The 8 Steps for Leading Change

Posted by Rishil Babu

Over thirty 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.

Its proven over the years of research that following the 8-Step Process for Leading Change helps organizations succeed in an ever-changing world.

Step One: Increase urgency In order to change, we need to understand the need to do it. Time is required at this stage to ensure support for the change. The reasons need to be human, not business.

Step Two: Build guiding teams Change needs leadership. This comes from influential people throughout the organisation, not necessarily the senior people. They need to work together as a team to build momentum around the change. All relevant points of view should be included.

Step Three: Get the vision right We need to understand and remember why we are doing the change. A vision helps us to understand what we are trying to achieve. The vision must be inspirational and achievable.

Step Four: Communicate the Vision The vision needs to be shared frequently and powerfully. It should be part of all communication. We need to see that leaders are practising what the vision says. Behaviour is more powerful than words.

Step Five: Enable action There will be some processes and structures that get in the way of change. Some people will also resist it. We need to be rewarded and recognised for change, and supported to overcome barriers. Where there is resistance, honest discussion is needed.

Step Six: Create Short-term Wins
Look for things that you can achieve as you go along, set goals that can be met in the short-term so that everyone is motivated by the early successes and is rewarded for their effort. This makes everyone more positive and optimistic.

Step Seven: Don’t let up Evaluate as you go along to see what is working and what needs to improve. Keep on building on the successes. Keep sharing the vision and get more and more people involved.

Step Eight: Make it stick The change needs to be based on values that can be seen in day-to-day work. The change should be visible in all that you do. Culture change comes last, not first and happens because people can see the new way is better than the old.

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