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Kotter’s Change Model

The John Kotter change management model includes the 8-Steps to change for the change process itself, and 4 principles to guide the ‘people’ part of change.

Kotter’s 8-step process is designed to ensure change managers have created the right environment to effect change, develop the support they need to make the change happen, and keep the momentum going throughout the change, so things don’t stall.

The Kotter change management model is used by many organisations going through a change in their company, whether it’s a change of location, processes, or business tools.

From the perspective of organisational transformation, it could be worthwhile to consider a different order for the proposed steps. Arguably, you need a clear vision and plan (step 3) before you can take the necessary steps to create a sense of urgency (step 1).


  • It’s a clear and easy model to follow.
  • It creates and maintain focus on a mindset of urgency.
  • It places a strong emphasis on help (coalitions) and motivation.


  • The singular focus on urgency can leave teams not really understanding the ‘how’ or specifics of what to do.
  • The steps can seem out of order and so feel less like a roadmap.
  • The model emphasizes a top-down approach and could be considered to lack sufficient focus on employees.

Recommended resources:


Our Iceberg is Melting, Kotter John, 2006, ISBN 0399563911

Leading Change, Kotter John, 2012, ISBN 9781422186435

Accelerate, Kotter John, 2014, ISBN 1625271743


From the Japanese Kai (improvement) and Zen (good) KAIZEN is recognized worldwide as an important pillar of an organisation’s long-term competitive strategy.

There are 5 Fundamental KAIZEN Principles that are embedded in every KAIZEN tool and in every KAIZEN behaviour. The 5 principles are: Know your Customer, Let it Flow, Go to Gemba, Empower People and Be Transparent. The implementation of those 5 principles in any organisation is fundamentally important for a successful Continuous Improvement culture.

From an organisational transformation perspective, radical changes or innovations can provide significant improvements in productivity and efficiency, whilst continuous improvements maintain the momentum and further build upon the success and benefits of the initial innovative implementation.


  • It recognizes and rewards the efforts of employees and improves teamwork.
  • It improves efficiency and reduces waste.
  • It builds leadership skills.


  • It can be difficult to implement in existing management systems.
  • It requires significant training efforts.
  • The overall efforts can be compromised if some departments resist adoption.

Recommended resources:

Kaizen: The Key to Japan’s Competitive Success, Imai Masaaki, 1986, ISBN 9780075543329

Kaizen Institute