The 8 Steps for Leading Change
Kotter’s award-winning methodology is the proven approach to producing lasting change.
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.
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 White / United Way of Greater Kansas City
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.
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 Bosscher / Bunge
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.
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.
07. Sustain Acceleration
“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
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.
Areas of Expertise
01. Strategy Execution
02. Leadership Development
03. CULTURE CHANGE
04. OPERATIONAL EFFICIENCY
05. Merger + Acquisitions
06. Digital Technology Transformation
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.
While not an all-inclusive list, the strategies below represent the most common situations our clients face.