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Change management model – John Kotter - with infographic

By Simon Buehring on 20 Mar 2020

Change management model – John Kotter - with infographic


John Kotter wrote a book called “Leading Change”. He elaborated in detail how to manage change through his strategic 8-step model.

This model is suitable for large change initiatives in complex organisations and is one of the many useful models covered in a Change Management course.

Inclusive model

If you want to have employees at different levels participate in the change plan, then Kotter’s model is ideal because of its inclusivity.

1. Establishing a sense of urgency

The first step is informing top management and key managers for the need of change. They must believe that the proposed change is essential for the organisation’s survival.

2. Creating a guiding coalition

A guiding coalition consists of a team that has the authority and influence to lead the change initiative. A coalition must have:

  • A common goal;
  • Good level of trust;
  • Individuals with credibility;
  • Individuals who are in high and powerful positions in the organisation.

3. Developing a vision and strategy

The vision describes the new state that the organisation is aiming to achieve. To reach that vision, teams work together and develop a strategy. The outcomes must result in benefits for the organisation and its stakeholders.

4. Communicating the change vision

This step requires you to explain the vision to the people impacted by the change initiative. You can use a combination of different channels. Examples of communication channels are:

  • Training
  • Awareness sessions
  • Round table workshops

It’s crucial that you use simple, straight to the point language.

5. Empowering employees

This is when you put all the talk into action. Employees need to feel that their contribution matters to the change initiative. When they are eager to play their part, you need to make sure there are no interruptions.

6. Generating short-term wins

Small achievements in the change plan must be celebrated. They are considered progressive milestones. Therefore, you should reward individuals and teams for accomplishments because this acts as encouragement for further achievements.

7. Consolidating gains and producing more change

When you apply new changes, you need to sustain them. It’s very tempting and all too easy to go back to the old ways. So, Kotter suggests that you must ensure the guiding coalition is always active. They must deliver change on a continuous basis. Project management and programme management disciplines help a lot in this matter.

8. Anchoring new approaches in the culture

Organisational culture must be aligned with the change initiative. Otherwise, old culture by nature will prevail over the new change. Here you can highlight the positive outcomes of change as a way of helping to surpass the old culture.

Other change management models

If you’re interested to find out more about other change management models here you can read and view infographics for Peter Senge or Kurt Lewin.


Change management model: John Kotter.

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