Leading Change: Why Transformation Efforts Fail

I recently read a great article in the Harvard Business Review (HBR) called “Leading Change: Why Transformation Efforts Fail.” It walks through 8 steps (see below) that lead to transforming and then the 8 most common errors that halt change in its tracks. John Kotter, the author, provides some great statistics and examples for each of the errors. Many of which resonate with my experience.

leadingChangeBookHis book, “Leading Change,”  just got added to my never ending queue of books to read.

The Editors Note, at the beginning, really hooked me. Here it is. “Guiding change may be the ultimate test of a leader—no business survives over the long term if it can’t reinvent itself. But, human nature being what it is, fundamental change is often resisted mightily by the people it most affects: those in the trenches of the business. Thus, leading change is both absolutely essential and incredibly difficult.”

After having read and reviewed Daniel Mezick’s Open Agile Adoption Handbook. I see many similarities to the theory and practices from Daniel’s book in this article.

8 Steps to Transforming:

  1. Establish a sense of urgency
  2. Forming a powerful guiding coalition
  3. Creating a vision
  4. Communicating the vision
  5. Empowering others to act on the vision
  6. Planning for and creating short-term wins
  7. Consolidating improvements and producing still more change
  8. Institutionalizing new approaches
  9. Go to step 1 (keep repeating)
leadingChangeBlurredVision

Blurred or No Vision

8 Errors that stifle transformation:

  • Not Establishing a Great Enough Sense of Urgency
  • Not Creating a Powerful Enough Guiding Coalition
  • Lacking a Vision
  • Undercommunicating the Vision by a Factor of Ten
  • Not Removing Obstacles to the New Vision
  • Not Systematically Planning for, and Creating, Short-Term Wins
  • Declaring Victory Too Soon
  • Not Anchoring Changes in the Corporation’s Culture

There are some great examples to go with each of the steps to transforming as well as the errors that stop transformation dead in its tracks. I highly recommend reading the entire article, here.

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