Featured

Kotter’s 8-Steps: Leading Change in the 21st Century Organization


CHARLOTTE, NC. April 2010, by

Is there a good way to attack change in organizations? To influence (and maybe even ‘fix’) the complex org cultures that drive the collective behavior of their members?

That’s the focus of this post, the 5th in my series on culture change.

John Kotter gave us perhaps the best-circulated approach for change in his HBR paper that turned into the classic: Leading Change (1996). With the caveat that there are no silver bullets I believe Kotter provides a strong, intuitive and timeless approach to grappling with change.

Unfortunately, too many have given up along the way.

Organization change and, more specifically, changing an organization’s culture, share a common scope and scale. They are, in many ways, intertwined. That means Kotter can take us in the right direction. Let me recap his 8-point outline here, providing some 21st century insight and ‘solution language’ of my own to update his framing.

  1. Urgency. Per Kotter, one of the biggest enemies is complacency. Why change? Keeping things the way they are is easier. That may be. But the path to major improvements of any kind will be held hostage with this mindset. Low standards or segmented (silo’d) accountabilities can create a false sense that eveything is okay. Change requires everyone to get beyond that comfort zone, to “step up” for something new, different, and better.
  2. Coalition. Inspiring and sponsoring change is the work of leaders, so it’s critical that they engage. That means an oversight group that includes respected leaders is key. Without it, the organization will sense management’s lack of investment and will fail to participate.
  3. Vision. The organization needs to know where it is being asked to go. Having a strong, unambiguous statement that frames the future state is the only way for the organization to focus on it. A well-written vision is motivating, inspiring the organization to come together.
  4. Communication. Many change efforts fail because they don’t reach far enough into the organization. An effective communication program makes the work of the change initiative part of the organization’s daily affairs, embedding messages in as many artifacts and venues as possible. Think ‘saturation’ and you’ll be on the right track. But it needs to be simple and actionable, to retain people’s attention.
  5. Empowerment. Employees often don’t feel they can influence the vision. If they feel disconnected and removed from the issues, they will feel ineffective and powerless, and will not to want to waste their time. The key is to establish a link between how specific employee and departmental actions can realize the vision. Barriers must be removed. And management must start letting go of their unilateral decisions, trusting larger cross-functional teams to work things out. There is less control and predictability in this mode, but empowerment creates the conditions where new ideas can spark and flourish.
  6. Momentum. Major change takes time, and there will be detractors. Kotter notes that posting interim gains drives credibility when it is most needed – on the long road toward implementation. Focus here also puts energy to fine tuning the vision, applying lessons learned along the way.
  7. Integration. I love Kotter’s quote “resistance always waits to reassert itself,” so ‘consolidating gains’ is important. If change initiatives have structures that sit outside of daily operations, we must weave the new programs, policies, people and structures back in. If change remains outside the mainstream for too long, it can seem foreign to the rest of the organization.
  8. Anchoring. The organizations culture must reflect the new changes if they are to survive long-term. Organizations tend to have long memories, and if the leadership changes or the initiative is called into question, there will be many who offer the “old way” as an alternative solution to all the change. That is why bringing the culture forward to align with the change is critical.

Kotter says “human beings are emotional creatures, and we ignore that at our peril.” I agree. I put it like this:

It is not enough to make the case in facts and figures. People have to believe in the change, own it, and live it. Ensuring organization culture incorporates the change elements is the only way to ensure long-term viability.

Again, it would be a mistake to simply follow these steps (or others like them) and expect change to result directly. As we’ve discussed at each post in this series, the many dimensions, structures, and complexities in organizations create challenges at every turn. Leaders recognize this, and adapt their approach over the life of the change effort.

At the core of it, is a commitment. They can’t ever lose faith. To lose forward momentum is to accept defeat.

We started talking in January on barriers to ‘2.0’, with the idea that ‘social media’ integration and, more broadly, ‘innovation’ itself faced many cultural barriers. Leading coordinated change initiatives (vs. traditional ‘change management’) appears to be the only truly viable path forward. It is truly ‘no small task’. But that’s not to say it’s impossible. It’s simply hard work.

Call me old fashioned, but the sooner we start, the sooner we’ll be done. I say (again): let’s get going.

