Kotter’s Change Model

Organizing and explaining the proposed change process is best explained by Dr. John Kotter's 8-step change model (Kotter, 1996, 2012). The 8-step model is an excellent approach to understanding and achieving change initiatives. The strength of Kotter's model is the practical value it provides in viewing comprehensive change management initiatives. The eight components of Kotter's model (Kotter, 1996, 2012) are:

  • • Justification
  • • Establishing Support
  • • Establishing a Connection between the Initiative and the Employees
  • • Effective Communication
  • • Managing Resistance to Change
  • • Practical Plans
  • • Momentum through Communication
  • • Institutionalization of the Initiative

Justification of the Change Initiative

The justification of the change initiative as a legitimate organizational project is essential for both political and cultural reasons within the organization. The use of organizational resources must be aligned with established goals, thereby gaining management approval to proceed. Management approval enhances the likelihood that organizational employees will support the change initiative. Once management orders a project to begin, it will happen, won't it? Well, the project may begin, but that does not mean everyone will support the plan. There is more to gaining support than expectations.

Establishing personal and team milestones are necessary for the effective management of the program resulting in timely planning and implementation. The success of the BCP is the establishment and maintenance of an active image designed to protect the people and the organization. Promoting an active BC image based on accurate, fact-based information, and genuine interest in the employees wins critical support and demonstrates our concern for their best interests. A critical communication issue is the inclusion of actual and dramatic examples that demonstrate the direct value of the BCP to the organization - working together; we make a difference.

Support Involves Making Allies and Finding Champions

Organizational projects involve teamwork and developing influential allies to support the project throughout the organization. Approved projects do not always survive the perils of organizational infighting and empire building. Budgets are often tight, and clear justifications associated with clear management support are necessary for the advancement of the initiative. The process of making allies takes time and involves meeting people, demonstrating a commitment to an alliance, honesty, and non-threatening overtures. There are people in every organization that feel threatened by peers and subordinates; they are insecure in their abilities. Gaining their support might rest on making them feel secure and valued as a partner in the change initiative. Making allies and gaining support from others will take time; it is a daily goal to achieve - be patient.

Relate the Initiative to the Employees – Create Vested Interests

Engaging the organization to participate in risk-related activities is challenging, but achievable if the employees understand the issues. The project manager must capture the interest of the employees and engage them in developing the desired outcome (e.g., a world-class business continuity program). Marketing is a powerful tool to "sell" the project/program. The regular and constant marketing of the program and the associated activities ensure people remember the importance of the program.

The employees will learn about the initiative through the program's vision statement, mission statement, and program values. The inclusion of the vision statement, mission statement, and values on the program intranet site demonstrates the seriousness and commitment of the company risk-related initiative. For instance,

Vision Statement: Facilitate corporate resilience at Trivia Nerds, LLC, with comprehensive business continuity planning, preparedness activities, and employee engagement.

Mission Statement: Through a comprehensive and collaborative business continuity program consisting of corporate continuity plans, effective recovery strategies, a training and exercise program, and continuous improvement, Trivia Nerds, LLC, is dedicated to ensuring the resilience of personnel and business operations.

BCP Values:

  • • Embrace the Trivia Nerds, LLC values as primary tenants of the Resilience Office;
  • • Acknowledge the complexity of the organizational system at Trivia Nerds, LLC and incorporate that knowledge into the BC program;
  • • Promote iterative, continuous improvement of the BC program;
  • • Promote a collegial, collaborative, and silo-free organizational environment dedicated to developing strong preparedness-oriented relationships.

The above examples focus on business continuity, but adjustments in the text will provide similar examples for disaster recovery, security, crisis management, facilities management, and other risk-oriented professions. The intent is to present a sincere and authentic message to the company employees showing concern for the well-being of the company and the employees.

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