What is the Kotter 8-Step Change Model?

Kotter’s 8-Step Change Model is a Tool that helps professionals manage changing Situations.

  • Especially when this change happens on purpose.

 

This method is mainly used to introduce changes in the management of a company.

  • A new Boss.
  • A new Management style.
  • A new organizational Hierarchy.
  • etc.

 

As it’s name indicates it consists of 8 steps that must be followed in a certain order.

The 8 steps of Kotter

1. Highlight the Urgency: Find reasons why change is necessary.

  • These reasons must be easy to understand and remember.

 

2. Build the Team: Create the Team that will implement the Change.

  • And assign responsibilities to each Team member.

 

3. Define the New Vision: Establish How things should be in the future.

  • The new work philosophy.

 

4. Share the New Vision: Tell People your Vision.

  • Highlight why things should be this new way.

 

5. Encourage to Act: Give good Reasons to Change.

  • Otherwise, people will not feel the need to cooperate.

 

6. Create Quick Wins: Establish achievable Goals.

  • In this way, people will feel motivated.

 

7. Track the Progress: Measure and Evaluate the Change.

  • Try to use objective numerical data.

 

8. Strengthen the Change: Integrate this Change into the company culture.

  • In this way, the Change will last longer.

 

These Steps can be classified according to the Stage of the Change to which they belong:

  • The Definition Stage: The Change is being Defined.
    • Steps 1 to 3 (included).
  • The Implementation Stage: The Change is being Implemented.
    • Steps 4 to 6 (included).
  • The Secure Stage: The Change takes hold.
    • Steps 7 and 8.

Kotter’s 8-Step Change Model Diagram

 

Now, let’s see the first example:

Kotter's 8-Step Change Model example

 

Think about what all Politicians (all of them) do:

 

1. During the electoral Campaign, they transmit an urge for the Change.

  • Or the need not to Change if they are the ones in charge.

 

2. They propose who their vice president will be.

  • And, of course, their ministers.

 

3. They define their utopian society.

  • What they want Society to be.

 

4. They communicate this vision to the electorate.

  • They try to attract votes.

 

5. How they Encourage to Act? Asking for the Popular Vote.

  • If the people want that Change, they should vote for them.

 

6. If elected, they Change some minor laws.

  • Otherwise, they celebrate having won certain cities, towns, etc.

 

7. Using national polls, they track their popularity.

  • Either they have already been elected or are preparing for the next election.

 

8. Once they have been elected, they influence public television.

  • They try to embed their vision in the popular culture of the country.

As you can imagine, this Model can be used in many different areas.

But… How?

 

How can you use this Model efficiently regardless of your industry?

Now, we’ll give you some Tips on how to get the most out of it:

Tips on How to use the 8 steps of Kotter

Your Vision must solve something people is worried about.

  • It must make sense to everybody.

 

The Team must be experienced.

  • People should trust both your Vision and the Team that will implement it.

 

Quick Wins should not be overly ambitious.

  • Otherwise, people may give up early.

 

Take some extra time to establish objective metrics to track progress.

  • If the metrics are not well chosen, you will not be able to evaluate your progress correctly.

The best way to understand How to apply the Kottler 8-Step Model is by sharing some examples with you:

Kottler's 8-Step Change Model examples

We have chosen 3 examples of different situations in which the Kotter Change Model is commonly used.

 

Let’s begin:

Healthcare - Kotter's 8-Step Model example

 

This first example may be a bit “shocking” for you.

How the heck is this model used in healthcare?

 

Think about this:

When you have been diagnosed with a problem that requires a Change in your habits, what happens?

  • High Cholesterol.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Diabetes.
  • etc.

 

1. Your doctor tells you How important is that you Change your habits.

  • Otherwise, you could have serious problems.

 

2. Your doctor recommends a specialist.

  • Or a team of specialists.

 

3 & 4. Your doctor tells you How good your life would be if you Change your habits.

  • How your life will be, without pain or worries.

 

5. Your doctor gives you good reasons to start changing your habits.

  • Now that you know Why it is important.

 

6. He tells you what you can do to get started.

  • Do not add sugar to your coffee, reduce the salt consumed, etc.

 

7. He gives you a calendar with the appointments you will have.

  • And the analyzes that you will have to do.

 

8. He will remind you that, these changes must be forever.

  • Otherwise, your health issues will reappear.

 

These steps / recommendations fit the Kotter Change Model almost perfectly.

Interesting, right?

A new Manager - Kotter's 8-Step Model example

 

This in one of the most common situations in which the Kotter Model is used.

 

When a new Manager takes office, he (or she) generally:

 

1. Highlights what needs to be Changed.

  • What didn’t work before.

 

2. Builds his own Team.

  • He surrounds himself with people he trusts.

 

3. Defines his vision and How things should be.

  • He was probably thinking about it for a long time, before becoming a Manager.

 

4. Shares his vision with his employees.

  • And Why things should work in a different way.

 

5. Sets Productivity rewards like a salary increase.

  • It is a common way of encouraging people to change.

 

6. Establishes new Checklists and Daily tasks.

  • These tasks are usually easy to.

 

7. Adopt new metrics that must be reported weekly.

  • Defects per thousand, Claims per day, etc.

 

8. Assume that there could not be other way of doing things.

  • This new way or working is the best possible for the Company.

 

This “guideline” is used not only by new Business Managers, but also by:

  • Sport Coaches.
  • University Rectors.
  • Chief Researchers.
  • etc.

In short: Anyone who wants to make a Change in the Team he (or she) manages.

The new CEO of a Bank - Kotter's 8-Step Model example

 

Now, let’s see what happens when the CEO of a Bank wants to introduce a Change but there is no new Director.

 

What happens when someone wants to introduce a Change but there is no new Manager?

  • You can’t blame the previous Boss.

 

1. The CEO highlights how external factors have forced the Bank to Change.

  • Nobody does self-criticism. The change is forced by external situations.

 

2. The CEO creates a new Team.

  • An expert Team in the new circumstances (allegedly).

 

3 & 4. The CEO defines and shares the new vision.

  • Highlighting Why this Change is now necessary, and not before.

 

5. The CEO Points out how working like always could be detrimental now.

  • Usually for legal or profit reasons.

 

6. The Bank introduce new remunerations or incentives.

  • Like bonuses, salary increases, etc.

 

7. New metrics are introduced or used.

  • In Finance, there are hundreds of them.

 

8. The Human resources Team organize courses and meetings.

  • Where they reinforce this new way of working.

 

* After the 2008 Mortgage crisis, lots of Banks had to re-define how they worked.

  • And many of them had to introduce major changes with the same board of Directors.

It is a very difficult situation to handle.

Summarizing

Kotter’s 8-Step Change Model is a Tool that helps professionals manage changing Situations.

  • It is mainly used to introduce changes in the management of a company.

 

It consists of 8 steps that must be followed in a certain order:

  1. Highlight the Urgency: Find reasons why change is necessary.
  2. Build the Team: Create the Team that will implement the Change.
  3. Define the New Vision: Establish How things should be in the future.
  4. Share the New Vision: Tell People your Vision.
  5. Encourage to Act: Give good Reasons to Change.
  6. Create Quick Wins: Establish achievable Goals.
  7. Track the Progress: Measure and Evaluate the Change.
  8. Strengthen the Change: Integrate this Change into the company culture.

 

Tips on How to use Kotter’s 8-Step Model efficiently:

  • Your Vision must solve something people is worried about.
  • The Team must be experienced.
  • Quick Wins should not be overly ambitious.
  • Take some extra time to establish objective metrics to track progress.

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