John Kotter on Leading Change: Eight Steps to Transform Your Organization

Why the process of change is not sustainable in the organisation ?

What is the step of right change in the organisation ?

How we can lead change or how we can execute the process of change in the organisation?

Kindly link this insightful article written by Peter Coutt at

John Kotter on Leading change

An excerpt:

John Kotter (who teaches Leadership at Harvard Business School) has made it his business to study both success and failure in change initiatives in business. “The most general lesson to be learned from the more successful cases is that the change process goes through a series of phases that, in total, usually require a considerable length of time. Skipping steps creates only the illusion of speed and never produces satisfactory results” and “making critical mistakes in any of the phases can have a devastating impact, slowing momentum and negating hard-won gains”. Kotter summarizes the eight phases as follows.

1] Establish a Sense of Urgency

2] Form a Powerful Guiding Coalition

3] Create a Vision

4] Communicate that Vision

5] Empower Others to Act on the Vision

6] Plan for and Create Short-Term Wins


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7 Responses to “John Kotter on Leading Change: Eight Steps to Transform Your Organization”

  1. Phantomias Says:

    There is a very interesting article about change initiative:

    Michael A. Roberto and Lynne C. Levesque, “The Art of Making Change Initiative Stick”, in MIT Sloan Management Review, Summer 2005, p.53-60.

    More than just dealing with how to successfully change, it deals with the more important issues of making that change stick, as many change initiatives not only fail because they do not take off, but also because they do not stick within the organizational framework. A powerpoint of the main points can be found here:

  2. Ben Simonton Says:

    Kotter’s methods are based on the top-down, command and control model. That model is the source of the problem not the solution.

    Top-down demeans, disrespects and demotivates employees. For a good explanation of this, read Peter Hunter’s comments on organizational change at

    My own experience of managing people in four successful turnarounds verifies Peter’s comments. To read how I escaped from the top-down, command and control model go to

    Best regards, Ben Simonton
    Author “Leading People to be Highly Motivated and Committed”

  3. Chris Rodgers Says:

    Besides Kotter’s excessive reliance on top-down command and control, his approach also ignores other important dynamics of organizational change and performance.

    Although his eight-step prescription for managing change fits well with established wisdom and seems like common sense, it is a version of common sense that still sees the business world as ordered, predictable and ultimately controllable. Managers need to move beyond this seductive but overly rational view of organisational dynamics. Other, ever-present features of organisational life, such as the influential role played by informal interactions, the impact of power and politics, and the powerful grip of cultural assumptions on decision-making and performance need to move centre-stage, if ‘do it better and get it right’ prescriptions such as Kotter’s are to have more than a superficial and short-lived effect. For further thoughts on Kotter’s eight-step process, go to
    The case for engaging with the hidden, messy and informal dynamics of change, together with the change-leadership agenda that flows from this perspective, is set out in my book “Informal Coalitions: Mastering the hidden dynamics of organizational change.” More details of this can also be found at

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