What was true more than two thousand years ago is just as true today. We live in a world where "business as usual" IS change. New initiatives, project-based working, technology improvements, staying ahead of the competition - these things come together to drive ongoing changes to the way we work.
You know that the change needs to happen, but you don't really know how to go about doing delivering it. Where do you start? Whom do you involve? How do you see it through to
Many ideas about change originate with leadership and change management guru, John Kotter. A professor at Harvard Business School, Kotter introduced his eight-step change process in his
1995 book, "Leading Change." We look at his eight steps for leading change below.
Step One: Create Urgency
For change to happen, it helps if the whole company really wants it. Develop a sense of urgency around the need for change. This may help you spark the initial motivation to get things moving.
Step Two: Form a Powerful Coalition
Convince people that change is necessary. This often takes strong leadership and visible support from key people within your organization. Managing change isn't enough - you have to lead it. You can find effective change leaders throughout your organization - they don't necessarily follow the traditional company hierarchy.
To lead change, you need to bring together a coalition, or team, of influential people whose power comes from a variety of sources, including job title, status, expertise, and political importance.
Step Three: Create a Vision for Change
When you first start thinking about change, there will probably be many great ideas and solutions floating around. Link these concepts to an overall vision that people can grasp easily and remember. A clear vision can help everyone understand why you're asking them
to do something. When people see for themselves what you're trying to achieve, then the directives they're given tend to make more sense.
Step Four: Communicate the Vision
What you do with your vision after you create it will determine your success. Your message will probably have strong competition from other day-to-day communications within the company, so you need to communicate it frequently and powerfully, and embed it
within everything that you do. When you keep it fresh on everyone's minds, they'll remember it and respond to it.
Step Five: Remove Obstacles
If you follow these steps and reach this point in the change process, you've been talking about your vision and building buy-in from all levels of the organization. Put in place the structure for change, and continually check for barriers to it. Removing obstacles can empower the people you need to execute your vision, and it can help the change move forward.
Step Six: Create Short-term Wins
Nothing motivates more than success. Give your company a taste of victory early in the change process. Within a short time frame (this could be a month or a year, depending on the type of
change), you'll want to have results that your staff can see. Without this, critics and negative thinkers might hurt your progress. Create short-term targets - not just one long-term goal.
Step Seven: Build on the Change
Kotter argues that many change projects fail because victory is declared too early. Real change runs deep. Quick wins are only the beginning of what needs to be done to achieve long-term change. Launching one new product using a new system is great. But if you can launch 10 products, that means the new system is working. To reach that 10th success, you need to keep looking for improvements.
Step Eight: Anchor the Changes in Corporate Culture
Finally, to make any change stick, it should become part of the core of your organization. Your corporate culture often determines what gets done, so the values behind your vision must show in day-to-day work.