John Kotter on Icebergs, Penguins and 8 steps for leading change

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One of the best books around on leading change must be John Kotter’s business novel “Our Iceberg is Melting: Changing and Succeeding Under Any Conditions” (Buy now at Amazon.co.uk or Kalahari.net). It’s written as a parable about a group of penguins.

At the end of the book, in just two pages, Kotter provides the theory in the form of 8 steps that need to followed by anyone wanting to lead others through change. He has given slightly more detail on his website – read the 8 steps here or below. And buy the book. It’ll take you less than an hour to read, and change your perspective forever.

The 8 Step Process for Leading Change, by John Kotter

30 years of research by leadership guru Dr. John Kotter have proven that 70% of all major change efforts in organizations fail.

Why do they fail? Because organizations often do not take the holistic approach required to see the change through.

However, by following the 8 Step Process outlined by Professor Kotter, organizations can avoid failure and become adept at change.

By improving their ability to change, organizations can increase their chances of success, both today and in the future. Without this ability to adapt continuously, organizations cannot thrive.

Dr. Kotter has proven over his years of research that following this 8 Step Process will help organizations succeed in an ever-changing world.

For more information, click on any of the steps below:

Step 1:
Acting With Urgency

Examine market and competitive realities
Identify and discuss crises, potential crises or major opportunities

Step 2:
Developing the Guiding Coalition

Assemble a group with enough power to lead the change effort
Encourage the group to work as a team

Step 3:
Developing a Change Vision

Create a vision to help direct the change effort
Develop strategies for achieving that vision

Step 4:
Communicating the Vision Buy-in

Use every vehicle possible to communicate the new vision and strategies
Teach new behaviors by the example of the Guiding Coalition

Step 5:
Empowering Broad-based Action

Remove obstacles to change
Change systems or structures that seriously undermine the vision
Encourage the risk-taking and nontraditional ideas, activities, and actions

Step 6:
Generating Short-term Wins

Plan for visible performance improvements
Create those improvements
Recognize and reward employees involved in the improvements

Step 7:
Don’t Let Up

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

Step 8:
Make Change Stick

Articulate the connections between the new behaviors and organizational success
Develop the means to ensure leadership development and succession

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