Friday, April 5, 2013

Revisiting Kotter (Series)

Revisiting Kotter Article
In 2012, a group of Canadian scholar-practitioners wrote an articled called "Back to the future: Revising Kotter's 1996 change model."  They studied much of the research from 1996 to 2012 and examined whether or not the research could inform Kotter's model.  Unfortunately, too much of the organizational change research in the past 20 years is too stuck in methodological rigor and light on practical relevance.

Industry Perspective
My difficulty in balancing the scholarly perspective is the lack of substantive data.  While I know many of my colleagues on the academic side of the fence will roll their eyes, I'll start the practitioner perspective with a Facebook poll published in 2009 in the Harvard Business Review on Kotter's 8 steps:

(click to enlarge)
You Think You Know ...
The HBR poll is comical in that it is surveying change agents.  That would be like surveying husbands and asking them, "how good of a husband are you?  What is the most challenging part of your marriage?"

The results would not be credible.

Starting with Step 2
Of all the steps, #2 is the most obvious to fox.  People support what they help create.  The flip side of this tenet of human behavior is, "people resist what they have no part in creating, especially when they could have helped."

Change recipients continue to resent
"outside consultants" coming in
and recommending foreign ideas.

If upper management would have a process to involve their own people, they could produce change results that stick, rather than cost cutting that evaporates within years, if not months.

Series will evolve
I'm not going to go in order, nor am I going to devote the next 7 posts in a row to this topic.  It will happen, but maybe not in a linear, sequential way.  I apologize in advance to all you linear thinkers.  In the meantime, you can click on the post regarding Phase 2 right here to get you started.


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