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NEWS October 2013 / ARGO news Nr. 19

The Effectiveness of Kotter´s Change Model* put to the test As the need for changes in organizations increases in the turbulent and even faster business times of the 21st century, organizations more than ever need to implement change as rapidly and successfully as possible. For years it has been ARGO’s focus of work to help our clients to implement change more effectively and efficiently in their organizations. One of the main models we use in our Leading Change processes is Kotter’s 8-Steps Change Model. Gordana Tačković, an ARGOnaut from Croatia, wanted to explore the effectiveness of Kotter’s approach in practice in her Master´s thesis and to document the direct effect of Kotter’s individual steps on the success of organizational changes.

36% 64% Chart 1: On average, 64% of all change processes successfully to Kotter‘s model. In comparison, only 43% of the reactions can be considered successful. Resolution in detail see chart 2

The goal of the research was either to prove or disprove the following hypotheses: ▶ Organizations as a rule implement changes successfully. ▶ The way of leading these changes affects this success. ▶ Ignoring or skipping steps in the process of Leading Change results in slower and/ or unsuccessful changes. The research was conducted using an online survey with a total of 26 questions related to the general process of Leading Change, but also to the direct effect of using Kotter’s individual steps on the success of one specific change that the organizations implemented. 93 managers from 58 different Croatian companies and 3 Serbian companies, who were involved in implementing changes in their organizations participated in the research.

On the basis of all relevant data gathered, the following can be concluded: ▶

Organizations often fail to successfully implement changes: Only 43% of the respondents say that their organizations implemented successful changes.

The way of leading changes affects their success: Organizations which used Kotter’s 8-Step Change Model implemented changes more efficiently and successfully compared to those that did not use this or any other holistic approach to change.(see chart 2)

When leading changes, managers should definitely use some change management methodology: Not using any integrated change approach or methodology, but only structured planning tools, as well as ignoring or skipping individual predefined steps, results in slower and/or unsuccessful changes. (see also chart 2)

There are many areas for improvement in the process of Leading Change, especially in those steps of the process related to Leadership, more than those related to Management. For instance, research showed that managers as initiators of change succeed in managing the change as a project: They define goals, nominate responsible persons, plan detailed steps and give dates, organize and delegate, and inform about strategy.

Problems occur when managers need to turn from acting as managers to taking up their role as leaders and starting to lead change: Explain to the employees the meaning of the initiating change, so that they can really understand the big picture and its urgency; motivate the employees to join the process of change; constantly communicate and discuss the vision and the strategy of the change at all organizational levels; empower employees to overcome all obstacles to change; lead by example to role model the new behaviors: ensure sustainability. These critical elements of the change process are often very much neglected during the implementation of change and in the end result in unsuccessful change. Following these findings, it is recommended to use some holistic change management methodology, to approach changes in a more planned and systematic manner and to focus especially on the often neglected leadership aspects: changing the mindset in line with the goals of the change is a big part of sustainable success in this undertaking!

*John P. Kotter: Leading Change

The conclusions of the research confirmed that changes are not easy to implement and that more than 50% of the organizations face difficulties in implementing successful changes. Heavy workloads, blindness to shortcomings in company processes, or even managers unaccustomed to the role of leadership, might be some of the reasons.


2. Creating the Guiding Coalition

56 11



5. Empowering Broad-based Action


6. Generating Short-term Wins


7. Never Letting Up







4. Communicating the Vision for Buy-In

8. Incorporating Changes into the Culture

Chart 2 : The chart shows a significant correlation between using Kotter’s steps during the implementation of change and the final success of change. The red bars refer to changes that managers evaluated as unsuccessful, and the blue ones to successful implemented changes. For example, in the first step (establishing a sense of urgency), only in 36% of the changes that were defined as unsuccessful was a sense of urgency established, while in changes that were implemented successfully, a sense of urgency was established in 64% of the cases.


1. Establishing a Sense of Urgency

3. Developing a Change Vision

External consultants can help organizations to structure and plan the change process from a neutral outside perspective, to facilitate the process of involving and empowering the employees, and to enhance the competencies of managers, especially in acting as leaders and coach them in critical phases. Together successful changes can be implemented in a shorter period of time to the benefit of the whole organization.





Using the steps during change in %

October 2013 / ARGO news Nr. 19

The new DREI

Launch party for the new Drei on August 19! ARGO supported Hutchison Drei Austria GmbH regarding aspects of corporate culture throughout the entire merger process. That’s why the ARGOnauts also had a reason to celebrate!



Oliver Bender and Dieter Bernold in a festive mood

New anchorage

First impressions of our new office! We are still in the planning phase. Let us surprise you!

After many years of cooperation, ARGO and Marianne Bauer are now going separate ways. We wish her a lot of success with her new career goals! Her place in seminar organization was taken over by Carina Kreuter in June. Together with our new apprentice, Natalie Moser, she supports the office team around Maria Arzberger in Vienna. In Zagreb, a new ARGOnaut has joined the team: Gordana Tačković supports the three male colleagues and has already presented herself here in the ARGO news with an article on her Master´s thesis. Welcome on board!

facts Changes on board of ARGO ARGO is changing, just as our clients are. We too have to make decisions; some are easy, some hard to take. One decision we had to make was to close our subsidaries in Lviv and Budapest. The main reason in the Ukraine was the fact that the market and political situation did not develop as we had planned; therefore, there was no point in keeping up a standalone subsidiary. We still support our customers there with former ARGOnaut and now network partner, Oleksandr Sakharskyi, but we will not invest further in developing our market there. The same goes for Budapest, but with a second good reason: On September 25, ARGO founded a North American subsidiary in Chicago, USA! ARGO chicago is a joint venture between ARGO Performance & Development and Argo, Inc. (, a management consultancy that delivers operational excellence and performance, and which just happens to have the same name. As our former managing partner in Budapest, Matthew Strauss, who happens to be American, has grabbed the opportunity and gone back to his home country to build up this joint venture.

ARGO chicago will be supporting clients to enhance their peoples`s performance as they undergo strategic, operational and organizational changes. While only just formally founded, ARGO chicago is already in full swing operationally, currently supporting North American clients in rail, food production, chemicals, oil and gas. It gives us the opportunity to offer integrated services with our American partners in Austria as well. Stay tuned for further news from the States! In addition to the international news, there are some changes in our home country as well: In December, ARGO vienna will move its office from Grinzing to Heiligenstädter Straße, near the place where it all started in 1996. We will be happy to give you some details soon, and to be sure, take a look at the pictures in SOCIALS! You can see an outward sign of all these changes right away: We have changed our corporate design, structure of our documents, our webpage, etc. We loved the old CD – but as we keep saying: Make change visible! I hope very much you like this, and I am looking forward to your feedback!



• On November 25 and 26, the Gesellschaft für Prozessmanagement will hold the largest event focusing on state-of-the-art process management in the German-speaking area for the 11th time, at The Stage - Tech Gate Vienna in 1220 Vienna. ARGO will present a best-practice paper on the topic “The human factor in process management – logic versus emotion?” and a specialist seminar on the topic “Examining Leading Change: conflicts, obstacles and other opportunities in change processes”.

Barbara Thoma ARGO Personalentwicklung GmbH Cobenzlgasse 32 • 1190 Vienna tel +43-1-369 77 00 mail:

I am looking forward to your feedback!

ARGO news 19 EN  
ARGO news 19 EN