The 8-Stage Process of Creating Major Change — Foundation for Development of a Growth Vision Strategy


In our article “Change as a Growth Imperative,” we refer to the work of John Kotter, world-renowned expert on leadership at the Harvard Business School. Below we review his eight steps for creating major change:


  1. Establishing a Sense of Urgency
    • Examining the marketing and competitive realities
    • Identifying and discussing crises, potential crises, and opportunities
  2. Creating the Guiding Coalition
    • Forming a group with enough power to lead the change
    • Getting the group to work like a team
  3. Developing a Vision and Strategy
    • Creating a vision to direct the change effort
    • Developing strategies for achieving the vision
  4. Communicating the Change Vision
    • Using every possible vehicle to communicate the new vision/strategies and expectations for implementation
    • Having the guiding coalition “role model” the behavior expected of employees
  5. Empowering Broad-Based Action
    • Getting rid of obstacles
    • Changing system or structures that undermine the change vision
    • Encouraging risk-taking and non-traditional ideas, activities, actions
  6. Generating Short-Term Wins
    • Planning for performance improvements or “wins” and creating those wins
    • Visibly recognizing and rewarding people who made the wins possible
  7. Consolidating Gains and Producing More Change
    • Taking responsibility for changing the systems, structures and policies that don’t work and don’t support the strategy and change vision
    • Hiring, promoting and developing those people who can implement the change
    • Reinvigorating the process with new projects, themes, and change agents
  8. Anchoring New Approaches in the Culture
    • Creating better performance through customer-centric and productivity-oriented behavior, more and better leadership, and more effective management
    • Articulating the connections between new behaviors and organizational success
    • Developing the means to insure leadership development and succession

 *Adapted from Leading Change by John P. Kotter, Professor of Leadership at the Harvard Business School, published by Harvard Business School Press, 1996

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