John Kotter

John Paul Kotter (born 1947) is a professor at the Harvard Business School and author, who is regarded as an authority on leadership and change. In particular, he discusses how the best organizations actually "do" change. (Kotter & Cohen, 2002)


The Heart of Change: Real-Life Stories of How People Change Their Organizations (2002)Edit

Page numbers refer to the 2002 Harvard Business School Press edition, ISBN 1578512549.

  • Changing behavior is less a matter of giving people analysis to influence their thoughts than helping them to see a truth to influence their feelings.
    • Introduction to the 2002 edition, p. 2
  • The heart of change is in the emotions.
    • Introduction to the 2002 edition, p. 2
  • Analytical tools have their limitations in a turbulent world. These tools work best when parameters are known, assumptions are minimal, and the future is not fuzzy.
    • Introduction to the 2002 edition, p. 12
  • Motivation is not a thinking word; it’s a feeling word.
    • Introduction to the 2002 edition, p. 13
  • Budgeting is a math exercise, number crunching. Planning is a logical, linear process. Strategizing requires a great deal of information about customers and competitors, along with conceptual skills. Visioning uses a very different part of the brain than budgeting. As the name implies, it involves trying to see possible futures. It inevitably has both a creative and emotional component (e.g., “How do we feel about the options?”). When you use “orthodox planning” to create a vision, frustration and failure are inevitable.
    • Step 3, p. 68
  • No vision issue today is bigger than the question of efficiency versus some combination of innovation and customer service.
    • Step 3, p. 69
  • Never underestimate the power of a good story.
    • Step 3, p. 80
  • Good communication is not just data transfer. You need to show people something that addresses their anxieties, that accepts their anger, that is credible in a very gut-level sense, and that evokes faith in the vision.
    • Step 4, p. 84
  • Great vision communication usually means heartfelt messages are coming from real human beings.
    • Step 4, p. 95
  • Never underestimate the power of the mind to disempower.
    • Step 5, p. 112
  • Without conviction that you can make change happen, you will not act, even if you see the vision. Your feelings will hold you back.
    • Step 5, p. 115
  • One of the most powerful forms of information is feedback on our own actions.
    • Step 5, p. 116
  • Valued achievements connect to people at a deeper level—and a deeper level can change behavior that is generally very difficult to change.
    • Step 6, p. 130
  • We keep a change in place by helping to create a new, supportive, and sufficiently strong organizational culture.
    • Step 8, p. 161
  • In a change effort, culture comes last, not first.
    • Step 8, p. 175
  • A culture truly changes only when a new way of operating has been shown to succeed over some minimum period of time.
    • Step 8, p. 176
  • We see, we feel, we change.
    • Conclusion to the 2002 edition, p. 179

External linksEdit

Wikipedia has an article about: