Artful Transformation and John Kotter’s 8-Step Process for Leading Change

In Leading Change, John Kotter of Kotter International emphasizes:

30 years of research by leadership guru Dr. John Kotter have proven that 70% of all major change efforts in organizations fail. Why do they fail? Because organizations often do not take the holistic approach required to see the change through.

However, by following the 8 Step Process outlined by Professor Kotter, organizations can avoid failure and become adept at change. By improving their ability to change, organizations can increase their chances of success, both today and in the future. Without this ability to adapt continuously, organizations cannot thrive.

How does The 8-Step Process for Leading Change relate to Artful Transformation?

Step 1: Create/Establishing a Sense of Urgency

This step focuses on “helping others see the need for change and the importance of acting immediately”:

Examine market and competitive realities

Identify and discuss crises, potential crises or major opportunities

This step relates to Phase I of Artful Transformation, and specifically fostering awareness of the rationale justifying the transformation.

Kotter’s emphasis that “leaders who know what they are doing will ‘aim for the heart'” and “connect to the deepest values of their people and inspire them to greatness” is crucial.

Step 2: Creating the Guiding Coalition

This step focuses on “putting together a group with enough power to lead the change”:

Assemble a group with enough power to lead the change effort

Encourage the group to work as a team

This step relates to Phase I of Artful Transformation, and specifically establishing a transformation team.

Kotter’s emphasis that “the team should reflect: Position Power; Expertise; Credibility; and Leadership” is crucial.

Step 3: Developing a Change Vision

This step focuses on “clarifying how the future will be different from the past”:

Create a vision to help direct the change effort

Develop strategies for achieving that vision

This step relates to Phase I of Artful Transformation, and specifically deriving a framework. Kotter’s vision is similar to Artful Transformation’s framework and Kotter’s strategies is similar Artful Transformation’s roadmap.

Kotter’s emphasis that a “clear vision [framework] serves three important purposes: simplifies more detailed decisions; motivates people to take action; and helps to coordinate the actions” is crucial.

Kotter’s emphasis “effective visions [frameworks] have six key characteristics: Imaginable; Desirable; Feasible; Focused; Flexible; and Communicable” is crucial.

Step 4: Communicating the Vision for Buy-in

This step focuses on “ensuring that as many people as possible understand and accept the vision”:

Use every vehicle possible to communicate the new vision and strategies

Teach new behaviors by the example of the Guiding Coalition

This step relates to Phase I of Artful Transformation, and specifically socializing and refining the framework and roadmap.

Kotter’s emphasis on “communicating the vision” and “the vision should be: Simple; Vivid; Repeatable; Invitational” is crucial.

Step 5: Empowering Broad-based Action / Empowering People and Removing Barriers

This step focuses on “removing as many barriers as possible and unleashing people to do their best work”:

Remove obstacles to change

Change systems or structures that seriously undermine the vision

Encourage the risk-taking and nontraditional ideas, activities, and actions

This step relates to Phase II and III of Artful Transformation, and specifically enacting & elaborating (Phase II) and further enacting & evolving (Phase III) the framework as well as renewing value-creating capabilities (Phase II) and reviewing oversights capabilities (Phase III).

Step 6: Generating Short-term Wins

This step focuses on “creating some visible, unambiguous success as soon as possible”:

Plan for visible performance improvements

Create those improvements

Recognize and reward employees involved in the improvements

This step relates to Phase II and III of Artful Transformation, and specifically the successes and improvements at the early parts of the phases.

Step 7: Never Letting Up / Don’t Let Up!

This step focuses on “consolidating gains and producing more change”:

Use increased credibility to change systems, structures and policies that don’t fit the vision

Hire, promote, and develop employees who can implement the vision

Reinvigorate the process with new projects, themes, and change agents

This step relates to Phase II and III of Artful Transformation, and specifically the gains at the latter parts of the phases.

Step 8: Incorporating Changes into the Culture / Make it Stick

This step focuses on “anchoring new approaches in the culture”:

Articulate the connections between the new behaviors and organizational success

Develop the means to ensure leadership development and succession

This step relates to Phase II and III of Artful Transformation, and specifically the emergence of communities (Phase II) and fostering those communities (Phase III).

Artful Transformation and The 8 Steps

The 8-Step Process for Leading Change provides rich guidance that can be used with Artful Transformation to lead change.

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