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When Change Is Unavoidable

What does a leader do when change is unavoidable? John Kotter in his book Leading Change lays out a process to implementing change in an organization. He places an emphasis on the processes by encouraging several steps to be followed by the leader. The process begins with developing a desire for change by examining the market and competitive realities and identifying and discussing potential crises, or major opportunities. Next, the leader would create a guiding coalition by putting together a group with enough power to lead the change and encouraging the group to work together like a team. This coalition would develop a vision and strategy to help direct the change effort. The coalition would also communicate the change vision by using every vehicle possible to constantly communicate the new vision and strategies and model the behavior expected of followers. The leader would then empower broad-based action by changing systems or structures that undermine the change vision and encourage risk taking and nontraditional ideas, activities, and actions. Next it is important to generating short-term wins by visibly recognizing and rewarding people who made the wins possible. These wins lead to consolidating gains and producing more change by reinvigorating the process with new projects, themes, and change agents. The last step is important as the leader must work to anchor new approaches in the culture by creating better performance through productivity-oriented behavior, more and better leadership, and more effective management. These steps should be effective in developing means to ensure leadership development and succession in the organization.


Kotter, John P. (1996). Leading Change. Boston MA: Harvard Business School Press