- 8-Step Change Model
- Roadblocks to change
Some business books are timeless classics. I feel that way about The Heart of Change by John P. Kotter. He introduced me to the concept that for change to happen, you need to appeal more to people’s heart than minds. Emotion is at the heart of change and that idea has become the basis for the field of change management. Successful leaders remember they are interacting with the whole person, which means their head and heart. Successful informational change is based on a people-driven approach that focuses on changing behavior of people and focuses on helping them see the reason for the change.
Business leaders must act quickly and remain relevant in the current highly competitive, global marketplace. Kotter suggests that for change to be successful, 75 percent of a team needs to “buy into” the change. His 8-step change model gives leaders a road map for how to be successful. The model explains how to create the climate for successful change, how to engage the organization and enabling it to undertake the change, and how to implement the change and make it sustainable. Below is a summary of the model.
8-Step Change Model
1. Increase Urgency
This first step is the most important step according to Kotter. Support and action come from making people aware of the need and urgency for change instead of being complacent. Part of the process is examining market, technology and competitive realities to identify potential crisis or opportunities. Creating the catalyst for change requires open and honest dialogue.
2. Build the Guiding Team
To build a powerful coalition, you need to assemble a allies and stakeholders with enough power to lead the change effort. More than likely this group will need to be a diverse set of employees from different departments and positions. The basis for how this group functions needs to be open communication and cooperation.
3. Get the Vision Right
The vision will direct the change effort. Kotter says that the vision needs to “Clarify how the future will be different from the past and how you can make that future a reality through initiatives linked directly to the vision.”
4. Communicating for Buy-In
Communication is a two-part process. One is using every means available to communicate the new vision and strategies. The second is listening to the feedback you get from the employees. To be successful you need to confront people’s concerns and anxiety to get buy-in for the new vision.
5. Empower Action
Removing obstacles will empower others to act on the vision. Obstacles can be systems, processes or structures that can undermine the vision. Pay attention to those resistant to change and recognize those who support it. Empowerment can come from non-traditional ideas when you give people freedom to generate impact outside of the normal area.
6. Create Short-Term Wins
Wins are motivators and reduce resistance to change. They need to be visible and celebrated whether they are small or large. Kotter says that, “Wins are the molecules of results. They must be recognized, collected and communicated – early and often – to track progress and energize volunteers to persist.”
7. Don’t Let Up
This step is about not letting up and settling for early success. Continue to assess whether your systems, structures, policies, and goals fit the vision. Evaluate whether you are hiring and developing employees who can implement the vision. See the quick wins from step 6 as the first of many waves of change until the vision is reality.
8. Make Change Stick
You need to anchor the change, so it becomes part of the culture. Kotter says to, “Articulate the connections between the new behaviors and organizational success, making sure they continue until they become strong enough to replace old habits.”
Roadblocks to change
- Doing it alone: Change needs a leadership coalition that is both formal and informal.
- Living in a bubble: Expert opinion is important but remember anyone can be an expert in the crowd of social media and the internet.
- Leading with fear: Fear is not the same as strength and competency.
- Lacking patience: Change needs patience to lay the groundwork and results are never instantaneous.
- Ignoring nonverbal: A written plan is necessary, but people read faces, mannerisms and tone of voice to get the full story.
- Analyzing too much: Leading change is more than information, analysis and reports.
- Seeing only self: Motivation is not universal and what motivates you doesn’t motivate others.
- Focusing on what’s wrong: Selling change as fixing what is wrong is not engaging.
- Tying it to money: Change tied to a monetary performance system is not a good motivator.
- Forgetting follow through: Practice and time need to be part of formula for change.
- Not understanding history: The culture and work history of the company and the employees will lead to a diversity of experiences and opinions that will affect their views of change.
In Kotter’s latest book, Accelerated, he expands on his previous book and says that, “Strategy should be viewed as a dynamic force that constantly seeks opportunities, identifies initiatives that will capitalize on them, and completes those initiatives swiftly and efficiently.” He sees change as being an ongoing process of “searching, doing, learning, and modifying.” The rate of change necessary to compete in today’s marketplace is not going to slow down so mastering change is more important than ever.
As an executive coach, one of my focuses is on helping clients navigate positive change. I understand the demands change places on executives and the organization. Harmony helps individuals and organizations navigate change effectively and efficiently through 1:1 coaching, Facilitating & Managing Change workshops, and helping leaders add coaching and communication skills via The Coaching Clinic, to their leadership toolkit. The next Coaching Clinic workshop is Oct 16 & 17. Sign up for Coaching Clinic now as space is limited. If you’re interested in exploring any of these services contact Bill Burtch at Harmony for a consultation at 901-272-7390 or [email protected]