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Organizational Change Can Be Successful – Part 8

Organizational Change Can Be Successful
Improvement-Improving-Housing-MarketsWell you’ve made it to the eighth and final step in Kotter’s change process. Your change is now in place, but how likely is it to stay in place for the long term? Tradition is a powerful force, where leaps into the future can easily revert back to the past (Kotter & Cohen, 2002, p. 159). In this final step we’ll look at ways to ensure your change becomes fully integrated into the daily operations of your organization.

Step 8 – Make change stick

In order to make change “stick”, we need to take the new behaviors resulting from the change and incorporate them into the overall organizational culture. Without this happening, your change is sure to rollback. Consider the case of John Harris, an advertising executive, who worked hard to change his organization by eliminating two full levels of hierarchy. This allowed his organization to react quickly, avoiding the back and forth of communications that moved between levels (Kotter, 2002, p. 160). All was going great until John was transferred to the organization’s headquarters in Switzerland. Harris was slated to be there for five years, however after just three years away from his former division they were slumping. Ordered to return two years early, Harris found two additional levels of hierarchy had been added back into the organizational structure. To make matters worse, headcount had exploded as new VPs need administrative admins and managers to manage who in turn needed employees to manage. Clearly, the lean and nimble organization Harris built had not become part of the culture so that when he departed long-term change could not be sustained.
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Organizational Change Can Be Successful – Part 7

Organizational Change Can Be Successful
medium_9071869992Fresh off a successful implementation of the sixth step in Kotter’s process, you’ve now seen tangible signs of change in the form of short-term wins. These wins, if selected properly and conveyed to the entire organization, bring great joy to your implementation teams that have been working long and hard to make the change vision a reality. There may be no better time in your change effort than now – you’ve shown success, the team feels rewarded, and cynics are dropping like flies. However, in Kotter’s seventh step we’ll examine why you should be concerned – you’re now entering into the time where most projects fail.

Step 7 – Don’t let up
In Kotter’s seventh step – don’t let up – we look at how to keep the momentum established with your short-term wins in the previous step moving the project the forward.  We’ve demonstrated, through some well chosen short-term wins, progress that reaffirms the vision and positively influences the naysayers. Those implementing the win are also excited to see that their work has meant something. However, we also need to consider why many projects prematurely end during this time and what you can do about it to ensure your project stays on track. Continue Reading »

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Organizational Change Can Be Successful – Part 6

Organizational Change Can Be Successful
medium_11123538363We now head into the final three steps in Kotter’s eight step change process. At this point in the process, you have created urgency, put in place the appropriate guiding teams, created a vision that has been communicated to the masses, and most recently enabled your team to take action by removing any obstacles in their way. So how is your effort going so far? As noted in past posts on this topic, failure to successfully implement any of the previous steps will prevent the next step from being successful.

In step 5 we enabled action for those involved with implementing the change. This action will be directed toward the long-term objective. However, in order to maintain urgency and gain credibility of the effort, we also want to ensure that attention is put towards Kotter’s six step – creating short-term wins.

Step 6 – Creating Short-Term Wins
In this step of the change process, we’ll focus on short-term wins – why they are important and how to select short-term wins that have the greatest potential to reinvigorate your effort.

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Organizational Change Can Be Successful – Part 5

Organizational Change Can Be Successful
ScrumIf you’ve been following along with each installment of this blog article on change, your change effort has created urgency, put in place the appropriate guiding teams, and has a vision that has been communicated to the masses so that they too are on-board. We now move into step 5 of Kotter’s change process that provides the necessary guidance to enable those involved within the change to take action. This is where the success of your previous steps in the process are put to the test. If you have skipped or not attained success in steps 1 – 4, action will not be possible.

Step 5 – Enable Action
In this step of the change process, we’ll focus on the important step of removing roadblocks to change.
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Organizational Change Can Be Successful – Part 4

Organizational Change Can Be Successful
small_1459055735If you’ve been following along with each installment of this blog article on change, your change effort has created urgency, put in place the appropriate guiding teams, and now has a vision that will be the driving force throughout the process. As we move into step 4 of Kotter’s eight step process to change, our attention turns to possibly the most reoccurring reason why most projects fail – communications – or better yet, the lack thereof.

Step 4 – Communicate for Buy-in
In this step of the change process, we’ll use different communication techniques for instilling the vision of our change to the organization. The primary goal in this step is to get as many people as possible acting to make the change a reality (Kotter & Cohen, 2002, p. 83). Consider the following tips to ensure your communication has the greatest impact: Continue Reading »

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Organizational Change Can Be Successful – Part 3

Organizational Change Can Be Successful

small__14421653192As we continue along with the exploration of Kotter’s eight step process to change, we already have urgency (Step 1) and the groups of people (Step 2), or teams, that will be needed to execute our change initiative. We now enter into step 3 where our focus changes to setting the vision that will guide our teams through the entire change process. A shared urgency for change may push people into action, but it is the vision that steers them in the right direction (Cohen, 2005, p. 63).

Step 3 – Get the Vision Right

Even the brightest, most motivated employees in your company are bound to fail without a clear understanding of the vision for this change. For change to be successful, it will take much more than a simple vision statement printed off and hung around the office. Consider the following approach in developing a true vision that will guide your teams through the challenging times that lie ahead: Continue Reading »

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Organizational Change Can Be Successful – Part 2

Organizational Change Can Be Successful

In this second post in my series on successfully implementing organizational change, I’ll explore the importance of identifying and developing your guiding team.

small__10294104734You’ll recall from the previous blog posting, that the most important step in Kotter’s eight step process to change is the first – urgency.  In that post, we explored the challenges any change effort will encounter – primarily complacency – and the steps needed to counteract those obstacles.  With urgency under control, we now move onto the second step in Kotter’s process – building your guiding team.

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