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

Reinforce the changes in ‘business as usual’ so that they will, over time, become ‘what we do’. We all know of people in organisations that spend much of their time finding ways of avoiding carrying out a process or using a system correctly. 

They usually begin that as soon as the change is implemented. If they are never challenged nor have their new learning reinforced, their workaround ways can become the only way they know and you’ve no chance of coming back from that. 

L&D can incorporate the new ‘ways of working’, whether skills, processes or behaviours, into their business as usual learning solutions and reinforce best practice at all stages.

We wanted to add some words here, lifted directly from the Kotter’s website that highlights something VERY important when it comes to cultural change:

'This is why cultural change comes in Step 8, not Step 1.

Some general rules about cultural change include:

  • Cultural change comes last, not first
  • You must be able to prove that the new way is superior to the old
  • The success must be visible and well communicated
  • You will lose some people in the process
  • You must reinforce new norms and values with incentives and rewards including promotions
  • Reinforce the culture with every new employee.'

Tradition is a powerful force. We keep change in place by creating a new, supportive and sufficiently strong organisational culture. A guiding coalition alone cannot root change in place no matter how strong they are. It takes the majority of the organisation truly embracing the new culture for there to be any chance of success in the long term.

If we pay attention to change, and the dynamics that surround it, and engage with those people who can help - but keep in mind that to many change is painful - then we will have a far better chance of making the changes that we need in order to support effective business change.

About the Kotter 8 step process of successful change

About the authors

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.