Thursday, January 6, 2011

Why does HBR "Welcome Back Kotter"?


Do you remember the 70s TV show "Welcome Back Kotter" - this is not about that! I doubt the Harvard Business Review has ever done an article on the TV show.

In this case Kotter is John Kotter author of many books and leading organizational change guru. Every few years it seems the HBR republishes in slightly revised ways Kotter's Eight Step Plan for implementing change initiatives.

I think the HBR does this because they haven't found anyone taking up the baton and running with it. Kotter is still the leader in leading change (and that's the name of his book).


Kotter derived these simple 8 steps from his analysis of many companies that had failed. So these are the principles that he says will lead to success. In summary they are:

1. Establish a sense of urgency by creating a compelling reason for why change is needed.
2. Form a coalition with enough power to lead the change.
3. Create a new vision to direct the change with strategies for achieving the vision.
4. Communicate the vision throughout the organization. (Once or twice is not enough - repeat the vision frequently.)
5. Empower others to act on the vision by removing barriers to change. Allow experimentation encourage risk taking. Create an environment of creative problem solving.
6. Plan, crate, and reward short-term "wins" that move the organization in the directions of the new vision.
7. Consolidate improvements, reassess changes, and make necessary adjustments in the new program.
8. Reinforce the changes by demonstrating the relationship between new behaviors and organizational success.


It astounds me how much of that model of change maps so well to Agile/Scrum/Lean and is the necessary and sufficient behaviors of Agile Transformations.

HBR 2008: The Eight Stages of Successful Large-Scale Change by John Kotter.
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