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Kotter’s 8-Step Change Model Best Practices

Kotter’s 8-Step Change Model is an eight step process that assists managers in implementing successful change programs in their organizations. The eight steps include: create urgency, form a powerful coalition, create a vision for change, communicate the vision, remove obstacles, create short-term wins, build on the change, and anchor the changes in corporate culture.

More about Kotter’s 8-Step Change Model

Description of Kotter’s 8-Step Change Model

The aim of Kotter’s Change Model is to aid managers in creating real change rather than simply creating messages about the need for change.The eight steps of Kotter’s model overlap so managers should be cautious not to progress linearly through them:

  1. Create Urgency – Develop a message that conveys the necessity of change. This can be accomplished by constructing scenarios that convey what could happen if the organization does not change, establish what threats are currently facing the organization, create conversations surrounding change, or garner support from customers or outside sources.
  2. Form a Powerful Coalition – Gather a group of individuals from several departments within the organization at different levels who support the change. Engage in some team building exercises to ensure that the coalition is cohesive.
  3. Create a Vision for Change – Create a succinct description of what the organization should look like in the future and develop a plan for getting the organization to that point. Additionally, ensure that the vision can be applied to all aspects of organizational functioning. Make sure that each member of the coalition feels included in creating that description and feels comfortable describing it to others.
  4. Communicate the Vision – The vision should be mentioned as often as possible and in all situations (i.e., formal as well as informal settings) so that individuals remember it and start to support it. It is also important to attend to others’ concerns with the vision or the change in general.
  5. Remove Obstacles – Identify and adjust any aspect of the organization that is misaligned with the vision (e.g., job descriptions, compensation, performance management systems etc.). If certain employees of the organization are resisting the change, talk with them about what can be done to make them more comfortable.
  6. Create Short-Term Wins – It is important that the process of implementing large-scale changes includes short-term goals so that resistant or pessimistic employees can see that the change is working and supporters of the change continue to be motivated. However, ensure that short-term goals are relevant to the change-making process so as to not waste time and money.
  7. Build on the Change – After any small success, determine what was done well and can be refined and encourage employees or bring in outside sources to continuously generate new ideas.
  8. Anchor the Changes in Corporate Culture – Embed the change in the company’s core values, beliefs and assumptions. Consider the values set forth in the vision when hiring and training new employees so that they internalize the values from the start of their time at the organization and recognize the hard work of the key change makers.

Praxie's Online Kotter Change Model Tools & Templates

Kotter’s 8-Step Change Model is often developed as an action plan and then communicated in presentations, spreadsheets, and other strategic documents. Unlike most traditional Change Management Model templates in MS Word, Excel, or PowerPoint, Praxie’s online 8-Step Change Model collaboration tool allows any team or organization to instantly begin working with our web templates and input forms. Get started with our Kotter’s 8-Step Change Model template. 

How to use it: 

  1. Describe each step of your change to help identify issues and strategies for your change management program. 
  2. Write down the strategies you described.  
  3. Create an action plan for defining each step of your change, including engaging your team and other key stakeholders.