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Kotter’s 8-Step for Project Change Management Research Paper

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Updated: Jan 14th, 2021

My uncle has been working for his company for 15 years. The company runs a chain of toy stores. It is necessary to note that my uncle is quite conservative though he understands that sometimes changes are crucial. He is very thoughtful and he never jumps to conclusions as he always tries to take into account all possible pros and cons. Three months ago, a new project manager was hired to increase the profitability of the company.

The manager started introducing changes at once. One of his major changes, however, met rejection. The company’s employees (including my uncle) did not want to accept the changes. Thus, to work out a new strategy to increase sales, the manager asked to create working groups to decide what products should be sold in every store. He also suggested that working groups considered several services that could be provided to customers.

Nonetheless, my uncle as well as the rest of the staff did not understand why they had to work out new strategies and invent the wheel if the company was doing quite fine. Of course, the sales were not that high but all companies in that business had hard times. This was the way the company’s employees were thinking.

I suppose the reason for resistance to the change was internal. In the first place, there was a lack of trust as the project manager was a new member of the staff. More importantly, employees and the owners had a differing assessment of the need for change. In other words, the employees did not have the larger picture and did not understand that the company did have issues to be addressed.

To effectively introduce the change, the project manager should have used Kotter’s eight-step process which has proved to be an effective strategy (Appelbaum et al., 2012). The 8 steps would help the manager avoid problems he had to face. The first four steps of this model would make the employees aware of the necessity for change and the nature of the change (Lunenburg, 2010). Of course, it would be more effective to start the implementation of change by following the eight steps of the model.

Nonetheless, it is still important to make the employees accept the change and effectively implement it. Kotter’s model will help implement the change in the company under consideration. It is possible to use the following plan:

  1. Create a sense of urgency.
  2. Form a coalition.
  3. Create a vision.
  4. Communicate the new vision.
  5. Empower employees to act.
  6. Create short-term wins.
  7. Produce more change.
  8. Anchor the new approach in the culture.

In the first place, the project manager should “establish a sense of urgency” (Stragalas, 2010, p. 33). He should collect certain data concerning sales, revenue, and performance. He should reveal the data in a legible form. A PowerPoint presentation including some diagrams and charts can be a good idea. The project manager should arrange a meeting for all employees. During this meeting, the project manager should reveal the data of the research implemented.

It can also be beneficial to show other companies’ profitability (if possible) and ways other companies are using to address issues. The following step is to encourage people to think of a problem and come up with ideas. The new ideas can be sent via e-mail. It is also important to arrange another meeting to follow the second step of the model.

Employees will acknowledge that the problem is not external as the company does need a change. The second meeting can be the necessary platform for creating a coalition. Of course, the project manager should understand who will play key roles in the implementation of the change. This coalition will be the force that will create a new vision that will be accepted by the employees (Appelbaum et al., 2012).

Thus, the project manager should suggest the creation of a working group including particular people. Of course, the participation of each member of the group should be justified. The group should also include leaders who are inspiring and who enjoy the respect. The coalition should include employees who are involved in different processes (sellers, managers, financial professionals, cleaners, etc.).

The coalition along with the project manager will form a new vision. These employees will develop strategies to implement the change. In the first place, they will set specific goals and certain ways to achieve them (Lunenburg, 2010). Of course, project management will need to keep the working group motivated and inspired. The working group will work out new services, the range of products to sell in different stores, new ways to make logistics more efficient.

The working group will then initiate a new meeting where the new vision will be presented. It can be a good idea to send major points of the change in advance so that the employees can think of possible questions. The working group will justify decisions made if necessary. This stage is important as employees should understand specific implications of the change (Stragalas, 2010). Admittedly, each employee should be aware of the coming changes and should accept the necessity and effectiveness of the new vision. This will make all employees inspired and determined to implement the change.

It is also crucial to allow the employees to implement the change. The working group should develop specific communication channels. Employees should have a certain freedom to be able to work out new ways to achieve the goals set (Stragalas, 2010). They should also give certain information concerning the effectiveness of the new strategies. It is also possible to arrange some meetings to help the employees exchange their experiences. The meeting can be held in a month or two after the vision has been communicated.

According to Kotter’s model, creating short-term wins will positively affect the implementation of the change (Lunenburg, 2010). This will make the employees more motivated as they will see particular results of the new strategies and they will also get some awards for achieving certain results. These awards can be monetary. Of course, it is possible to introduce other ways to motivate employees (e.g. promotion, extra days off, etc.).

Finally, it is also important to follow the last two stages of Kotter’s model. Producing more change is closely connected with anchoring the new vision. Thus, the implementation of certain changes will make employees motivated and ready for the change. New strategies will be accepted eagerly. Of course, it is also important to “institutionalize” the new vision (Stragalas, 2010, p. 34). The employees should be able to provide the services worked out. The new strategies should become a part of the corporate culture of the company.

To sum up, it is possible to note that the company where my uncle works can benefit from the use of Kotter’s model. I suppose my uncle will be one of the first people to accept and welcome the change if the eight steps of the model are followed.

Reference List

Appelbaum, S.H., Habashy, S., Malo, J.L. & Shafiq, H. (2012). Back to the future: Revisiting Kotter’s 1996 change model. Journal of Management Development, 31(8), 764-782.

Lunenburg, F.C. (2010). Approaches to managing organizational change. International Journal of Scholarly Academic Intellectual Diversity, 12(1), 1-10.

Stragalas, N. (2010). Improving change implementation. OD Practitioner, 42(1), 31-38.

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