Organizations must be prepared to act quickly to adapt to change. Utilizing a change management model ensures that an organization handles change consistently, efficiently and in a manner that minimizes organizational risk. Every organization may adopt a slightly different change management model. One widely respected approach is the eight-step model developed by Professor John P. Kotter, an internationally known expert on change management and the author of the best-selling book "Leading Change."
Acting With Urgency
Kotter's first step is to analyze the existing market and realistically assess the competition. During this phase, an organization lists major opportunities that drive change and discusses crises or anticipated crises that could impact the organization.
During the second change management step in the model, the organization assembles a leadership team for the changing process. The group that leads change in the organization must have enough power and authority to command the respect of others in the organization who may be resistant to change.
In the next step, the leadership team develops a vision that will help determine the focus and direction of the effort to effect change. The team must also create strategies that will achieve the vision. Change must not take place for the sake of change; it must achieve a strategic objective.
In this step, the leadership team communicates the new vision, objectives and strategic plans to the rest of the organization. The team communicates change as a "done deal" -- something leadership has embraced that now needs to be implemented. Members of the organization learn new behaviors that will help them adapt to the changed environment.
In the fifth step of Kotter's change management model, the organization removes obstacles to change. It deconstructs processes and systems that threaten to undermine the vision for change. The leadership team encourages employees to take risks and propose innovative, nontraditional ideas that move the change process along.
Generating Short-Term Wins
The sixth step recognizes the value of small accomplishments. Short-term successes add vitality to the change process and help the entire organization recognize that making a change was the right move. Identifying and celebrating short-term gains helps overcome any remaining skepticism.
The seventh step keeps up the momentum, as the leadership team exhorts others in the organization to keep pressing on and not assume that the work is over. The organization must analyze other systems and policies that may not fit the new vision and bring those systems and policies into alignment with the new strategic vision. In this step, the organization hires or promotes employees to implement the vision.
Making Change Permanent
In the final phase of the change management model, the organization makes plans that will help embed the changed structure into the organization. Leadership connects the new systems and behaviors to prolonged organizational success and makes plans to ensure development of new leaders.