Leading Change - John P. Kotter

Leading Change - John P. Kotter

Learn how to transform your business to keep up with the new market and its trends.

Have you ever stopped to think that old management standards are no longer so efficient? Through this summary of the book "Leading Change", John Kotter presents eight steps to a successful leading through change so that it will be applied and give great results.

We need to redesign strategies, structures, and systems to achieve better results.

Managers can often identify the elements they need for transformation, but changing them can be a long and arduous job that often if done wrong, can fail.

Interested? So, stay with us for one more PocketBook4You!

About the book "Leading Change"

Leading Change was written by author John P. Kotter and released by Harvard Business Review Press in 2012. The book consists of three parts and twelve chapters.

There are 220 pages of great knowledge in which the author describes the step by step for the long-awaited change.

About the author John P. Kotter

Graduated in MIT and Harvard, and professor at the second institution, John P. Kotter is an authority on leadership and change. He is the founder and co-founder of Kotter International, an organization that helps business leaders with the transformations and leadership education required in a rapidly changing business environment.

He was one of the youngest professors in Harvard history to receive a chair. In 2009, he received the American Society Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his important work to transform companies.

To whom is this book indicated?

The book "Leading Change" is primarily intended for managers and people working in companies, seeking development and walking in line with what the new industry standards require.

If you are curious about the area and are interested in finding out the big differences from what it was meant to be, this book is also for you.

Main ideas of the book "Leading Change"

  • What was once done in business administration no longer fits today's demands;
  • The market is changing and fast;
  • For real, meaningful and lasting change, it is advisable to follow the eight steps described in the book;
  • Communication, empowerment, and awareness are key factors;
  • Leadership is a big differential in this new scenario.

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[Book Summary] Leading Change - John P. Kotter

Overview: Transforming Organizations: Why Companies Fail

Have you ever wondered why companies fail to make progress or even go bankrupt because they can't keep up with the market?

The current demand is for cost reduction, product and service improvement, and constantly looking for new opportunities to increase productivity.

However, there are very common mistakes that hinder this development and gradually undermine the company. These are:

  • Allow a lot of complacencies;
  • Failure to create a powerful coalition of direction;
  • Underestimate the power of sight;
  • Not communicating the new vision sufficiently;
  • Allow obstacles to block the new view;
  • Failing to create short term victories;
  • Declare victory too soon;
  • Neglecting to firmly fix change in the company's culture.

By being aware of these errors, you can then think of how to avoid them or how to remedy them. So, let's start looking at the solutions to be successful on this journey.

Overview: Successful Change and the Forces That Drive It

Who has never tried to change something that was not satisfied, failed and was disbelieving the change? As we fail to achieve our goals, we tend to risk and believe less in processes. It turns out to be very costly and difficult.

The previous generation, for example, was used to a totally different market than it is today, and facing the challenges of transition is not really easy. But while this market presents many challenges, it presents us with infinite possibilities and that is wonderful.

The economic and social forces driving this major change are technological change, international integration, the maturation of markets in developed countries, and the fall of communist and socialist regimes. These elements then led to the globalization of markets and competition.

Globalization in turn, as stated earlier, creates many obstacles and difficulties, but also offers a world of opportunity. Just adapt to large-scale transformations quickly and you can reap the rewards of your commitment.

At this point, it is important to highlight an essential element for the success of change, the leader.

Overview: Establishing a sense of urgency

Have you ever come across a job that you had to deliver, but it was a long time away and you were leaving it to the last minute?

This chapter of the book "Leading Change" talks about just that, the need to create a sense of urgency for more cooperation and dedication. When we do not have this sense, we become very comfortable in our position, we do not believe in the real need to do beyond, to strive.

Believe me, complacency is once again a big villain in this scenario and this convenience can come from many factors such as the absence of a real crisis, many sources at your disposal, companies that harness their employees' potential shallow, low billing standards, and so on.

How to solve this problem then, you ask yourself. Well, the answer is simple.

Increase the sense of urgency!

There are a few possibilities to do so, such as:

  • Creating a potential crisis to expose company weaknesses;
  • Eliminating excesses;
  • Setting high goals that are difficult to achieve with standard action;
  • Increasing discussions about company problems.

Overview: Creating a Steering Coalition

A major transformation is usually associated with a person's figure. This person guides the process, which is not easy by itself and helps to sustain it. However, if a person with such an ability is already great, having a team to lead this change is the ideal to achieve.

By forming such a team, the early stages are easier to conduct and the restructuring and redesign of the strategies are more efficient. One person alone, no matter how capable, can hardly lead and handle decisions without help.

Another important issue is choosing the right people for this team. Choosing the wrong people diminishes the credibility of the team, the decisions, the strategies, and this weakens the change and the willingness of employees to change.

Overview: Developing A Vision and Strategy

Having a vision of the future is also essential as it shows those involved why they work hard, dedicate themselves and what rewards they will receive in return for their efforts. Nothing is more demotivating than working for an uncertain future.

Leaders are able to create a vision and strategies to make it real. Managers, in turn, create plans and budgets. Hence the difference and the need to choose wisely with whom we want to work and what each situation demands.

For a vision to be effective, it must be conceivable, desirable, achievable, focused, flexible and communicable. Importantly, an inefficient vision can be more harmful than not having a new vision.

