BY JOHN P. KOTTER
HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW MARCH-APRIL 1995
Presented by: Javed
John P. Kotter is the Konosuke Matsushita Professor of Leadership (retired) at Harvard
Business School in Boston. He is the author of 15 books, including The Heart of Change:
Real-Life Stories of How People Change Their Organizations,John P. Kotter
on What Leaders Really Do, and Leading Change.
He has published six articles in HBR, including “What Leaders Really Do”
and “What Effective General Managers Really Do.”
To discuss eight reasons why transformation efforts
fail in organizations and to learn some strategies for
successful organization transformation.
ERROR #1: NOT ESTABLISHING A GREAT ENOUGH SENSE OF
How most successful changes begin.
▪ Crises, potential crises or great opportunities.
▪ Over 50% have failed in phase 1, because of:
Underestimating the need for motivating people.
Overestimating their success.
A lack of patience.
A paralyzed senior management.
The need for a leader, CEO or division manager to sense
ERROR #2 NOT CREATING A POWERFUL ENOUGH GUIDING
• Senior management
• Reasons for failing:
• No history of teamwork at top
ERROR#3: LACKING A VISION
coalition develops a picture of future.
A vision says something that helps clarify the direction in
which an organization needs to move.
A list of confusing and incompatible projects.
ERROR #4: UNDER COMMUNICATING THE VISION
▪ Three patterns with respect to communication:
▪ Holding a single meeting.
▪ Making speeches to group of employees.
▪ Newsletters and speeches.
▪ Walk the talk, nothing undermines change more
than wrong behavior by important individuals.
Error #5: Not Removing Obstacles to the New Vision
▪ Emboldened employees.
▪ Obstacles for employees:
▪ Narrow job definitions.
▪ Compensation and appraisal systems.
▪ The action is essential both to empower others and to
maintain the credibility of change effort.
Error #6: Not Systematically Planning For and Creating Short-Term Wins
▪ Most people go on a long march unless…
▪ In one or two years you should find:
▪ Quality beginning to go up.
▪ Product introduction.
▪ Upward shift in market share.
▪ In successful cases managers actively plan to
achieve objectives. They don’t hope for.
▪ The benefits of commitments to produce shortterm wins.
Error #7: Declaring Victory Too Soon
▪ declaring the war won .
▪ Until change changes sink deeply into a company’s culture.
▪ What, instead of declaring premature victory.
Until change changes sink deeply into a company’s culture
Error #8: Not Anchoring Changes in the Corporation’s Culture
▪ In the final analysis change sticks when it becomes “ the
way we do things around here”
▪ Two factor in institutionalizing change:
▪ To show people , the effects of new approaches.
▪ Make sure that next generation of top management will personify
the new approach.