Management is a Journey®

Helping You With the People Side of the Business™

Leading Change (Step 7) – Consolidate Gains and Implement More Change

In This Article

(Click the links below to move easily to sections of this article)
Keeping Your Change Effort Viable
Why Consolidating Gains and Implementing More Change Matters
How to Consolidate Gains and Implement More Change
Conclusion
Video: Consolidating Gains and Implementing More Change
Quiz: Consolidating Gains and Implementing More Change
Leading Change in the Workplace Article Series
Scholarly Citations for this Article
Member Content: Additional Resources

Back to Top

Keeping Your Change Effort Viable

car being repaired in desertHave you ever taken a long trip and passed some unfortunate traveler on the side of the road with a gas can in his hand, a non-responsive vehicle, and unhappy family members in the car? 

This scene is an accurate description of the state of some organizational change efforts.

Like this family trip, many organizational change efforts run out of gas before the organization ever reaches its desired goals. These change efforts lose their momentum because of poor execution. 

Just like the traveler who overestimated how far the family could travel on a tank of gas, senior leadership overestimates how far the change effort can proceed on the successful implementation of a few short term wins.

To avoid this fate, you and your guiding coalition must consolidate the gains from earlier short term wins and implement more change. You have to reinforce the momentum for your change effort.

To prevent the organization from going back to the old ways of things, you must have continuing progress with your change effort. Click To Tweet

Back to Top

Why Consolidating Gains and Implementing More Change Matters

The word "why" and question marks repeating on a blue backgroundThis seventh step of John Kotter’s Eight Step Leading Change Model* prevents your organization from sliding back into its old way of doing things.

It continues the momentum for change and counters any continuing resistance to change

You maintain the momentum for change by using the success of Step 6, generate short term wins, as a means to implement larger change efforts in Step 7.

At this stage, the temptation on you to step back and be less engaged in your change effort can be great. This can occur when you believe that your previous efforts to this point are enough to sustain the momentum of your change effort.

You should resist this temptation!

Here’s why you can’t afford to step back from active sponsorship of your change effort:

  • Over time, organizations develop many processes, internal connections, and inter-departmental procedures (or inter-dependencies, as John calls them).
  • At some point, there was likely a legitimate reason for all of these inter-dependencies.
  • With time however, some inter-dependencies are no longer necessary and as they currently exist they represent real obstacles to any change effort as they support the status quo.

For this reason, you and your guiding coalition must keep up the momentum for change. To do this, you’ll need patience. You and your guiding coalition will have to  help other critical organizational stakeholders understand that the time for these inter-dependencies has passed.

Organizational resistance to change is a reality for any significant effort.  Some important stakeholders will resist the change you seek through each of the various steps. Some may even do this no matter how well you communicate and implement your change effort.

This is particularly true if you lead a large organization where effecting change is complex and more time consuming. 

However, even if you lead a smaller organization, resistance from a few stakeholders who are invested in the status quo can be just as fierce as it is in larger organizations. Over the years, I have seen both forms of fierce resistance to change.

The following quote from John’s book, Leading Change, discusses the certainty of some form of continuing resistance for significant change efforts:

Resistance to change never fully dissipates. Even if you’re successful in the early stages of a transformation, you often don’t win over the self centered manager who is appalled when a reorganization encroaches on his turf, or the narrowly focused engineer who can’t fathom why you want to spend so much time worrying about customers, or the stone-hearted finance executive who thinks empowering employees is ridiculous.

This quote from John is a reality check on the difficulty of organizational change. Resistance to change may go underground because of your continuing active involvement, but it generally never completely disappears. 

It is ready to surface if an opportunity arises. 

For this reason, successfully consolidating gains and implementing more change is a powerful strategy to counter irrational and political resistance.

Some people will resist your change effort no matter how well you communicate and implement it. Click To Tweet

Back to Top

How to Consolidate Gains and Implement More Change

the word "how" shown on a white backgroundYour involvement is just as critical in Step 7 of Kotter’s Change Model as it was in the earlier steps. 

Through your communication and actions, you can maintain a high urgency level for your change effort.

