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Kotter’s 8-Step Change Model


Changing organizational culture can be hectic and prone to many challenges. For instance, it can disrupt routine operations and processes, resulting in resistance. However, tested frameworks such as Kotter’s 8-step model help address challenges and ensure successful and sustainable organizational change. This paper outlines information about a personal experience in a retail store implementing change (introducing an online shopping platform) based on Kotter’s 8-step model.

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  • Create Urgency:
    • It entails creating a necessity for change through a business case for transformation (Reynolds, 2020).
    • Ongoing bankruptcies of traditional retail stores were given as evidence for urgent change.
  • Form a Powerful Coalition:
    • A powerful team is required to lead the change process.
    • A small project team that comprised staff from each department (Sales, Marketing, Human Resources, and IT) was constituted.
    • These were the people directly impacted by the proposed change.
  • Create a Vision for Change:
    • Kotter’s model prescribes clarifying the change project’s main idea to promote understanding and enthusiasm (Reynolds, 2020).
    • The project’s vision was to offer an accessible, personalized shopping experience to customers by going digital.
  • Communicate the Vision:
    • This step ensures the staff understands the change to lead the improvements.
    • Roles and expectations for each employee and department were conveyed through emails and notices.
  • Remove Obstacles:
    • Empowerment helps eliminate barriers to action, including resistance to change.
    • Training of departmental heads on the online platform was conducted.
  • Create Short-term Wins:
    • Recognizing and celebrating small achievements are needed to sustain excitement for the change.
    • The number of customers shopping via the platform was shared during weekly meetings.
  • Build on the Change:
    • Improvements were consolidated to drive further change in the organization.
    • An additional feature (online payment) was introduced in the platform.
  • Anchor the Changes in Corporate Culture:
    • Departmental heads were engaged as change agents to ensure all employees transition to the platform.
    • Incentives were provided for selling through the online platform.


Change is inevitable in business, but it can be disruptive if not well managed. Kotter’s 8-step model gives reliable actions for leading organizational improvements. Addressing barriers to change, including resistance, is a critical first step. Additionally, effective communication of the initiatives and staff empowerment through training is needed to achieve successful change. The involvement of all stakeholders from the start is also important to reduce resistance.


Reynolds, L. (2020). Leading change: John Kotter’s 8 step model.

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