Modernization and Adopting Change

Anchor Change in Your Organization's Culture

Posted by Chris Barlow on Jul 9, 2019 2:18:47 PM

Stage 8 of the 8-Stage Process of Transformation

Transformation Across the Organization

Part of our Series on Leading & Adopting Change

Finally, we come to the final stage of the 8-stage process of transformation, a proven method created by John Kotter to help organizations effectively change.

In summary, the goals of Stages 1-7 are to create a new vision, recruit a leadership team and generate new behaviors – all of which lead to gradual transformation across the organization. The goal of Stage 8 is to firmly ground these changes in the organization’s culture. Stage 8 ensures that these changes are sustained long into the future. Without it, organizations will automatically regress to old patterns and the changes will be lost!

Regardless of how intelligent and competent an executive team is, if no one teaches them about organizational culture and its powerful influence on behavior, it’s natural for executives to allow a major transformation effort to regress.

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Topics: change management

Consolidating Gains To Produce More Change

Posted by Chris Barlow on Jun 21, 2019 3:01:17 PM

Stage 7 of the 8-Stage Process of Transformation

Transformation Across the Organization

Part of our Series on Leading & Adopting Change

As we shared in the previous article, short-term wins are vital for the success of a long-term transformation effort. After each victory, it’s important to celebrate the hard work your team has done, yet at the same time, to use that energy to start the next project. Beware of big celebrations, which spread the message “We’ve done it! Everyone can relax now,” because as soon as people begin to believe they have arrived, complacency can begin to creep in, and urgency is lost.

Major transformations take a long time, and there are several factors that can slow down or stall this process:

  • Exhaustion
  • Turnover of key leaders
  • Celebrations that communicate “the task is done”

In a very short time, years of work can be undone. Instead, during Stage 7 of transformation, leaders must do 3 things:

  • Relentlessly use small successes to renew urgency (remind everyone of the ultimate goal)
  • Sustain acceleration or even gain momentum (use energy from wins to start new projects)
  • Increase credibility (communicate how these short-term wins validate the overall change effort)
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Topics: change management

Generating Short-term Wins

Posted by Chris Barlow on Jun 11, 2019 2:32:58 PM

Stage 6 of the 8-Stage Process of Transformation

Shor-term wins aren't short-term gimmicks

Part of our Series on Leading & Adopting Change

The primary purpose of the first 6 stages of the transformation process, as developed by John Kotter, is to build up enough momentum to break through the dysfunctional barriers that prevent organizations from change.

When we ignore any of these stages, we put the entire effort at risk. Especially in Government, the process is tenuous and time consuming – it usually takes years to complete. Stage 6 is, in part, a culmination of Stages 1-5, taking all the work together to start making small, measurable changes to the organization.

If you initiate a transformation effort for your Agency, from the beginning you will get a few zealous believers in your vision, who will be willing to stay the course no matter how long it takes. For everyone else, however, the effort will need to provide measurable performance improvements along the way, showing that the effort is moving your organization in the right direction.

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Topics: change management

Empowering a Base of Supporters

Posted by Chris Barlow on Jun 5, 2019 10:30:16 AM

Stage 5 of the 8-Stage Process of Transformation

Empowering a Broad Base of Supporters

Part of our Series on Leading & Adopting Change

A major transformation effort cannot succeed without broad support, in attitude and in action, across your organization. In order to get this support, people need to be inspired by the vision and empowered by leadership – in this case, “empowered” means that employees feel capable of helping, that their help is needed, and that organization structures, systems, and supervisors are also in alignment with the vision.

Stages 1-4 of a transformation effort are:

  1. Establish urgency for change,
  2. Build a guiding coalition,
  3. Develop a vision for change, and
  4. Communicate that change vision.

These four stages can inspire people to support the transformation effort, but there are numerous obstacles that can still block them from having the power to do so.

In this article, we summarize Stage 5 of John Kotter’s Leading Change, sharing how leadership can remove these obstacles and enable the people in their organization to give vital support needed for success.


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Topics: change management

Communicating Your Vision For Change

Posted by Chris Barlow on May 29, 2019 10:57:43 AM

Stage 4 of the 8-Stage Process of Transformation

Communicating the Change Vision

Part of our Series on Leading & Adopting Change

What good does a powerful vision do if no one hears, understands, or supports it?

