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Leading Change John P. Kotter. “The rate of change is not going to slow Down anytime soon. If anything, competition In most industries will probably speed up Even more in the next few decades.”. Generate solution options and metrics. Apply Science of Learning & Human Performance.

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leading change john p kotter

Leading ChangeJohn P. Kotter

“The rate of change is not going to slow

Down anytime soon. If anything, competition

In most industries will probably speed up

Even more in the next few decades.”

leading the change process

Generate solution options and metrics

Apply Science of Learning & Human Performance

Conduct effectiveness & cost analysis

Translate job requirements into competencies



(K, S, A, T)




Leading the Change Process

Creating Major Change

The 8 Stage Process of Creating Major Change

1. Establishing a Sense of Urgency

2. Creating a Guiding Coalition

3. Developing a Vision & Strategy

4. Communicating the Change Vision

5. Empowering Broad-Based Action

6. Generating Short-Term Wins

7. Consolidating Gains & Producing More Change

8. Anchoring New Approaches in the Culture

Source: Leading Change, John P. Kotter, 1998


Establishing a Sense of Urgency

  • Examining the market & competitive realities
  • Identifying & discussing crisis, potential crisis, major opportunities

Creating Major Change

  • Concepts:
  • Create a crisis: highlight major weaknesses, allow errors to compound
  • Eliminate obvious examples of excess (company facilities, services,etc
  • Set goals & targets unrealistically high
  • Distribute company-wide performance data highlighting deficiencies to more employees
  • Force interaction with unsatisfied “customers, suppliers, shareholders.”
  • Use consultants to force more relevant & honest appraisals
  • Bombard people with information on future opportunities, rewards for capitalize on those opportunities, & potential “lost opportunities.”

Source: Leading Change, John P. Kotter, 1998


Creating a Guiding Coalition

  • Putting together a group with enough power to lead the change
  • Getting the group to work together like a team

Creating Major Change

  • 4 Key Characteristics of Guiding Coalition:
  • Positional Power: Are enough key players on board, especially the main line managers, so those left out can not easily block progress?
  • Expertise: Are the various points of view, relevant to the tasks at hand, adequately represented so that informed, intelligent decisions can be made?
  • Credibility: Does the group have enough people, with good reputations, that its pronoucements will be taken serious by the other employees?
  • Leadership: Does the group include enough proven leaders to be able to drive the change process?

Source: Leading Change, John P. Kotter, 1998


Developing a Vision & Strategy

  • Creating a vision to help direct the change effort
  • Developing strategies for achieving that vision

Creating Major Change

  • Characteristics of an Effective Vision
  • Imaginable: Conveys a picture of what the future will look like
  • Desirable: Appeals to the long-term interests of employees, customers, stakeholders.
  • Feasible: Comprises realistic, attainable goals
  • Focused: Is clear enough to provide guidance in decision making
  • Flexible: Is it general enough to allow individual initiative & alternative responses in light of changing condition.
  • Communicable: Is easy to communicate, can be successfully explained within 5 minutes.

Source: Leading Change, John P. Kotter, 1998


Communicating the Change Vision

  • Using every vehicle possible to constantly communicate the new vision &
  • strategies
  • Having the guiding coalition role model the behavior expected of employees

Creating Major Change

  • Key elements in communicating the vision:
  • Simplicity. All jargon & technobabble must be eliminated.
  • Metaphor, Analogy & Example. A verbal picture is worth a thousand words.
  • Multiple Forums. Big meetings & small, memos, newspapers, formal and informal meetings….
  • Repetition. Ideas sink in only after they have been heard many times
  • Leadership by Example. Behavior by important people that is inconsistent with the vision overwhelms other forms of communication.
  • Explanation of Seeming Inconsistency. Unaddressed inconsistencies undermine the credibility of all communications.
  • Give & Take. Two way communication is always more powerful and one-way communication.

Source: Leading Change, John P. Kotter, 1998


Empowering Broad-Based Action

  • Getting rid of obstacles
  • Changing systems or structures that undermine the change vision
  • Encouraging risk taking & non-traditional ideas, activities & actions

Creating Major Change

  • Empowering People to Effect Change
  • Communicate a sensible vision to employees.
  • Make sure structures are compatible with the vision.
  • Provide the training employees need.
  • Align information and personnel systems to the vision.
  • Confront supervisors who undercut needed change.

Source: Leading Change, John P. Kotter, 1998


Generating Short-Term Wins

  • Planning for visible improvements in performance, or “wins”
  • Creating those wins
  • Visibly recognizing & rewarding people who made the win possible

Creating Major Change

  • Provides evidence that sacrifices are worth it.
  • Reward change agents.
  • Helps fine-tune vision & strategies.
  • Undermine cynics and self-serving registers.
  • Keep bosses on board.
  • Build Momentum.

Source: Leading Change, John P. Kotter, 1998


Consolidating Gains & Producing More Change

  • Using increased credibility to change all systems, structures & policies that
  • don’t fit together and don’t fit the transformation strategy
  • Hiring, promoting, & developing people who can implement the change vision
  • Reinvigorating the process with new projects, themes & change agents

Creating Major Change

  • More change, not less. The guiding coalition uses the credibility afforded by the short-term wins to tackle additional and bigger change projects
  • More Help. Additional people are brought in, promoted and developed to help with all the changes
  • Leadership from Senior Management. Senior people focus on maintaining clarity of shared purpose, keeping urgency levels up.
  • People management & leadership from below. Lower ranks in the hierarchy provide both leadership & management for specific projects.
  • Reduction of unnecessary interdependencies. To make change easier in both short/long-term, managers identify and eliminate unnecessary organizational interdependencies.

Note: Resistance is always waiting to reassert itself!

Source: Leading Change, John P. Kotter, 1998


Creating Major Change

  • Anchoring New Approaches in the Culture
  • Creating better performance through customer- & productivity oriented
  • behavior, more and better leadership, & more effective management
  • Articulating the connections between new behavior & organizational success
  • Developing means to ensure leadership development & succession
  • Concepts:
  • Culture changes come last, not first. Most alteration in norms & shared values come at the end of the transformation process
  • Results matter. New approaches usually sink into a culture only after it is very clear that they work and are superior to the old methods.
  • Requires a lot of talk. Without verbal instruction and support, people are reluctant to admit the validity of new practices.
  • May involve turnover. Sometime the only way to change a culture is to change key people.
  • Makes decision on succession crucial. If promotion processes are not changed to be compatible with the new practices, the old culture will reassert itself

Source: Leading Change, John P. Kotter, 1998