Creating a Powerful Guiding Coalition
Leading Change the Kotter Way
Creating a powerful guiding coalition is perhaps the most challenging element of the Kotter model. I’ve written quite a bit here about the Kotter approach to leading change and I am in process of revamping my original Kotter model series. This post deals with that difficult Stage Two; forming a powerful coalition to lead and manage the change. Links to the other stages are in the next paragraph.
After 30 years of research, Dr John Kotter believes that most major change initiatives fail mainly because organisations don’t commit to seeing the change through and don’t take a holistic approach throughout. He has demonstrated that his 8 step process provides the most credible way of delivering and embedding large-scale organisational change. This series of posts will consider his steps in greater detail. we have already reissued; Step One: Creating Urgency, Step Three: Creating a Vision for Change and Step Four: Communicating Your Vision.
His method elaborates and enlarges upon Lewin’s simple Freeze Phase, three stage approach – square, blob, star. The underlying principles are the same.
In a world requiring ultimate flexibility, an organisation’s ability to deal successfully with change is a key ingredient in its overall success.
Step Two – Creating a Powerful Guiding Coalition
No one person, however competent, is capable single-handedly of completing all the tasks required in leading a large organisation through change. The tasks include;
- developing the right vision,
- communicating it to vast numbers of people,
- eliminating all of the obstacles,
- generating short-term wins,
- leading and managing dozens of change projects
- anchoring new approaches deep in an organisation’s culture.
Putting together the right people to lead and manage the change is critical to its success. It needs visible support from key people through-out your organisation. You must find the right people, instil in them a significant level of trust and develop a shared objective.
Those people need to have the right credibility within the organisation. Otherwise things will go limp and the change will simply go to pieces and fritter away. This will leave the organisation weaker than it was before.
Create a team of leaders and managers that can act in concert and make productive decisions. The decisions need to be taken seriously by all the group! Managers in the team will keep the process under control, while leaders drive the change. Some times people can both lead and manage but don’t assume you will find both talents in the same people.
An effective guiding coalition
An effective guiding coalition should have;
- Position Power: Enough key players on board so that those left out cannot block progress.
- Expertise: All relevant points of view should be represented so that informed and intelligent decisions can be made.
- Credibility: The group should be seen and respected by all so that the group’s pronouncements will be taken seriously by others.
- Leadership: The group should have enough proven leaders able to drive the change process.
Creating a powerful guiding coalition means the team needs to develop trust in one another. They need a shared goal so that they can make the needed change happen, despite all of the forces of inertia and resistance they may find.
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
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