Skip to main content

An Engine of Possibility

Talk With Kotter

We Did This Together


Disruption is a powerful catalyst. In the aftermath of the financial meltdown in 2008, challenges and opportunities – if your eyes were peeled to see them – were everywhere. A global enterprise storage and data management solutions company in California, NetApp had $4B in revenues and 7,000 employees worldwide in 2009. When customer purchasing patterns started to change to the benefit of its competitors, NetApp began to think differently. Instead of buying data management solutions direct from vendors like NetApp, customers were buying from third parties who packaged storage solutions with other hardware and software. These bundled solutions represented global partnering opportunities for NetApp, but they had been unable to leverage a go-to-market sales strategy. Coupled with a direct sales approach – one of the highest cost models in the industry – lower margins and profitability were impacting stock price and market cap. The risk of being taken over was real.

NetApp senior leaders hired Kotter to help them achieve three strategic goals: grow market share, implement global partnerships, and drive efficiencies to lower operating costs. We began by increasing the level of true urgency across the company, aligning hearts and minds around the opportunity to be a leader in the emerging cloud computing market. 65% of all worldwide field operations personnel volunteered to help, laser-focused on the same North Star. Together we harnessed this employee engagement and the creativity that followed in a coordinated way. The organization stopped the decline and boldly wrote a new chapter of its story, jumping three market share positions. Now years after our engagement, the new ways of thinking and working together set in motion by Kotter continue to be an engine of possibility.

"It was the work of Kotter that fundamentally helped us structure our thinking. The essence of change is all around urgency. If you can keep urgency in good times, that’s a special team and leadership style. That's what makes extraordinary results happen."



Revenue growth achieved


Increase in sales through partners


Growth in market capitalization


Growth in operating income


Percentage of field operations volunteering to drive change