Thursday, May 30, 2013


Despite decades of research on change management, almost 70 percent of organizational change efforts fail. John Kotter, Harvard professor and change management guru, says they fail because organizations don’t take the holistic approach required to achieve and maintain change.

In his effort to increase the success of change initiatives, Kotter devised 8-Steps for Leading Change, a set of tactics tailored to eight critical stages in the change process. For presentation in this blog, we've divided them into two groups: Planning and Implementation.  
Kotter’s eight steps are:
     1) Establish a sense of urgency
     2) Form a guiding coalition
     3) Create a vision
     4) Communicate the vision

     •  Empower others
     •  Plan for and create short-term wins
     •  Consolidate improvements and produce more change
     •  Institutionalize new approaches

These eight steps provide clear directions on the “what,” but fall a little short on the “how.”

That’s where change initiatives derail. While most senior executives realize learning is critical to achieving meaningful change, many don’t realize it takes more than a few classroom or online training sessions to achieve the level of learning necessary to make the difference between success and failure. That’s where HR comes in.

Front-line training professionals responsible for the learning behind any change initiative know that true change can only be achieved through a process of targeted learning that does two things:

     1. Sells the desired change to the people who have to make it happen

     2. Teaches those people (and gets them to adopt) the new behaviors required to make the change happen

Following Kotter’s eight steps, the remaining two posts in the series contain some proven tactics and tools HR professionals can use to create targeted learning that supports holistic change, giving your organization’s next change initiative a higher chance of success.

Below are links to all three posts in this series:

Please share your insights and questions by posting comments to this blog. For more information on change management, please visit our website at, or email us


This post was extracted from an article by Sue Kennedy, Chris Musselwhite, and Tammie Plouffe, originally published in Training magazine (Lakewood Media Group).

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