Saturday, March 23, 2013


Just so I don't have to look around for it again, I'm repeating the Kotter 8.   I think Step 7, which I saw on a poster at work, is beautiful, and as I review this list I weep for my own change efforts at work.  Most of the things I'm after do not get passed step 1.  

So perhaps my new shakeup at work, one that I was scoffing at, I can think carefully.  The execs have stirred up the nest, they've got the first four checked off the list.   The question for me is how do I get behind this wave to lift my little boat up? 

In his book "The heart of Change", Kotter identified 8 steps required to successfully deliver transformation. They are a very useful checklist, and review list through a change programme to ensure that the programme has a balance of the elements required for success. The text below are his quotes relating to each Step.
Step 1: create a sense of urgency
Those who are most successful at significant change begin their work by creating a sense of urgency among the relevant people. In smaller organizations, the 'relevant' are more likely to number 100 than five, in larger organizations 1,000 rather than 50.... A sense of urgency, sometimes developed by very creative means, gets people off the couch, out of a bunker, and ready to move
Step 2: put together a guiding team 
With the urgency turned up, the more successful change agents pull together a guiding team with the credibility, skills, connections, reputations, and formal authority required to provide change leadership. This group learns to operate...with trust and emotional commitment.
Step 3: create visions and strategies
the guiding team creates sensible, clear, simple, uplifting visions and sets of strategies. In the less successful cases, there are only detailed plans and budgets that...are insufficient, or a vision that is not very sensible..., or a vision that is created by others and largely ignored by the guiding team."
Step 4: communicate for buy in
Communication of the vision and strategies comes next - simple, heartfelt messages sent through many unclogged channels. The goal is to induce understanding, develop a gut-level commitment, and liberate more energy from a critical mass of people. Here, deeds are often more important than words. Symbols speak loudly. Repetition is key
Step 5: empower people
In the best situations, you find a heavy dose of empowerment. Key obstacles that stop people from acting on the vision are removed. Change leaders focus on bosses who disempower, on inadequate information and information systems, and on self-confidence barriers in people's minds. The issue here is removing obstacles, not 'giving power'.
Step 6: produce short-term wins
With empowered people working on the vision, in cases of great success those people are helped to produce short-term wins. The wins are critical. They provide credibility, resources, and momentum to the overall effort
Step 7: build momentum
change leaders don't let up. Momentum builds after the first wins. Early changes are consolidated. People shrewdly choose what to tackle next, then create wave after wave of change until the vision is a reality. In less successful cases, people try to do too much at once.
Step 8: nurture a new culture
A new culture develops through consistency of successful action over a sufficient period of time. Here, appropriate promotions, skilful new employee orientation, and events that engage emotions can make a big difference. In other cases a great deal of work can be blown away by the winds of tradition in a remarkably short period of time


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