168 thoughts on “Kotter’s 8-Steps: Leading Change in the 21st Century Organization

  1. Pingback: Transforming the Workplace: Charting a Path to a Better Place | Career Management and Workplace Culture Blog | TalentCulture.com

  2. Pingback: 5 Barriers to Change - How to find and remove barriers to change

  3. Pingback: Transforming the Workplace: Charting a Path to a Better Place

  4. Pingback: Analysis Paper | Credence Writ

  5. Pingback: Cultural Analysis Green Growth Brands/Seventh Sense 5 PAGES Best Custom Essay Writing Services | EssayBureau.com

  6. Pingback: Final Project Part 1: Culture Analysis Paper - Go Online Papers

  7. Pingback: Human Resource Management homework help - Quality Homework Answers

  8. Pingback: Cultural analysis green growth brands/seventh sense 5 pages - 111papers.com

  9. Pingback: Cultural analysis green growth brands/seventh sense 5 pages – Homework Market Help

  10. Pingback: Cultural Analysis Green Growth Brands - Proficient Writers Hub

  11. Pingback: Cultural analysis green growth brands/seventh sense 5 pages - 911papers.com

  12. Pingback: Transforming the Workplace: Charting a Path to a Better Place - TalentCulture

  13. Pingback: Cultural Analysis Green Growth Brands/Seventh Sense 5 PAGES - Perfect Academic Research

  14. Pingback: Cultural Analysis Green Growth Brands/Seventh Sense 5 – Creative Mamie

  15. Pingback: HRMN Discussion 6 - Homwork webwriters

  16. Pingback: HRMN Discussion 6 » TRUSTED AGENCY ✔

  17. Pingback: Organizational Change Based on Kotter's 8 steps - Kingdomessays.com

  18. Pingback: HRMN Discussion 6 - Academic Nerds

  19. Pingback: Based on Kotters 8 steps describe the change. - Firstgrader.net

  20. Pingback: Kotter's 8 steps, describe the change - Myessayvalet.com

  21. Pingback: hink of a recent change that happened in your organization. Try to focus on a large change, not just a small change in artifacts, such as a form. It might be a policy change, a change in leadership, a change in organizational goals. Think about how it was

  22. Pingback: Cultural analysis green growth brands/seventh sense 5 pages - Custom Writings Co

  23. Pingback: Cultural analysis green growth brands/seventh sense 5 pages - Essay Fountain

  24. Pingback: Cultural analysis green growth brands/seventh sense 5 pages - Assignment Research Writer

  25. Pingback: Cultural analysis green growth brands/seventh sense 5 pages - Graduate Writing

  26. Pingback: Cultural analysis green growth brands/seventh sense 5 pages - HOMEWORK HELP

  27. Pingback: Cultural analysis green growth brands/seventh sense 5 pages - Essays Masters

  28. Pingback: Cultural Analysis Green Growth Brands/Seventh Sense 5 PAGES - HomeworkandEssays.com

  29. Pingback: Cultural analysis green growth brands/seventh sense 5 pages - Assignment Press

  30. Pingback: Cultural analysis green growth brands/seventh sense 5 pages - Scholars Papers

  31. Pingback: Cultural Analysis Green Growth Brands/Seventh Sense 5 PAGES - My Essay Gram

  32. Pingback: Cultural analysis green growth brands/seventh sense 5 pages – Hero Papers

  33. Pingback: Cultural Analysis Green Growth Brands/Seventh Sense 5 PAGES | My Essay Homework

  34. Pingback: organizational Culture HR, management assignment help - Canvasessays

  35. Pingback: The company is called Green Growth Brands/Seventh Sense - Academicden

  36. Pingback: Final Project Part 1: Culture Analysis Paper - Academicden

  37. Pingback: Cultural analysis green growth brands/seventh sense 5 pages – MyEssay.help

  38. Pingback: organizational Culture HR, management assignment help - Perfectessaysdone.com

  39. Pingback: organizational Culture HR, management assignment help - Top Grade Professors

  40. Pingback: organizational Culture HR, management assignment help - Timelyhomework.com

  41. Pingback: organizational Culture HR management assignment help - uniessaypapers

  42. Pingback: organizational Culture HR management assignment help – Excellent Homeworks

  43. Pingback: organizational Culture HR management assignment help - Writing Collection

  44. Pingback: organizational Culture HR management assignment help - AU Savvy Writers

  45. Pingback: organizational Culture HR, management assignment help - Bluessay

  46. Pingback: organizational Culture HR, management assignment help - QUALITY GRADE PROFESSORS

  47. Pingback: Cultural Analysis Green Growth Brands/Seventh Sense 5 PAGES - Essay Hub

  48. Pingback: organizational Culture HR, management assignment help - Instant Homework Solution

  49. Pingback: organizational Culture HR management assignment help - Nursing Writers Hub

  50. Pingback: organizational Culture HR, management assignment help - Academic Writers Den

  51. Pingback: Question #1 -  Think of a recent change that happened in your organization. Try to focus on a large change, not just a small change in artifacts, such as a form. It might be a policy change, a change in leadership, a change in organizational goals. Think

