Communicate Your Vision
Leading Change the Kotter Way
Communicate your vision is the fourth step in the Kotter model. This is part of a series on the Kotter approach to leading change. I am in process of revamping my original Kotter model series. This post is about communicating the vision that you created in the last stage. Links to all the earlier Kotter posts are in the next paragraph. You should be working with a vision that people will be able to understand, get on board with and remember.
The Kotter model is based on research which showed that there are eight critical steps an organisation or service needs to go through to ensure that change happens and sticks. This series of posts will consider these steps in greater detail. We have already reissued; Step One: Creating Urgency and Step Two: Forming a Powerful Coalition and Step Three Creating a Vision for Change.
Step Four: Communicate Your Vision
So you believe you have an overall vision that people will be able to grasp easily and remember. Now you need to get your vision out there to the people who need to understand it. Believe me, how you communicate it, will determine whether your change works, or not.
Your message is likely to have lots of competition. It will have to stand out from all the day-to-day communications within the company. As well as that, if your change is really significant, you can expect the rumour mill to be at work already. It is more likely to be spreading bad news than good. So you need to communicate your vision frequently and powerfully.
But, communicating your vision is not all about words. You and your guiding team need to walk the talk. You need to show that you believe and embed message in everything that you do.
Don’t just call special meetings to communicate your vision. Instead, talk about it every chance you get. The guiding team need to be visible and let people see you as the embodiment of the change you intend to make.
The top team should be using the vision daily to make decisions and solve problems. And so should all those who are actively engaged. Challenge those who do not. Keep the message fresh and on everyone’s minds. Then they will begin to remember your vision and respond to it.
What you do is far more important – and believable – than what you say.
Make sure the whole guiding team demonstrates the kind of behaviour you want from others.
- Talk often about your vision to make it real.
- Be authentic – openly and honestly address peoples’ concerns and anxieties.
- Be prepared to answer questions but when doing so keep your vision in mind.
- Apply your vision to all aspects of operations – from training to performance reviews.
- Tie everything back to the vision.
- Lead and manage by example.
If you would like some help thinking about how you are going to communicate your change and how you reflect your vision in what you do, please get in touch. I’ve been there myself.
Here is a Kotter Reading List for you;
- Leading Change
- Our Iceberg is Melting: Changing and Succeeding Under Any Conditions
- Heart of Change, The: Real-Life Stories of How People Change Their Organizations
- A Sense of Urgency
Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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