Kotter’s Eight Steps for Leading Change

John Kotter, leadership and change management professor at Harvard Business School, introduced his ground-breaking 8-Step Change Model in his 1995 book, Leading Change.

In a landmark study entitled, “Leading Change: Why Transformation Efforts Fail,” Kotter says, “The most general lesson to be learned from the more successful cases is that the change process goes through a series of phases that, in total, usually require a considerable length of time. Skipping steps creates only the illusion of speed and never produces a satisfying result. A second very general lesson is that critical mistakes in any of the phases can have a devastating impact, slowing momentum and negating hard-won gains. Perhaps because we have relatively little experience in renewing organizations, even very capable people often make at least one big error.” In the Harvard Business Review article of May-June 1995, Kotter identifies eight errors that lead transformation efforts to fail (View Leading Change: Why Transformation Efforts Fail):

Kotter’s Eight Steps for Leading Change

Kotter’s 8-Step Model of Change

Built on the work of Kurt Lewin, Kotter’s 8-Step Change Model sets out the eight key steps of the changes process, arguing that neglecting any of the steps can be enough for the whole initiative to fail. The eight steps can be divided into three stages, like those of Kurt Lewin’s model, namely:


Implementing & Sustaining for Change

Kotter’s eight steps excerpted from: Kotter, John. Leading Change. Harvard Business Review Press, 2012. ISBN: 978-1-4221-8643-5.

For more information on Kotter’s 8 Steps for Leading Change Model:

Read More:

View the 8-Step Process for Leading Change

View Choosing Strategies for Change

View John Kotter’s 8­-Step Change Model





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