Harvard Business School Professor John Kotter wrote about the principles of leading change in 1996. In this modest book, Kotter outlines eight problems that inhibit change. “By any measure the amount of significant, often traumatic change in organizations has grown tremendously in recent year ,” he begins. Kotter studied dozens of change programs and defined eight problems that he uses as the basis for identifying eight principles that underlie successful transformations:
➢ Establishing A Sense Of Urgency – The Question Is Not Just Whether Action Should Be Taken But What Action Must Be Taken Now.
➢ Creating A Guiding Coalition – Perhaps The Single Most Powerful Lesson Of The New Media Has Been The Demonstration That Coalitions Must Be Broader.
➢ Developing A Vision And Strategy – Kotter’s Special Gift Is To Take These Concepts And To Reduce Them To Simple Compelling Ideas.
➢ Communicating The Change Vision
➢ Empowering Employees For Broad Based Action – Ultimately This Is The Test Of The Belief In The Urgency Of The Problem and The Quality Of The Vision
➢ Generating Shorter Term Wins – Tapping The Generating Power Of Success.
➢ Consolidating Gains And Producing More Change.
➢ Anchoring New Approaches In The Culture
In his powerful book, Kotter offers an elegant solution to a vexing challenge. Particularly in the public sector environment where there are multiple variables and defining causality is often problematic, Kotter contrasts the authoritarian command and control style with the micromanagement style and then offers a simple concept for what a vision must achieve: offering a sense of urgency, a concrete, timely sense of direction and a value proposition.
“It’s going to rain in a few minutes. Why don’t we go over there and sit under that huge apple tree. We’ll stay dry and we can have fresh apples for lunch.”
It’s when leaders will not, or cannot offer a statement that conveys direction the there will be no framework within which to define effective strategy.