Delivering Short-Term Wins

Delivering Short-Term Wins

Leading Change the Kotter Way

Delivering short-term wins is the sixth step in the Kotter model. And nothing delivering short-term winsmotivates and gives people confidence more than success. So, achieving short-term wins gives them a real feeling that success is possible.

This post is  part of a series on the Kotter approach to leading change. I am in process of revamping my original Kotter model series. Links to all the earlier Kotter posts are in the next paragraph. 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 Step Two: Forming a Powerful CoalitionStep Three Creating a Vision for Change Step Four: Communicate Your Vision and Step Five: Handling Resistance.

People resist change because they fear loss. Delivering short-term gains reassures them that the losing something is worthwhile!

Step Six: Creating and Delivering Short-term Wins

Nothing motivates and gives people confidence more than success. So, give your company and your team a taste of victory early in the change process. Within a short time-frame (this could be a month or a year, depending on the type of change), you’ll want to have results that your top team and staff can see. And, without these, critics, negative thinkers and cynics might hurt your progress.

Create short-term targets which build up to your long- term goal rather than just one long-term goal. You want each smaller target to be achievable, with little room for failure. Your change team may have to work very hard to come up with these targets, but each “win” that you produce can further motivate and inspire  the entire organisation.

What you can do:

  • Look for sure-fire projects that you can implement relatively quickly and without help from any strong critics of the change.
  • Don’t choose early targets that are expensive. You want to be able to justify the investment in each project.
  • Thoroughly analyse the potential pros and cons of your targets and make sure you really understand what is required. If you don’t succeed with an early goal, it can hurt your entire change initiative.
  • Reward the people who come up with ideas
  • Reward people who help you meet the targets.
  • Publicise what you have done.
  • Show people how one achievement can lead to the next.

Meanwhile …

Here is a Kotter Reading List for you;

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

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link


4 thoughts on “Delivering Short-Term Wins”

  1. Pingback: WELL ESTABLISHED WAYS TO MANAGE CHANGE – THE KOTTER MODEL – STEP SEVEN:BUILD ON THE CHANGE « Wisewolf Talking – resources for those managing or going through change!
  2. Pingback: WELL ESTABLISHED WAYS TO MANAGE CHANGE – THE KOTTER MODEL – STEP EIGHT:ANCHOR THE CHANGE « Wisewolf Talking – resources for those managing or going through change!
  3. Wonderful post. It reminded me of a quote from Benjamin Franklin: “He that can have patience can have what he will.”

    Patience is a practice I’m not naturally good at, so I appreciate the reminder.

    1. Thanks Wally – I can write it but doing it is something else! We all need to practice! Great quote by the way

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