Generate short-term wins

In the sixth of a series of joint posts Jooli Atkins FBCS CITP and Susanna Way MBCS look at the Kotter eight step process of successful change. Step 6: Generate short-term wins.

When you‘re creating and communicating your change plan, build in achievements that can easily be made visible and celebrate success early so that those who have achieved can be rewarded and those who were not involved can see quick wins. 

Some of these can be generated by early involvement and engagement of staff members who are not normally involved in change efforts. Find out what they think of the changes as they move through the change curve over time and capture their transition. 

If some of those people are resistant to the change, ‘acid testers’, even better - they often have great ideas for enhancing and, once won over become your ambassadors back in the organisation. 

Your L&D and communications colleagues can often help you to identify those that will take the most ‘winning over’, because they regularly have to do the same.

A final thought, lifted from John Kottter’s explanation of Step 6 challenges us to remember that it is Planning and not Praying that we need in this phase.

Short-term wins rarely simply happen. They are usually the result of careful planning and effort. Why don’t people plan for these? Often they are overwhelmed with the tasks of the change effort and simply take their eye off this particular ball. In other cases, people don’t even try because they believe that you can’t produce major change and short-term performance results.

Finally, the lack of short-term wins can often be traced back to insufficient management expertise on the guiding coalition or a lack of commitment by key managers to the change initiative. 

Some useful reminders we think ...

For more information on the Kotter 8 step process of successful change visit the website.

Jooli Atkins FBCS CITP is Chair of The BCS Learning and Development Specialist Group - the only professional body solely dedicated to supporting L&D professionals working in IT.

Susanna Way MBCS CITP is also a member of the BCS Learning and Development Specialist Group and has a special interest in extending our online presence and engaging more closely with our members.

The BCS Learning and Development Specialist Group comprises members with many years of experience in implementing successful IT- enabled business change and we organise a programme of regular face to face and online meetings. Meetings are usually free to join and open to anyone interested in L&D whether as a practitioner or a colleague. If you are interested in engaging with the Group or in discussing ideas for working with L&D in IT-enabled business change, visit our page

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    Steve Boronski wrote on 24th May 2013

    Great series, Jooli, I have been a long time admirer of Kotter, he talks such sense. I think every business case ought to have quick wins included in the benefits section.

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About the author
Jooli Atkins (FBCS, CITP) has been involved in the IT profession for the past 25 years, mainly in Learning and Development. She is the Chair of the BCS Learning and Development Specialist Group and CITP assessor as well as being an accredited SFIA consultant, specialising in Business Change.

See all posts by Jooli Atkins

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