As previously stated in Module One, the best-researched model to lead organizational change effectively is John Kotter’s eight-step model (Kotter, 2012). Kotter’s eight steps are:
1. Establishing a sense of urgency
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2. Creating the guiding coalition
3. Developing a vision and strategy
4. Communicating the change vision
5. Empowering employees for broad-based action
6. Generating short-term wins
7. Consolidating gains and producing more change
8. Anchoring the new approach in the organizational culture
Once again, we concentrate our focus on applying Kotter’s steps, but in this module, we apply steps 5, 6, 7, and 8 in the diagnosis of a change effort, specifically the change effort of penguins searching for a new home, as we conclude our reading of Our Iceberg Is Melting by Kotter and Rathgeber. Once again, the issues facing leaders in organizational change efforts will emerge as we review these steps.
To gain a better understanding of Kotter’s steps 5 through 8, we will explain each step’s importance and define what the step really means. Kotter’s steps 5, 6, 7, and 8 are:
· Empowering employees for broad-based action
· Generating short-term wins
· Consolidating gains and producing more change
· Anchoring the new approach in the organizational culture
Let’s review each.
Empowering employees for broad-based action is step 5 of Kotter’s eight steps. Many leaders make the mistake of wanting employees to simply be implementers of the change effort. Good leaders want employees who keep their eyes and ears open to see what needs to be changed for the change effort to succeed. Too often leaders want employees to act as “drones,” whereas what is needed are employees who are valued for their knowledge and expertise to take the needed actions to help make the change effort a reality—in other words, real empowerment of employees to take needed actions in the change effort. We will cover this in more detail in Module Seven.
Generating short-term wins is step 6 of Kotter’s eight steps. Short-term wins have multiple positive effects in an organizational change effort, but the two most important effects are (a) they document the success of a step toward the larger goal, acting as a milestone of ongoing success toward the goal, and (b) they can be communicated to the greater organization to demonstrate that the change process is ongoing and strong and the “ball has not been dropped.” Remember, complacency is the enemy in a change effort. Short-term wins help to maintain the collective will to succeed in the change effort. We will cover this in more detail in Module Seven.
Consolidating gains and producing more change is step 7 of Kotter’s eight steps. One thing that consistently happens in an organizational change effort is that it affects the operating system of the organization. As that occurs, gains toward the change effort need to be integrated into the fabric of the organization’s operations, but this always requires more change. In particular, the areas of processes and systems need to be revisited to incorporate the demands of the change effort. We will cover this in more detail in Module Nine.
Finally, anchoring the new approach in the organizational culture is step 8 of Kotter’s eight steps. Most leaders do not understand or appreciate the power organizational culture has on the actions of employees and the day-to-day processes in an organization. To maintain and sustain an organizational change, it has to become part of the organizational culture; it has to become “the way we do things here.” If leaders lack the needed diligence in this area, it is easy for “backsliding” toward the old ways and methods to occur, thus dooming the change effort. Sustainability and maintaining the change effort often requires infrastructure support, but it is usually incorporated into the fabric of the organization once the majority of employees believe that the organizational change has become “the way we do things here.”
Kotter, J. P. (2012). Leading change. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.
In our text Our Iceberg Is Melting, Kotter provides a story-based scenario of a situation needing a change intervention.
Review the reading from our text and state how Kotter’s last four steps (5 through 8) were applied in the story (2 paragraphs), and then reflect on an organizational change effort that you are familiar with from the past (you can use the same organizational change effort you used for Module One) using Kotter’s last four steps (5 through 8) to diagnose the strengths and weaknesses of the change effort.
Make sure to include what was done well, what was done poorly, and what was lacking in the change effort (2 paragraphs). The journal assignment should be a total of 4 paragraphs. Journals are private between the student and the instructor.
Submit assignment as a Word document 4 paragraphs with double spacing, 12-point Times New Roman font, and one-inch margins.