Leaders who successfully transform businesses do eight things right (and they do them in the right order).
HBR Reprint: R0701J
by John P. Kotter
This is another classic from HBR. We continually "preach" in our work on organic growth that leadership must play a hands-on role. This is an excellent example of what we mean. I strongly urge you get the reprint.
John P. Kotter is renowned for his work on leading organizational change. In 1995, when this article was first published, he had just completed a ten-year study of more than 100 companies that attempted such a transformation. Here he shares the results of his observations, outlining the eight largest errors that can doom these efforts and explaining the general lessons that encourage success.
Unsuccessful transitions almost always founder during at least one of the following phases: 1.generating a sense of urgency, 2.establishing a powerful guiding coalition, 3.developing a vision, 3.communicating the vision clearly and often, 6.removing obstacles, 7.planning for and creating short-term wins, 8.avoiding premature declarations of victory, and embedding changes in the corporate culture.
Realizing that change usually takes a long time, says Kotter, can improve the chances of success.