Successful Change Management—Kotter's 8-Step Change Model

Apr 21, 2021 12 min read
Successful Change Management—Kotter's 8-Step Change Model

This is the ONLY guide you'll need to understand John Kotter's 8-step change model. Learn how successful organizational change happens, and alter the way YOU approach change.

In 1996 John Kotter wrote Leading Change which looked at what people did to transform their organizations. Kotter introduced an 8-step change model for helping managers deal with transformational change.

For The Heart of Change: Real-Life Stories of How People Change Their Organizations (2002) John Kotter worked with Dan Cohen to look into the core problems people face when leading change. They concluded that the central issue was changing the behaviour of people, and that successful change occurs when speaking to people’s feelings.

In this article, the Lazy Leader explains how Kotter’s 8-step change model gets to the heart of how successful organizational change actually happens. Moreover, it answers the question, “how do you go beyond simply getting your message across to truly changing people’s behaviour?”

You can see this at work in my post, The 3 Most Important Things a Successful Project Manager Does—The Lazy Leader's Project Management Sermon.

You’ll also learn how The Heart of Change can alter the way organizations and leaders approach change management.

Since this guide covers a lot of ground and is a long read (3,000 words) you may want to check out the table of contents for some quick jumping around.

Want to read something shorter? Visit our related post: The Heart of Change: How to Lead Successful Change.

Successful Change Management

John Kotter’s 8-step change model comprises eight overlapping steps. The first three are all about creating a climate for change. The next on engaging and enabling the organization. And the last, implementing and sustaining change.

From experience, we learn that successful change occurs when there is commitment, a sense of urgency or momentum, stakeholder engagement, openness, clear vision, good and clear communication, strong leadership, and a well executed plan. Kotter’s 8-step change model recognizes each of these characteristics.

Kotter’s 8-step change model for leading change

We highly recommend you read The Heart of Change by John Kotter and Dan Cohen. Whether you are a senior executive, in middle management, part of a project team, or just starting out, the research, which is backed up with stories—mini case studies—and exercises, is invaluable and easy to understand.

Kotter's 8 Steps of Change

The reading provides straightforward advice that makes much sense, and undoubtedly, you will have observed what is written.

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