Using your organizational power, your role is to sponsor the removal of unnecessary inter-dependencies and to communicate why the past way of doing certain things in the organization is no longer viable for the future. 

Your partner in this effort continues to be your guiding coalition. They in turn will have to work with other managers in the organization to identify and remove unnecessary inter-dependencies. The gains they make will further validate the legitimacy of your change effort and help to counter organizational resistance.

Finally, be prepared to allocate additional resources to your change effort as the changes you’ll want to make are not low hanging fruit. (You likely already picked this fruit with your short term wins.)

You, your guiding coalition, other managers, and key stakeholders are now addressing more entrenched areas of the organization. Changing your current operational policies and processes in these areas will require more work.

When leaders fail to identify and remove the barriers that exist in an organization's current policies and processes, change becomes unsustainable. Click To Tweet

Back to Top

Conclusion

the words "the end" are written on a chalk boardAgain, at Step 7, you must resist the temptation to focus on other priorities in the organization or even slow down the change effort. 

Instead, working with your guiding coalition, you consolidate the gains from your short term wins, remove unnecessary inter-dependencies, and implement larger change in the organization.

The continuing success of the change effort from a successful implementation of Step 7 is a powerful force against organizational complacency and organizational resistance. After all it is hard to argue with success!

Organizations fail when they let up before the change effort is completed!

Don't get too comfortable with your first successes with your change effort. Your organization can easily go back to its old way of doing things. Click To Tweet

Back to Top

Video: Consolidating Gains and Implementing More Change


Back to Top

Quiz: Consolidating Gains and Implementing More Change


Back to Top

Leading Change in the Workplace Article Series


Back to Top

 

Scholarly Citations for this Article

This article from Management is a Journey has been cited in the following scholarly research articles:


Back to Top

Member Content: Additional Resources


Just because something was useful in the past does not mean that it is still useful. Effective change leaders know what's worth keeping and what's worth leaving behind. Click To Tweet

 

Written by Robert Tanner | Copyrighted Material | All Rights Reserved Worldwide

Robert Tanner, MBA

Welcome to my leadership blog. I'm the Founder & Principal Consultant of Business Consulting Solutions LLC, a certified practitioner of psychometric assessments, and a former Adjunct Professor of Management. As a leadership professional, I bring 20+ years of real world experience at all levels of management.

Expert Interview

Wall Street Journal

Expert Presenter

Association of Talent Development

Expert Interview

Society for Human Resource Management

MANAGEMENT DEVELOPMENT

READY to take the next step in your success as a manager?

Become a Management is a Journey® Patron and gain access to premium membership content to help you succeed with the people side of the business.

(NEW content added monthly)

Bronze Tier Membership

$5.00 monthly (17¢ per day)

BENEFITS

  • Patron-only articles
  • Patron-only audio
  • Patron-only videos

BONUS

  • Special Report: Managing Generation Y (Millennials)
  • Access to premium leadership blog content

Silver Tier Membership

$10.00 monthly (33¢ per day)

BENEFITS

  • Minibooks
  • Tools
  • Patron-only articles
  • Patron-only audio
  • Patron-only videos

BONUSES

  • Special Report: 9 Steps to a Motivated Workforce
  • Infographic Cheatsheet Questionnaire: Is Your Organization Ready for Change?
  • Special Report: Managing Generation Y (Millennials)
  • Special Report: Managing Baby Boomers
  • Access to premium leadership blog content

Gold Tier Membership

$15.00 monthly (50¢ per day)

BENEFITS

  • Lessons
  • Minibooks
  • Tools
  • Patron-only articles
  • Patron-only audio
  • Patron-only videos

BONUSES

  • Special Report: 30 Low & No Cost Ways to Reward Your Employees
  • Special Report: 5 Strategies to Build Support for Organizational Change
  • Special Report: 9 Steps to a Motivated Workforce
  • Infographic Cheatsheet Questionnaire: Is Your Organization Ready for Change?
  • Special Report: Managing Generation X
  • Special Report: Managing Generation Y (Millennials)
  • Special Report: Managing Baby Boomers
  • Access to premium leadership blog content