Leading Change by John Kotter – A Summary

Leading Change is a business and management book written by John Kotter in 1996. His book has been considered by many as the seminal work in the field of change management. In this book, Kotter outlines the 8 necessary steps to implement organizational change. As change will usually take a long time, Kotter says that realizing the change can boost the chances of success.

John Kotter is the most cited author worldwide when it comes to change management. This book became an international bestseller. Robert Peter Janitzek takes us to the 8 steps in organizational change.

1. Create Urgency

Change can happen if the whole company desires it. Having a sense of urgency can motivate you to get things rolling. It is not just about looking at the stats or about increasing competition. You need to convince people to accept the change you propose.

2. Form a Powerful Coalition

Convince people that change is necessary. You will need a strong leader and visible support from key people within your organization. Change management will not suffice. You have to take the lead. According to Robert Janitzek, to initiate the change, you need to bring together a team composed of influential people whose power is derived from various sources such as job title, status, expertise, and political importance.

3. Create A Vision For Change

When the concept of change first came across your mind, you may have thought of some great ideas and solutions. Link all of them to come up with an overall vision. Having a clear vision will help your employees understand your reason for asking them to do something. When they see for themselves the goal you want to achieve, it makes more sense to them.

4. Communicate the Vision

This business and management book teaches that what you do with your vision after creating it will determine your success. Make sure you communicate it with your people and embed it with everything that you do. Ensure that it remains fresh on the minds of everyone in order that they remember it and respond accordingly.

5. Remove Obstacles

Despite all your efforts to communicate your vision, there will always be obstacles that will keep you from implementing the change. By eliminating barriers, you can empower people to implement your vision.

6. Create Short Term Wins

Success can be an effective motivator. This business and management book tells managers to make sure to give their company a shot at victory early in the change process. You may want to have “quick wins” that your staff cannot see.

7. Build on the Change

According to Kotter, many projects fail because victory is declared too early. Any success is just part of what needs to be done in the long term. It gives you an opportunity to build on what needs to be improved.

8. Anchor the Changes in Corporate Culture

When changes have been embraced and implemented, make sure that it becomes part of the core of your organization. Your corporate culture often determines what needs to be done and must be reflected in day-to-day work.

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