Kotter’s 8-Step Process for Leading Change

Founded on tenets of the 8-Step Process, Kotter International equips businesses with the means and method to transform themselves quickly, continuously and with powerful results. Organizations that do not or cannot evolve will not last; our Advisory Services and Center for Leaders are designed to help your organization develop the mindsets and skillsets necessary to lead 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 success factors and combined them into a methodology, the award-winning 8-Step Process.

Since its introduction, we have expanded the scope of the 8-Step Process from its original version. Both versions are relevant and effective today, but they are designed to serve different contexts and objectives.

Leading Changes’s 8-Step Process (1996) Accelerate’s 8-Step Process (2014)
Respond to or affect episodic change in rigid, finite, and sequential ways Run the steps concurrently and continuously
Drive change with a small, powerful core group Form a large volunteer army from up, down and across the organization to serve as the change engine
Function within a traditional hierarchy Function in a network flexibly and agilely outside, but in conjunction with, a traditional hierarchy
Focus on doing one new thing very well in a linear fashion over time Constantly seek opportunities, identify initiatives to capitalize on them, and complete them quickly
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Step 1 Create a Sense of Urgency

Craft and use a significant opportunity as a means for exciting people to sign up to change their organization.

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Step 2Build a Guiding Coalition

Assemble a group with the power and energy to lead and support a collaborative change effort.

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Step 3 Form a Strategic Vision and Initiatives

Shape a vision to help steer the change effort and develop strategic initiatives to achieve that vision.

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Step 4 Enlist a Volunteer Army

Raise a large force of people who are ready, willing and urgent to drive change.

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Step 5 Enable Action by Removing Barriers

Remove obstacles to change, change systems or structures that pose threats to the achievement of the vision.

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Step 6 Generate Short-Term Wins

Consistently produce, track, evaluate and celebrate volumes of small and large accomplishments – and correlate them to results.

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Step 7 Sustain Acceleration

Use increasing credibility to change systems, structures and policies that don’t align with the vision; hire, promote and develop employees who can implement the vision; reinvigorate the process with new projects, themes and volunteers.

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Step 8 Institute Change

Articulate the connections between the new behaviors and organizational success, and develop the means to ensure leadership development and succession.