Leading Change by John P. Kotter. Harvard Business School Press, 1996.
In light of the increasing rate of change in the business environment due to factors such as technological advances and globalization, the need to be able to make successful transformations within an organization becomes more imperative than ever before. In Leading Change, Kotter identifies an eight-step guide for making successful organization changes. These eight steps stem from avoiding common mistakes made during organizational change efforts seen in the past , such as: too much complacency; failing to create a powerful guiding coalition; underestimating the power of vision; under-communicating the vision; permitting obstacles to block a new vision; failing to create short term wins; declaring a victory too soon; and neglecting to anchor changes firmly into the organizational culture.
To avoid these mistakes, leaders of an organization requiring changes should consider the following steps:
1. Establishing a sense of urgency
2. Creating a guiding coalition
3. Developing a vision and strategy
4. Communicating the change vision
5. Empowering broad-based action
6. Generating short-term wins
7. Consolidating gains and producing more change
8. Anchoring new approaches into the culture
In establishing a sense of urgency , it is hoped that a leader of change will be able to direct stakeholders' drive towards a common purpose and reduce complacency. Common causes of complacency include : the absence of a crisis, low overall performance standards, wrong performance measurement indexes, too much happy talk from management, and lack of sufficient performance feedback from external sources. It is suggested that a leader creates a sense of purpose allowing weaknesses to be exposed, setting performance targets that are too high, analyze current opportunities and highlight the organizations inability to pursue them, and cut-down on the "happy talk" and listen to disgruntled customers.