Jooli Atkins FBCS CITP and Susanna Way MBCS look at step one in the Kotter eight step process of successful change.

How often have you heard someone say ‘I thought it worked perfectly well the way we used to do it - why did we need to change - it just seems like change for change’s sake...'? This is possibly true of anyone that did not buy in (regardless of whether they agree necessarily) to the need for change.

In his 1996 book, 'Leading Change', Professor John P Kotter highlights that in this step, it is important to help others see the need for change and the importance of acting quickly.  Resistance to change tends to decrease over time so the sooner the need for change is established, the sooner people can understand its impact and move along the change curve towards acceptance and growth. 

The L&D or training team is a great resource for providing subject-matter expertise for business analysis when ascertaining the need for change. They usually know what’s going on in the business and have a great insight into the right people to work with.  They can also be great ambassadors for change if engaged early enough and if they are going to be expected to ‘sell’ the benefits in the future, the sooner you work with them, the better they will understand the change and it impact.

Time spent planning and executing this vital step will not be wasted. Consider at the outset those individuals or groups that will be impacted by the change and seek to provide information that starts to compel them to accept that at least something needs to change.

Share information about data, finances, risks, external changes or whatever is manifesting in the business that is requiring a need to change. Support these people through the ‘Denial’ stage in an adult to adult manner - so that though they may not like it, they will accept that there is a real need to change.

About the Kotter 8 step process of successful change