  52. Pingback: Change that happened in organization research – Academic Dealer

  53. Pingback: Historical data and information assignment – Academic Dealer

  54. Pingback: 3411 - nursingassignmentswriters.com

  55. Pingback: 4892 - nursingassignmentswriters.com

  56. Pingback: 3411 - nursingbrainywriters.com

  57. Pingback: 4892 - nursingbrainywriters.com

  58. Pingback: 4892 - Nursing Writers help

  59. Pingback: 3411 - Nursing Homework Writers

  60. Pingback: 4892 - Nursing Homework Writers

  61. Pingback: 3411 - Nursing Writers help

  62. Pingback: 4892 - nursingwriterspro.com

  63. Pingback: 3411 - nursingwriterspro.com

  64. Pingback: Activity #1 - Exemplary Writers

  65. Pingback: Activity #1 - Exemplary Writers

  66. Pingback: 4892 - Academicwritershelp.com

  67. Pingback: 3411 - Academicwritershelp.com

  68. Pingback: Change in organizational goals - Ace Term Paper

  69. Pingback: organizational Culture HR, management assignment help – Homeworkassign.com

  70. Pingback: Using Kotter’s tables comparing the 20th and 21st century organizations and his - Unique Assignment Writers

  71. Pingback: Final Project Part 1: Culture Analysis Paper - Achiever Student:

  72. Pingback: Final project part 2: Change Management Plan (presentation) This assignment allo - Solved Exercises

  73. Pingback: organizational Culture HR management assignment help - Savvy Writers

  74. Pingback: 3411 - Onlineessaywritershelp.com

  75. Pingback: 3411 - Onlinenursingforum.com

  76. Pingback: 4892 - Onlineessaywritershelp.com

  77. Pingback: 4892 - Onlinenursingforum.com

  78. Pingback: 3411 - onlinenursingpage.com

  79. Pingback: 4892 - onlinenursingpage.com

  80. Pingback: Final project part 2: Change Management Plan (presentation) This assignment allo - Lesson Way

  81. Pingback: Final project part 2: Change Management Plan (presentation) This assignment allo - wordd.info

  82. Pingback: Final project part 2: Change Management Plan (presentation) This assignment allo - tutorbe.info

  83. Pingback: Final project part 2: Change Management Plan (presentation) This assignment allo - studyoak.info

  84. Pingback: Final project part 2: Change Management Plan (presentation) This assignment allo - readlord.info

  85. Pingback: Final project part 2: Change Management Plan (presentation) This assignment allo - taskry.info

  86. Pingback: Final project part 2: Change Management Plan (presentation) This assignment allo - zenducate.info

  87. Pingback: Final project part 2: Change Management Plan (presentation) This assignment allo - nowessay.info

  88. Pingback: Final project part 2: Change Management Plan (presentation) This assignment allo - tutoreer.info

  89. Pingback: Final project part 2: Change Management Plan (presentation) This assignment allo - readbout.info

  90. Pingback: Final project part 2: Change Management Plan (presentation) This assignment allo - tutorfish.info

  91. Pingback: Final project part 2: Change Management Plan (presentation) This assignment allo - educature.info

  92. Pingback: Final project part 2: Change Management Plan (presentation) This assignment allo - termsy.info

  93. Pingback: Final project part 2: Change Management Plan (presentation) This assignment allo - learnonic.info

  94. Pingback: Final project part 2: Change Management Plan (presentation) This assignment allo - edxam.info

  95. Pingback: Final project part 2: Change Management Plan (presentation) This assignment allo - The Scholar Essay

  96. Pingback: 3411 - Onlineassignmentpage.com

  97. Pingback: Final project part 2: Change Management Plan (presentation) This assignment allo - Papers Gulf

  98. Pingback: Final project part 2: Change Management Plan (presentation) This assignment allo – versedwriters

  99. Pingback: 4892 - Onlineassignmentpage.com

  100. Pingback: Final project part 2: Change Management Plan (presentation) This assignment allo - Robust Papers

  101. Pingback: Final project part 2: Change Management Plan (presentation) This assignment allo - nerdoff.info

  102. Pingback: organizational Culture HR management assignment help - Aplus Writers

  103. Pingback: Final project part 2: Change Management Plan (presentation) This assignment allo - pennoy.info

  104. Pingback: 3411 - Best Homework Writers

  105. Pingback: 4892 - Best Homework Writers

  106. Pingback: Final project part 2: Change Management Plan (presentation) This assignment allo – assignment

  107. Pingback: organizational Culture HR management assignment help - Topnursingtutors.com

  108. Pingback: organizational Culture HR management assignment help

  109. Pingback: organizational Culture HR management assignment help | Excelsior Writers | excelsiorwriters.com - Excelsior Writers

