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The 8 Steps for Leading Change

Kotter’s award-winning methodology is the proven approach to producing lasting change.

Kotter 8 Step Model for Leading Change

The Framework

Over four decades, Dr. Kotter observed countless leaders and organizations as they were trying to transform or execute their strategies. He identified and extracted the common success factors and documented them as the 8 Steps for Leading Change.

Since the introduction of the 8 Steps, Dr. Kotter expanded his focus from research to impact with the founding of Kotter. Together with the firm, he evolved the linear 8 Step from Leading Change to the 8 Accelerators outlined in his 2014 book,  Accelerate and the firm’s 2021 book, CHANGE

01. Create A Sense of Urgency

Inspire people to act – with passion and purpose – to achieve a bold, aspirational opportunity. Build momentum that excites people to pursue a compelling (and clear) vision of the future… together.

Read the Book

02. Build A Guiding Coalition

A volunteer network needs a coalition of committed people – born of its own ranks – to guide it, coordinate it, and communicate its activities.

“After being a member of our first Guiding Coalition I was selected to co-lead our second Guiding Coalition. Our work with Kotter gave me the opportunity to explore my own passions in the workplace. As a millennial, it is really important because I’m not sure what type of career I’m going to have, and working with Kotter has exposed me to all different parts of the organization that I wouldn’t have worked with otherwise.”

Ben WhiteUnited Way of Greater Kansas City

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03. Form A Strategic Vision

Clarify how the future will be different from the past and get buy-in for how you can make that future a reality through initiatives linked directly to the vision.

Read the Book

04. Enlist A Volunteer Army

Large-scale change can only occur when massive numbers of people rally around a common opportunity. At an individual level, they must want to actively contribute. Collectively, they must be unified in the pursuit of achieving the goal together.

“It’s not a project. It’s a movement. It’s a journey. Join us and leave your mark.”
Gert BosscherBunge

Learn more from our Kotter Change Certification Program

05. Enable Action By Removing Barriers

Remove the obstacles that slow things down or create roadblocks to progress. Clear the way for people to innovate, work more nimbly across silos, and generate impact quickly.

Learn from one of our clients

06. Generate Short-Term Wins

Wins are the molecules of results. They must be recognized, collected, and communicated – early and often – to track progress and energize volunteers to persist.

Learn more from our Kotter Change Certification Program

07. Sustain Acceleration

Press harder after the first successes. Your increasing credibility can improve systems, structures and policies. Be relentless with initiating change after change until the vision is a reality.

“The way that you can guarantee success in a difficult change… is to not skip any of the steps or the learnings.”

John Ham / COTY

Learn from one of our clients

08. Institute Change

Articulate the connections between new behaviors and organizational success, making sure they continue until they become strong enough to replace old habits. Evaluate systems and processes to ensure management practices reinforce the new behaviors, mindsets, and ways of working you invested in.

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Areas of Expertise

While not an all-inclusive list, the strategies below represent the most common situations our clients face.

01. Strategy Execution

Mobilize people throughout the organization to break down barriers, solve problems, and inspire innovation.

02. Leadership Development

Provide the breadth and depth necessary to advance change capabilities up, down, and across organizations in a sustainable and scalable way.


Drive intentional culture change that starts with new actions, generates better results, and eventually produces an evolved culture.


Engage employees to uncover new ideas and the capacity to lead, innovate, and drive value for the customer and the business as a whole.

05. Merger + Acquisitions

Move the “how” of M&A integration to the top of the priority list – right next to the “what” – focus first on culture and people.

06. Digital Technology Transformation

Increase engagement, transparency, and excitement for the new technology to deliver the desired business impact.
Deliver and sustain transformative change.

Register today for Kotter’s Change Management Certification Program

Six online, self-paced courses built from Kotter’s methodologies and underlying frameworks, designed to develop leaders who deliver and sustain transformative change. Join the comprehensive education program and gain access to virtual and in-person trainings and get certified in change management.

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Hikers and climbers helping each other at the summit.
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