Kotter Change Management Steps 

According to an estimate, the failure rate of a change plan is roundabout 70% and that’s why it is difficult to successfully execute organizational changes. Selecting the right change model with the right leadership would help the company deal with changes and decrease the Company’s resistance to change. Today, we’ll discuss Kotter change management steps; its definition, steps involved in the process, benefits, and challenges.

What is Kotter Change Management Model?

Before jumping into the discussion of Kotter change management steps; it is significant to discuss Kotter’s 8-step change model. It focuses on empowering the company to deal with digital innovation and company change by boosting the morale of employees to adopt changes to execute new technology, processes, and other changes.

Kotter floated the 8-step change management model in his book “Leading Change” in 1996; he later updated it in 2014 with changing and evolving business needs and requirements.

Principles of Kotter Change Management Model

Want To & Have To

The transformation becomes very easy, speedy, and smooth; when the employees want it to happen.

Diverse Many & Select Few

You need a lot of support from various hierarchical levels across the organization. You should hire a supportive team from different levels of management; and bring them closer to employees in their daily operations impacted by the transformation.

Head & Heart

Rationality, logic, and data alone won’t motivate employees and team members to adopt new software execution and business processes. In order to make new changes desirable, you should tell them how the changes would impact them personally.

Leadership & Management

Managers and leaders should support and facilitate the change initiative for the success of the change program.

Kotter Change Management Steps 

Let’s discuss the Kotter change management steps involved in the Kotter change management model are as follows;

Sense of Urgency

It is our human nature and instinct to resist any type of change and try to maintain the status quo. The sense of urgency would boost the morale and confidence level of employees to adopt and execute new changes. Therefore, it is significant to discuss the reason and urgency of the change program with employees, so that they would see change as a solution to the problem. The change leader should have approximately 75% of the management support to effectively implement changes.


A company is decreasing the attention of new customers due to limited response time for inbound sales leads. You should discuss the reason that the new sales CRM would decrease the sales cycle and help the company amplify its sales goals and objectives. It is difficult to argue with reason when you provide a solid explanation of why the salesforce transition is urgent.

Guiding Coalition

Implementing organizational change initiatives isn’t the job of one person. Rather it demands support, ideas, and opinions from multiple change leaders. The guiding coalition consists of people like supervisors and managers working under the change agents. You can select a few change leaders and delegate and diverse the task into various people.

Developing a Strategic Plan

It is difficult to launch the change program at the bottom of the hierarchical level. The change initiative should clearly outline the goals and objectives. If you have a change plan and change vision only in your mind, then you can easily misinterpret the change initiative like how long the training and migration would take. The documented plan allows you to balance various areas of the change and establish realistic goals and objectives.

Change Management Communication

The focus of businesses and companies is to implement change logistics over properly communicating and discussing the change initiative. The team members and employees should comprehend and support the change initiative for it to be successful. The change plan is likely to fail without effective change communication.

  • Communication change vision and execution plan
  • Manage concerns of employees
  • Implement your vision in various areas of operations
  • Lead and direct the change by setting an example

Removing Resistance

If you are implementing a change program from top to bottom, then it often faces employee resistance. You should recognize and detect the factors that would jeopardize the success rate of the change plan. You are likely to face some resistance barriers to change like limited resources, cultural, or individual. It is significant to recognize the resistance barriers and break them down without disturbing the company’s operations.

However, some of the main examples of change resistance barriers are as follows;

  • Change fatigue
  • Limited IT and change leadership
  • Stakeholders and leaders aren’t onboard
  • Employee resistance to change
  • Limited clarity of change vision

Celebrate Small Wins

Executing change is a difficult and long-term process; it boosts the morale and confidence level of employees. You should recognize and celebrate small wins and achievements. It is significant to experiment with creative reward systems like extra vacation days or gift cards. Some tools and equipment like Honey and Lattice would help you to measure the performance of employees. Small rewards and incentives go a long way in motivating employees toward change.

Change Continuous Process

There is a difference between complete adoption and just execution of the change program. The change program would likely fail if they are accustomed to small wins and the resistance barriers disappoint them. Change leaders should implement SMART goals and objectives in order to achieve long-term benefits.

Embedding Change in Culture

The change leaders should embed behavioral changes in the organizational cultures for the full adoption of the changes. This stage allows you to maintain the change program. If you leave your employees in the early stages of the change program, they would revert back to the old behavior, instead of adopting and following the new behavior.

Benefits of Kotter Change Management Model

Some of the main benefits and advantages of Kotter change management steps are as follows;

  • Provides guidelines with supportive documents that make the process convenient
  • Emphasizes employee communication and bringing employees on board with the change plan
  • Deals with various areas of change from operation to culture
  • Proven research of change management
  • Offer step-by-step guides that are convenient to implement

Challenges of Kotter Change Management Model

Some of the main challenges and disadvantages of Kotter change management steps are as follows;

  • Works from top-to-bottom; it would annoy employees and team members if they weren’t involved in the initial stages of the change process
  • Easy to comprehend but execution needs a lot of planning
  • The change process is usually organic and it is not as linear than the model outlines
  • Out of the 8 steps, none of them guides you on how to sustain change

Conclusion: Kotter Change Management Steps 

After an in-depth study of the Kotter change management steps; we have realized that Kotter 8-step change model is highly significant for implementing a change program. If you are learning about Kotter 8-step change management model; then you should keep in mind the abovementioned benefits, challenges, definitions, principles, and steps involved in the process.

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