School Professor and is the guru in change management. Dr. Kotter has proven over his years of research that following this 8 Step Process will help organizations succeed in an ever-changing world –

  1. Establish a Sense of Urgency
    • Examine market and competitive realities
    • Identify and discuss crises, potential crises, or major opportunities
    • Dr. Kotter suggests that for change to be successful, 75% of a company’s management needs to “buy into” the change. In other words, you have to really work hard on Step One, and spend significant time and energy building urgency, before moving onto the next steps. Don’t panic and jump in too fast because you don’t want to risk further short-term losses – if you act without proper preparation, you could be in for a very bumpy ride.
  2. Form a Powerful Guiding Coalition
    • Assemble a group with enough power to lead the change effort
    • Encourage the group to work as a team
  3. Create a Vision
    • Create a vision to help direct the change effort
    • Develop strategies for achieving that vision
  4. Communicate the Vision
    • Use every vehicle possible to communicate the new vision and strategies
    • Teach new behaviors by the example of the guiding coalition
  5. Empower Others to Act on the Vision
    • Get rid of obstacles to change
    • Change systems or structures that seriously undermine the vision
    • Encourage risk-taking and nontraditional ideas, activities, and actions
  6. Plan for and Create Short-Term Wins
    • Plan for visible performance improvements
    • Create those improvements
    • Recognize and reward employees involved in the improvements
  7. Consolidate Improvements and Produce Still More Change
    • Use increased credibility to change systems, structures, and policies that don’t fit the vision
    • Hire, promote, and develop employees who can implement the vision
    • Reinvigorate the process with new projects, themes, and change agents
  8. Institutionalize New Approaches
    • Articulate the connections between the new behaviors and organizational success
    • Develop the means to ensure leadership development and succession

Source: Kotter, John P. “Winning at Change” Leader to Leader. 10 (Fall 1998): 27-33.

Official Website of Dr. John Kotter:

I hope this is helpful for our IMT 581 class.




From → Good to Know

One Comment
  1. Jongmin Moon permalink

    Good to see Kotter’s model. I highly recommend reading Kotter’s book, “The Heart of Change” because there are a lot of examples that are used to better convey each step. It’s a quick and easy read.

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