Kotter’s 8-Step Process for Leading Change
This process is at the core of Advisory Services solutions that enable strategy alignment, launch and execution. It also guides our offerings from the Kotter International Center for Leaders, the purpose of which is to provide awareness, learning and skill building in the critical aspects of leading and executing change.
Are you convinced that if enough of your people were engaged, truly urgent and moving fast, they could change your organization so it could achieve the results you envision? Are you bold enough to adopt an approach that will make your organization one of the few that successfully transforms itself?
The following video illustrates how your organization can transform itself with the help of Kotter International.
Through our Advisory Services, we help leaders and organizations transform themselves and execute their strategies on a large scale and in real time – from entire functions, to business units, to geographies, to full enterprises.
And we take you three steps further: your transformation or execution is accelerated, your results surpass expectations, and we put ourselves out of a job by teaching you how to apply the 8-Step Process for Leading Change yourselves.
We offer three kinds of Advisory Services solutions so that we can meet you where you are in terms of needs, timeframe and capacity.
Clients engage us for Strategy Alignment when:
- A CEO, unit head, function leader or executive team is on the verge of implementing a new strategy or undertaking a major transformation and first needs to get aligned, clear and engaged on what they expect the organization to do – and how.
- A leadership team is aligned on the general need for implementation or transformation, but needs to identify and define a specific opportunity to direct and guide the effort.
Laying the foundation for Step 1
Establishing alignment is critical to the success of any transformation. Our Strategy Alignment solution serves as a pre-launch to our process, and can stand alone or be used to lead into a Strategy Launch or Strategy Execution engagement.
The beginning of the process
The first stage of our process is the Big Opportunity Session, which sets the language, tone, energy and direction for the entire transformation process.
The leadership team
The executive team responsible for leading the transformation meets face to face for a one- or two-day experience.
The goal of alignment
The objective of the session is to align the leadership team under a common belief, driven by both data and passion, that the pursuit of an articulated opportunity will help transform the company quickly.
The leadership team works together to draft a clear and compelling Big Opportunity statement that stands out because of its alignment to the strategy and appeal to employees’ hearts and minds. It ignites urgency and serves as the North Star for the volunteer army and the strategic initiatives they execute.
Depending on how quickly a client can move, Strategy Alignment can take as few as two weeks or as many as six weeks.
Clients engage us for a Strategy Launch when:
- A major initiative is underway but stuck, slow or lacking impact
- Key executives have read Dr. Kotter’s A Sense of Urgency or his other works that focus on urgency and want to ignite it in their own organization
- Executives want to get started quickly and generate some initial wins, but/and also take the time to understand the implications of a longer Strategy Execution engagement before embarking on one.
Execution through Step 1
Igniting engagement is essential to any large-scale transformation. A Strategy Launch, which takes you through the completion of Step 1, can serve as an alternative – or precursor – to a Strategy Execution engagement.
Starting with the Big Opportunity Session
To kick off the process, the executive team begins their Strategy Launch Initiative with a Big Opportunity Session. If the intent of the session is to turn ideas into words, with the Urgency Initiative then turning words into excited, motivated, engaged people.
Selecting the Urgency Team
At the conclusion of the Big Opportunity Session, the Leadership Team selects an Urgency Team of influential, motivated people from all ranks and roles within the hierarchy. This team’s sole responsibility is to use the Opportunity Statement to ignite urgency across the organization.
We define an enterprise as “urgent” when more than 50% of the targeted employee population (division, unit, function, geography, etc.) is exceptionally alert, externally oriented, relentlessly aimed at success, and determined to make progress towards fulfilling the Big Opportunity every day.
Building the Volunteer Army
Over a period of weeks or months, the Urgency Team uses strategies and tactics to rapidly enroll more than 50% of the targeted employee population, a number that can range from hundreds to thousands.
The initiative is complete when Step 1 is complete and the 50% threshold is crossed: the Volunteer Army is signed up and standing ready to participate with head, heart and hands in future strategic initiatives that will fulfill the Big Opportunity.
Depending on how quickly a client can move, their Urgency phase can take as few as three to four weeks or as long as three to five months.
Clients partner with us for Strategy Execution when they:
- Must transform their company, division or unit on a large scale
- Are clear on what is at risk if they don’t transform, and what is to be gained if they do
- Understand that acceleration is as important as execution itself
- Know they must learn to sustain today’s changes – and take on tomorrow’s
- Know they must think and act boldly, like pioneers
The full application of all 8 Steps
During a Strategy Execution engagement, which involves the full application of the 8-Step Process, you achieve two main goals: you learn how to apply and repeat the entire process yourselves on a large scale, and you generate business results that you can attribute to wins in large numbers.
The complete process
During a Strategy Execution engagement, our clients achieve two main goals: they learn how to apply and repeat the entire 8-Step Process themselves on a large scale, and they generate business results that they can attribute to wins in large numbers. We assemble lean teams of consultants who will equip you to implement the 8-Step Process for Leading Change yourselves.
Planned and plotted
We carefully plot out the work on the calendar so that you and we know what to do and expect at any given time.
Tools and materials
We use and share toolkits, guides and materials to support the entire implementation – all based on Dr. Kotter’s research of, and our experience with, transformation and strategy execution.
Space and time
Our consultants require neither desk space at your locations nor extended face time with your leadership. We are efficient with space and time because we enable you to use our process to do your own real work.
Your goal is accelerated business results. Your desired end state is a permanent, agile network of innovators that works in close cooperation with your organizational structure.
Depending on how quickly a client can move, we can typically transfer our capability over to you in a period of twelve to twenty-four months.
Wins & Results
The Primary Objective of our Advisory Services: Wins that Lead to Results
The generation of results that reveal impact is our clients’ primary expectation and top priority, and we have two specific capabilities to serve this purpose.
We can embed a Results Accelerator™ initiative into a Strategy Launch or Strategy Execution engagement in order to drive rapid, tangible results in a 90-day period.
We also have a methodology and proprietary online tool, WinScape™, that you can use to collect, organize and visualize the wins data generated by your specific transformation effort. This gives you the ability to tell the story of impact through data.
The tool enables you to:
Validate your data in terms of its sources and movement
Evaluate real time progress towards your goals
Correlate results with the specific wins that led up to them
Visualize the small and big pictures created by wins in aggregate
Amplify wins that you want to be shared and emulated throughout the organization
Align your entire organization on the story of impact in pictures, words and numbers