Kotter's Leading Change Step 6

Planning for and Creating Short-Term Wins


Planning for and creating short-term wins as outlined in Kotter's seminal book Leading Change* is important to the long term success of a change effort. By creating visible and unambiguous results as stepping stones to achieving the end goals, the organisations and individuals impacted by the change can see how their efforts are contributing to the overall change effort. Without this step it may be difficult to maintain momentum for large scale, organisation wide, change implementations over long periods of change.

Leading Change Planning for and creating short-term wins

Reasons for short-term wins

The reasons to ensure your change implementation includes plans for short-term wins are:

  • Provides evidence to individuals that sacrifices are worth the effort.
  • Rewards those involved in the change with a pat on the back.
  • Helps fine tune vision and strategies once the realities become understood.
  • Makes it more difficult for people to block more change.
  • Evidence the transformation is on track.
  • Build momentum and creates supporters.

Confidence and buy-in

At this stage the organisation will be working concurrently across multiple stages all at different stages of completion. A short-term win gives individuals confidence that their sacrifices and effort on the longer term change vision are paying off. It is also likely to be the time when the guiding coalition's vision is tested against the actual conditions of the organisation and will gain a clearer picture of the barriers and level of buy-in.

Where there is opposition to the changes, short-term wins are particularly important as it provides proof needed to break down this opposition.

Short-term wins need to be planned for, they are not a by-product of the transformation effort and do not automatically result from an overall transformation programme. Short-term wins should not be at the expense of the overall change effort though, but rather as a catalyst that lends credibility and evidence of success.

Go to the next step - Consolidating Improvements and Producing Still More Change.

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