Kotter’s 8 Steps of Change model (with a proposed Step 9)

Dr. John Kotter outlined an eight-step model for successful change efforts. Kotter, a Harvard Business School Professor, introduced his eight-step change process in his 1995 book, “Leading Change.”

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality divides the 8 steps in half. Steps 1-4 help confront the “we’ve always done it this way” resistance of the status quo. Steps 5-8 introduce innovation, implementation of new practices, and  sustainability.

  • Step 1: Create a Sense of Urgency. Help others see the immediacy for change and quick change.
  • Step 2: Assemble the Centers of Influence. Ideally, the team should represent leadership, knowledge, analytic ability, skills, communications ability, authority, and a distrust of bureaucracy.
  • Step 3: Develop the Change Vision and Strategy. Narrow focus to one issue and clarify it succinctly. Clarify  how the future will be different from the past and the steps needed to get there.
  • Step 4: Communicate for Understanding and Buy-in. “Speak Truth to Teams”- Network and be inclusive
  • Step 5: Empower Others to Act. Remove as many barriers as possible for change makers.
  • Step 6: Produce Short-Term Wins. Create some visible, unambiguous successes as soon as possible.
  • Step 7: Don’t Let Up. Take energy from initial successes. Be relentless until your vision becomes policy.
  • Step 8: Create a New Culture. Keep closing the loop. Reach out, sure, but always remember to reach back with gratitude to those who were your original stakeholders.
  • I would gently add a Step 9- Revisit and Reevaluate. Too many times successful new programs run on their own adrenaline of grant money or new leadership. Then they falter under there own lack of sustainability. Set a target goal and revisit date for your new policy. There is a reason why doctors’ advocate check-ups.

Question: When have you implemented Kotter’s Change Method?

Tomorrow: Application of Kotter’s Change Model

The blog post submitted in partial fulfillment of course requirements for Dr. Paul Sparks EDLT 721 course.