  110. Pingback: organizational Culture HR management assignment help - Assignmentgeeks.org

  111. Pingback: - Exemplary Writers

  112. Pingback: 4892 - Assignmentwritershelp

  113. Pingback: 4892 - Online Nursing Units

  114. Pingback: 3411 - Assignmentwritershelp

  115. Pingback: 3411 - Coursework Assignment

  116. Pingback: 4892 - Coursework Assignment

  117. Pingback: 3411 - Online Nursing Units

  118. Pingback: 3411 - Online Studies Program

  119. Pingback: 3411 - Online Study Pool

  120. Pingback: 4892 - Online Study Pool

  121. Pingback: 4892 - Nursing Study Pool

  122. Pingback: 3411 - Nursing Study Pool

  123. Pingback: 3411 - Nursingprofessionalwriters.com

  124. Pingback: 4892 - Online Studies Program

  125. Pingback: 4892 - Nursing Tutors Gig

  126. Pingback: 3411 - Nursing Tutors Gig

  127. Pingback: Think of a recent change that happened in your organization. Try to focus on a large change, not just a small change in artifacts, such as a form. It might be a policy change, a change in leadership, a change in organizational goals. Think about how it wa

  128. Pingback: This assignment allows you to demonstrate mastery of course outcomes: - experttermpapers.com

  129. Pingback: Final project part 2: Change Management Plan (presentation) This assignment allo - Premium essays

  130. Pingback: Final Project Part 1: Culture Analysis Paper | Homeworkcrew

  131. Pingback: 4892 - collegenursingpaper.com

  132. Pingback: Final Project Part 1: Culture Analysis Paper - Coursework Guide

  133. Pingback: Final project part 2: Change Management Plan (presentation) This assignment allo - SEW

  134. Pingback: Final project part 2: Change Management Plan (presentation) This assignment allo - AssignmentHub

  135. Pingback: Final project part 2: Change Management Plan (presentation) This assignment allo - Slick Essays

  136. Pingback: Final project part 2: Change Management Plan (presentation) This assignment allo - Skillful essays | Professional essay writing services

  137. Pingback: Final project part 2: Change Management Plan (presentation) This assignment allo

  138. Pingback: Final project part 2: Change Management Plan (presentation) This assignment allo - Online Assignment

  139. Pingback: Final project part 2: Change Management Plan (presentation) This assignment allo - VIP ASSIGNMENTS

  140. Pingback: organizational Culture HR, management assignment help | splashwriters.com - Splash Writers

  141. Pingback: HRMN Discussion 6 Assignments | Nursing Homework Help - Grand Paper Writers

  142. Pingback: organizational Culture HR, management assignment help _apluswriters.net - APlus Writers

  143. Pingback: Change in organizational goals discussion - Assignment Nation

  144. Pingback: 3411 - bestnursingtutors

  145. Pingback: 4892 - bestnursingtutors

  146. Pingback: 3411 - courseworkresearchers.com

  147. Pingback: 3411 - collegenursingpaper.com

  148. Pingback: 4892 - courseworkresearchers.com

  149. Pingback: choose one cultural change that needs to happen in the organization. - Assignment Porium

  150. Pingback: Analyze and describe the impact of organizational culture on performance - Solved Blog

  151. Pingback: Based on your last paper, create a change-management plan. Put yourself in the position of a consultant making recommendations to the CEO of the organization.  - Course Answers

  152. Pingback: Cultural analysis green growth brands/seventh sense 5 pages | Nail My Paper

  153. Pingback: Final project part 2: Change Management Plan (presentation) This assignment allo - Plagiarism Free Assessments

  154. Pingback: Final project part 2: Change Management Plan (presentation)This assignment allo - Course Hero

  155. Pingback: Cultural Analysis Green Growth Brands/Seventh Sense - Course Writer

  156. Pingback: Final project part 2: Change Management Plan (presentation) This assignment allo - Teach Papers

  157. Pingback: Final project part 2: Change Management Plan (presentation) This assignment allo - Plagiarism Free Papers

  158. Pingback: organizational Culture HR, management assignment help -Excelsior Writers | excelsiorwriters.com - Timely Excelsior Writers

  159. Pingback: Cultural analysis green growth brands/seventh sense 5 pages | Pay Someone To Write Essay

  160. Pingback: Cultural Analysis Green Growth Brands/Seventh Sense 5 PAGES - writingaidservices

  161. Pingback: hink of a recent change that happened in your organization. Try to focus on a large change, not just a small change in artifacts, such as a form. It might be a policy change, a change in leadership, a change in organizational goals. Think about how it was

  162. Pingback: Cultural analysis green growth brands/seventh sense 5 pages - My Essay App

  163. Pingback: HRMN Discussion 6 - Essaysolve

  164. Pingback: Cultural Analysis Green Growth Brands/Seventh Sense 5 PAGES - Essaysolve

  165. Pingback: Cultural analysis green growth brands/seventh sense 5 pages - Steel Writers

  166. Pingback: Analysis Paper – Paper Assignments

  167. Pingback: Cultural analysis green growth brands/seventh sense 5 pages - Assignment City

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s