Overview: Communicating the Vision of Change

At this moment in the book "Leading Change", that we already have a new vision, we emphasize the importance of it being shared with those involved. To be successful, they need to be aware of their roles and goals.

This shared sense is what motivates and coordinates actions for a major transformation. However, this vision sharing can be a bit tricky for traditional managers. They have been taught and trained to manage, but nothing prevents them from learning this communication skill.

To facilitate vision communication, here are some techniques: simplicity, use of metaphors, analogies and examples, multiple platforms, repetition, lead by example, and elimination of inconsistent information.

Overview: Empowering Employees for Large-Scale Action

A general change requires organizational changes. Old structures no longer fit the modern context we face. This requires the help of several people.

Four main barriers to empowerment must be observed and eliminated. They are:

  1. Structures: Remove actuation structures that prevent work from being streamlined. Many levels of leadership, for example, can slow down decision making.
  2. Skills: Lack of skill is detrimental to development. Provide training for your employees to be 100% qualified.
  3. Systems: Correct leadership helps transform the system to align with the new vision.
  4. Supervisors: Confront supervisors who are not committed to change, who do not encourage employees, and who are not aligned with the new vision and strategies.

Overview: Generating Short Term Wins

A big change takes time to materialize. If you do not police yourself to create short-term victories, you will come a long way and gradually lose the enthusiasm of your employees.

We often need compelling evidence to show us that we are on the right track and that what we are doing is worthwhile. Without this feedback, we begin to question ourselves and dedicate ourselves less.

A short-term victory must have at least three characteristics: being visible, being clear, and clearly linked to the drive for change.

When they reach them, they become fuels for us to continue dedicating ourselves. They are proof that our sacrifice is valid, gives us positive feedback, reaffirms vision and strategies, generates momentum and keeps the team (even the bosses) united and dedicated to the goals.

For this, it is crucial to emphasize the importance of planning! Results are not a matter of luck and without proper planning, things may work out for a short period, but they tend to slow down in the long run.

Overview: Consolidating Earnings and Producing More Change

In a long process of transformation, the sense of urgency may eventually be lost. Complacency may increase, and old habits and traditions may return to work.

Resistance to change never completely disappears, and progress can fail quickly for two reasons: the corporate culture and the high interdependence created.

You never really know all the changes that will come at the beginning of the process.

Planning takes a lot of time and energy. The transformation then takes place in a series of projects and these projects are made of other smaller projects.

With sufficient leadership and management, we can then achieve our goals and diminish excess interdependence.

More autonomy speeds decision making, which makes projects complete faster and transformation becomes more and more real.

Overview: Setting New Methods in Culture

A company's culture is extremely powerful and is made up of two elements: behavioral norms and shared values. Regardless of level or location, culture is important because it is what directly influences people's behavior and can be difficult to change.

At this time, we must work on changing the culture. If it is incompatible with the new vision and new strategies, it should be replaced. The point is that it is not possible to redefine a culture overnight.

We must change elements gradually, setting new practices consistently but not implementing them all at once. Therefore, culture transformation comes at the end of the transformation, it depends on results, demands a lot of talks, may involve financial investment, and successful decisions are crucial for maintaining the new culture.

Overview: The Organization of the Future

The demand for rapid changes in the business world will not decrease, quite the contrary. Competition tends to increase and so the sense of urgency will help companies change more easily.

To cope with this demand, it is important to have teamwork at its peak, people who can create and transmit the vision, large-scale empowerment, management for excellent short-term performance, eliminate unnecessary interdependence, and have an adaptable corporate culture.

Overview: Leadership and Enduring Learning

We then saw that leadership is the key element for a successful transformation. Personal background, competitive orientation, lasting learning, skill development and competitive talent are all desirable and necessary factors in this new scenario.

In addition, skills such as risk-taking ability, humble self-assessment, opinion-seeking, listening carefully and being open to new ideas are indispensable for personal and professional growth.

What do other authors say about it?

Speaking of change, in the book "Factfulness", authors Hans, Ola, and Anna Rosling say that today we have an instinct to believe that things don't change anymore, and that keeps us from seeing many advances that are happening.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb in "Antifragile" catches the eye of those who are stagnant in the comfort zone.

It is true that there will be challenges on the road to innovation, but they are essential for any and all improvements, including the development of personal skills.

In "High-Performance Secrets" the authors Douglas de Matteu and Wilson Nascimento help to have great results mainly by correcting past mistakes and developing new skills for what you want in the new venture. It is important to have self knowledge.

Okay, but how can I apply this to my life?

With this change guide provided by John P. Kotter in his book "Leading Change", we then saw that the process is neither easy nor quick, but it is possible. Just believe and dedicate yourself.

Practically, the way to apply what we learn in our daily lives is:

  • Be aware of changes in the business world;
  • Find the possibilities and work on them;
  • Focus on the new vision and develop strategies;
  • Establish short term victories;
  • Have or be a good leader.

Did you like this summary of the book "Leading Change"?

As we finish this reading, we see a step-by-step step towards a successful and lasting change. But and you? What did you think of the author's teachings? Do you agree with all the steps?

Tell us, your opinion is very valuable! If you are interested in reading the complete work, just click on the image below.

Thank you so much for your company and see you next time!

Book 'Leading Change'

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