Well known in the management field, Harvard Business School professor and renowned change expert John Paul Kotter is the author of 21 books, with 12 of them considered best-selling books and two of them making the New York Times bestseller list. In particular, in his book Leading Change (1996) he presents an 8-step change management model that he developed based on research of 100 organisations that have gone through a transformation process. To illustrate his model, here are the 8 or so key steps in his process.

John Paul Kotter

John Paul Kotter

First, to simplify Kotter's Law, it is important to understand that the best changes begin with immediate results. A philosophy of short-term success or a sequence of micro-successes that subsequently leads to greater achievements or lasting positive change. A model that is both a change management methodology and a repository of skills that managers need to master.

How to implement Kotter's Law?

First, John Paul Kotter broke down the change process into eight stages of change management, which we now call Kotter's 8-step change model. It is defined as follows:

1. Identify emergencies

At this stage, identify and highlight the threats and impacts that may arise in the future and examine the opportunities that can be exploited. Then initiate honest dialogues and discussions to get people thinking about the emergency.

2. Create powerful work teams

Identify effective change leaders in your organisations and key stakeholders, seeking their involvement and commitment to the whole process. Ensure that the team involves many influential people from different departments.

3. Develop a vision and strategy

Determine the core values, define the ultimate vision and strategies for achieving change in an organisation. Ensure that change leaders can describe the vision effectively.

4. Communicate the vision

Communicate the change in vision very often in a powerful and convincing way. Link the vision to all critical aspects such as performance reviews, training, etc., and address employee concerns.

5. Remove obstacles

Continually check for barriers or people who resist change. Take proactive actions to remove the barriers involved in the change process and reward those who approve of the change and support the process.

6. Look for short-term gains

By creating short-term gains at the beginning of the change process, you can give a sense of victory in the early stages of change. In short, create many short-term goals instead of one long-term goal by limiting the possibility of failure. Again, reward the contributions of those involved in achieving the goals and gains.

7. Consolidate what you have learned

Work towards continuous improvement of wins while analysing individual successes and improving on individual experiences. In short, analyse what went right and what went wrong after each win.

8. Anchor change in the corporate culture

Discuss success stories related to change initiatives on each given opportunity and make sure that change is an integral part of your organisational culture and that it is visible in all organisational aspects. Also, ensure that leaders continue to extend their support for change.

To remember...

Resistance to change is one of the most common challenges we face in companies when we want to improve the organisation of work. To this end, the Kotter model is well suited to charting the course of a project you want to implement. Although it has some drawbacks in terms of time and involvement, it has a high success rate!