Applying Kotter's 8-Step Change Model

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  • 0:04 Reviewing Kotter's…
  • 0:49 Applying Kotter's 8-Step Model
  • 6:54 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Sherri Hartzell

Sherri has taught college business and communication courses. She also holds three degrees including communications, business, educational leadership/technology.

Expert Contributor
Joseph Shinn

Joe has a PhD in Economics from Temple University and has been teaching college-level courses for 10 years.

John Kotter's 8-step change model is widely accepted across all industries as an effective model for implementing organizational change. In this lesson, each step of the Kotter model is discussed using Carl's carwash as the contextual example for making lasting change at the carwash.

Reviewing Kotter's 8-Step Model

When attempting to implement transformational change in organizations many managers will turn to the work of John Kotter as a guide. If you recall, John Kotter's change model includes eight steps, including: establish a sense of urgency, create a guiding coalition, develop a vision and strategy, communicate the change vision, empower broad-based action, generate short-term wins, consolidate gains to produce more change and anchor change in the organizational culture.

John Kotters 8-step change model
John Kotters 8-Step Change Model

In this lesson, each step of the Kotter model is discussed using Carl's carwash as the contextual example for making lasting change at the carwash.

Applying Kotter's 8-Step Model

Carl is an owner of a local carwash that has struggled to maintain a steady flow of customers in the past months. The reasons for this change range from a poor economy to the recent building of two franchise carwash locations within ten miles of Carl's carwash. Carl knows that if he does not do something quick to change the current status of his carwash, he will soon be out of business.

After much deliberation and brainstorming, Carl has decided to introduce an interior shampooing service to the menu of services the carwash offers. The goal is to generate additional revenue and maintain a competitive advantage over other carwashes in the area. From past experience, Carl understands how important it is to use a change model to guide the process of implementing this new service. He turns to Kotter's eight steps.

Establishing a Sense of Urgency

Establishing a sense of urgency
Establishing a Sense of Urgency

To establish a sense of urgency Carl holds a meeting with his staff to discuss the current financial situation at the carwash. He informs his employees that they are all on the verge of losing their jobs due to the limited revenue coming into the carwash. Carl assures his employees that closing the doors to the carwash is the last thing he wants to do, but that it is a reality they are all facing. He explains the need for change at the carwash and shows the connection between making changes and creating job security for his employees. Carl's employees recognize their jobs as being in jeopardy and express their commitment to making whatever changes are necessary to secure the longevity of their jobs and the carwash.

Creating the Guiding Coalition

Now that Carl's employees understand the sense of urgency of the change, he must decide who his guiding coalition will be. This step will require Carl to select employees who will help him to see the change through. Carl chooses five employees: Maria to help with the logistics of acquiring the necessary equipment for the shampooing service; Jose and Mark to learn the process of shampooing, and who will be tasked with training other employees on how to perform the shampooing service; Samantha for marketing the new service; and Adam to work on pricing of the new service. These five employees form the guiding coalition who will provide the necessary direction for developing and implementing the new shampooing service at the carwash.

Creating and Communicating a Vision for Change

Creating a change vision
Creating a Change Vision

Carl must now think about how he will present this change to the rest of the employees. Creating a change vision will allow Carl to provide his employees with a clear understanding of what the change is all about. He must create a vision that connects the new shampoo service to long-term sustainability of the carwash. Once this vision is written, Carl must communicate the vision to his entire staff. Carl's employees will need to know what's in it for them. Therefore, Carl will need to show not only the connection between the new shampoo service and the long-term sustainability of the carwash, but also how the long-term sustainability of the carwash will lead to the long-term security of their jobs.

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Additional Activities

Identifying the Eight Steps: Additional Practice

For each of the examples below, which of the steps in John Kotter's 8-step change model (establish a sense of urgency, create the guiding coalition, develop a vision and strategy, communicate the change vision, empower broad-based action, generate short-term wins, consolidate gains to produce more change and anchor change in the organizational culture) is being described? Your answer should include a short discussion supporting your choice.

1. In this step, an employer needs to hire employees that will assist with seeing the change through.

2. An employer ensures that his/her employees have the proper tools in place that will allow them to carry through with the change in this step.

3. Explaining the need for the change to the employees is accomplished in this step.

4. After the change is made, the final step is for the employer to monitor his/her employees to see how they are adjusting to the change.

5. By recognizing past successes, an employer is better able to promote future successes among employees.

6. In order for a change to be successful, employees must be properly incentivized; that is, they need to know what is in it for them. This is accomplished in this step.

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