Books: “Leading Change” by John P. Kotter


Leading Change by John P. Kotter

Chapter 5, “Developing a Vision and Strategy”

I am sometimes amazed at how many people try to transform organizations using methods that look like the first two scenarios:  authoritarian decree and micromanagement (68).

Vision refers to a picture of the future with some implicit or explicit commentary on why people should strive to create that future (68).

Clarifying the direction of change is important because, more often than not, people disagree on direction, or are confused, or wonder whether significant change is really necessary.  An effective vision and back-up strategies help resolve these issues (69). 

A good vision acknowledges that sacrifices will be necessary but makes clear that these sacrifices will yield particular benefits and personal satisfactions that are far superior to those available today—or tomorrow—without attempting to change (70). 

Characteristics of an Effective Vision (72)

  • Imaginable:  Conveys a picture of what the future will look like.
  • Desirable:  Appeals to the long-term interests of employees, customers, stockholders, and others who have a stake in the enterprise.
  • Feasible:  Comprises realistic, attainable goals.
  • Focused:  Is clear enough to provide guidance in decision making.
  • Flexible:  Is general enough to allow individual initiative and alternative responses in light of changing conditions.
  • Communicable:  Is easy to communicate; can be successfully explained within five minutes. 

 Vision creation is almost always a messy, difficult, and sometimes emotionally charged exercise (79).