A great vision can accomplish goals even if it’s only understood by your key leaders, but real transformation happens when that vision sinks deeply into the minds and hearts of most of the people in your organization.

In this series on leading and adopting change, we’re summarizing the book by John Kotter, Leading Change, chapter by chapter. Our goal is to inspire and equip you to bring about lasting change in your Agency – whether that’s successfully navigating a modernization initiative, becoming a leader in innovation, or fundamentally changing how fast or effectively your organization can solve problems.

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Topics: change management

Develop a Strategic Vision

Posted by Chris Barlow on May 21, 2019 4:20:25 PM

Stage 3 of the 8-Stage Process of Transformation

Develop a Strategic Vision

Part of our Series on Leading & Adopting Change

Successful transformations are not built upon fear of an organization’s future, a charismatic leader, or perfectly made plans. They are built on a vision that inspires people to turn their ideas into reality.

When an organization has established a sense of urgency that something major needs to change, and has formed a coalition to guide that transformation, then it needs to adopt an effective approach to organize each member’s actions around the effort. There are many approaches leadership can take to accomplish this, but here are three common approaches outlined in the book Leading Change by John Kotter.
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Topics: change management

Build a Team to Guide Your Transformation Effort

Posted by Chris Barlow on May 13, 2019 4:06:17 PM

Stage 2 of the 8-Stage Process of Transformation

Build a Guiding Coalition

Part of our Series on Leading & Adopting Change

If you’re a leader desiring to modernize your agency or transform your organization in some other way, you already feel a strong sense of urgency.

Perhaps the first stage of a transformation effort – establish a sense of urgency – is not only something you understand but are actively doing. Whether you have just started this process or are far along, it’s important to consider what will happen when this urgency has spread through your organization.

Generally, there are three methods for guiding a transformation effort:

  1. A single, highly influential leader initiates the effort and through charisma and willpower tries to see it through to completion
  2. A visionary leader (perhaps with the blessing of a C-level executive) initiates a transformation effort, and joins or delegates a small committee to try to see the effort through to completion
  3. A guiding coalition with the right composition of members is empowered to complete the transformation effort

As soon as an organization begins to build a sense of urgency, it’s important as a leader to know how that new energy is going to be wielded. According to John Kotter in his book Leading Change, the most effective wielder of this energy, the one most likely to succeed in a transformation effort, is a guiding coalition. To understand why, let’s compare these three methods.

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Topics: change management

Establish Urgency and Defrost the Status Quo

Posted by Chris Barlow on May 6, 2019 3:16:53 PM

Stage 1 of the 8-Stage Process of Transformation

Establish a Sense of Urgency

Part of our Series on Leading & Adopting Change

Many significant transformation efforts fail in part or entirely, and the Government modernization initiative is no exception. While Agencies who set out to modernize usually manage to upgrade legacy software and/or move from on-premise servers to the cloud, true transformation often falls short.

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Topics: change management

Why Modernization is Difficult

Posted by Chris Barlow on Apr 29, 2019 6:04:54 PM

8 Errors that Stop Transformation Efforts

Part of our Series on Leading & Adopting Change

There are many driving forces behind Government Modernization. This may have as much to do with Agencies’ critical need to address aging technology as the fact that many driving forces are required to keep this huge transformation effort moving forward.

Many resources—including technology, technical know-how, and processes like FedRAMP certification—have been put in place to ensure Agencies have what they need to make a smooth and secure move to a modern IT system. With this much support in place to help Agencies achieve Modernization, why does it feel like the initiative moves forward very slowly?

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Topics: change management

Why Government Agencies Are Seeking Transformation

Posted by Chris Barlow on Apr 22, 2019 10:51:01 AM

Modernizing Legacy Systems and Culture

Part of our Series on Leading & Adopting Change

For the last five + years, all Government Agencies have started seeking transformation.

This transformation has been termed “modernization,” because the main component of the change is for Agencies to replace legacy software and hardware by moving their data, IT, and software from on-premise servers to the cloud.

This modernization initiative is perhaps the largest and most difficult transformation that Agencies have ever had to face. It is one of the most talked-about topics in Government and in the private industries that support Government.

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Topics: change management

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