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Kotter's 8-Step process for leading change

Source: www.kotterinternational.com

According to Stuart Macgregor, CEO of Real IRM Solutions, John Kotter's change management principles can gel with an enterprise architecture (EA) roadmap to achieve business transformation.

These are:

Step 1: Create urgency

For change to happen, it helps if the whole company really wants it. Develop a sense of urgency around the need for change. This may help you spark the initial motivation to get things moving.

Kotter suggests that for change to be successful, 75% of a company's management needs to `buy into' the change. In other words, you have to work really hard on Step 1, and spend significant time and energy building urgency, before moving onto the next steps.

Step 2: Form a powerful coalition

Convince people that change is necessary. This often takes strong leadership and visible support from key people within your organisation. Managing change isn't enough ā€“ you have to lead it.

You can find effective change leaders throughout your organisation ā€“ they don't necessarily follow the traditional company hierarchy. To lead change, you need to bring together a coalition, or team, of influential people whose power comes from a variety of sources, including job title, status, expertise, and political importance.

Once formed, your `change coalition' needs to work as a team, continuing to build urgency and momentum around the need for change.

Step 3: Create a vision for change

When you first start thinking about change, there will probably be many great ideas and solutions floating around. Link these concepts to an overall vision that people can grasp easily and remember.

A clear vision can help everyone understand why you're asking them to do something. When people see for themselves what you're trying to achieve, then the directives they're given tend to make more sense.

Step 4: Communicate the vision

What you do with your vision after you create it will determine your success. Your message will probably have strong competition from other day-to-day communications within the company, so you need to communicate it frequently and powerfully, and embed it within everything that you do.

Don't just call special meetings to communicate your vision. Instead, talk about it every chance you get. Use the vision daily to make decisions and solve problems. When you keep it fresh on everyone's minds, they'll remember it and respond to it.

Step 5: Remove obstacles

If you follow these steps and reach this point in the change process, you've been talking about your vision and building buy-in from all levels of the organisation. Hopefully, your staff wants to get busy and achieve the benefits that you've been promoting.

But is anyone resisting the change? And are there processes or structures that are getting in its way?

Put in place the structure for change, and continually check for barriers to it. Removing obstacles can empower the people you need to execute your vision, and it can help the change move forward.

Step 6: Create short-term wins

Nothing motivates more than success. Give your company a taste of victory early in the change process. Create short-term targets ā€“ not just one long-term goal. You want each smaller target to be achievable, with little room for failure. Your change team may have to work very hard to come up with these targets, but each `win' that you produce can further motivate the entire staff.

Step 7: Build on the change

Kotter argues that many change projects fail because victory is declared too early. Real change runs deep. Quick wins are only the beginning of what needs to be done to achieve long-term change.

Launching one new product using a new system is great. But if you can launch ten products, that means the new system is working. To reach that tenth success, you need to keep looking for improvements.

Each success provides an opportunity to build on what went right and identify what you can improve.

Step 8: Anchor the changes in corporate culture

Finally, to make any change stick, it should become part of the core of your organisation. Your corporate culture often determines what gets done, so the values behind your vision must show in day-to-day work.

Make continuous efforts to ensure that the change is seen in every aspect of your organisation. This will help give that change a solid place in your organisation's culture.

It's also important that your company's leaders continue to support the change. This includes existing staff and new leaders who are brought in. If you lose the support of these people, you might end up back where you started.

This article was first published in the November 2016 edition of ITWeb Brainstorm magazine. To read more, go to the Brainstorm website.


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