…an eight-step change process by John Kotter from the book “Leading Change”. That’s the academic text, but he has also written a fable, to demonstrate the eight steps in (for me) a more pleasing form. Titled “Our Iceberg Is Melting”, it tells the story through the eyes of a colony of penguins in Antarctica, facing the challenge of their iceberg home melting. Get hold of the book if you can – it’s a simple and engaging read, with lots of pictures of cute penguins…that really worked for me!

In summary, Kotter’s eight stage process looks like this:

  1. Reduce complacency and increase urgency
  2. Pull a team together to guide the needed change
  3. Create a vision and strategy
  4. Communicate the vision and strategy (by capturing hearts and minds, not through 144 power point slides!) Build understanding and buy-in.
  5.  Empower others to act, removing barriers so those who want to make the vision a reality can do so.
  6. Create some short-term wins
  7. Don’t let up, be relentless until the vision is a reality.
  8. Make the changes stick, because tradition dies a hard death.

One of the many things I love about this model is, creating the vision is only the third step in the chain. It is preceded by the need to create a sense of urgency and put together the right team to deliver the change. Mary completely understands the necessity of both of these first steps. If people have an insufficient sense of urgency they will not buy in to change and without the right team around her she cannot hope to make the change happen (or to execute it, in other words).

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