In The heart of change, John P. Kotter and Dan S. Cohen (2002) introduce their discussion by analyzing in a brief chapter the reasons why people succeed or fail when they undertake change efforts. The chapter, which repeats the title of the book, also includes an overview of Kotter and Cohen's (2002) eight-step path to a successful change effort.
The authors introduce their text by stating that their message is quite simple and that people change what they do primarily because they are shown a truth that influences their feelings. In other words, they do not change organizational processes, policies, or systems as a consequence of an analytic effort in which their thoughts and knowledge are restructured, but rather as a response to something that touches them emotionally. This concept often leads to change initiatives that fail simply because they have not been developed at the conclusion of a sequential process of identifying what is wrong and needs to be changed, the alternatives for change that are available, the best strategies for bringing about change, and the actual mechanisms which must be activated to ensure that change occurs (Kotter & Cohen, 2002).
Kotter and Cohen (2002) base their text on two sets of interviews involving almost 400 individuals from 130 organizations. They found that feelings rather than thought processes tend to shape virtually all major organizational change efforts. They came to the conclusion that implementing an eight-step process of bringing about a change initiative would focus on rational goals and objects and eliminate many of the vulnerabilities that emerge when the change initiative is underway.
The first step identified by Kotter and Cohen (2002) is the creation of a sense of urgency for a change among relevant people who are vital to the change effort. Secondly, once these actors are motivated and possessed of a sense of urgency, they create a group that possesses the ...