Kotter's Eight-Stage Change Process emphasizes both the individual and collective steps necessary in change. He believes that about 75% of people in management in an organization have to believe change is needed before effective change will occur. Therefore, the first step, creating urgency, is a vital step in creating change. Key people in the organization must create a sense that change is important to the life and survival of the organization.
In step two, forming a coalition, the individual or individuals creating change need to find others, including key stakeholders, who also think change is needed and create a coalition with them. Then, in step three, they must develop a vision for change, and then, in step four, they must communicate their vision and effectively answer any questions people have. The distinguishing characteristics of Kotter's process is that it recognizes all the important steps in creating change and looks at the vital steps that must occur long before change starts. In other words, change does not just happen. Instead, the organization must create the right conditions in which change can be effective.
In step five, the change agents must remove obstacles to change, and, in step six, they must look to achieve short-term wins—that is, relative easy victories that build momentum for change. In step seven, they build on the change, and they then make change part of the culture of the organization in step eight.
Kotter's process emphasizes the psychological change that must occur among individuals and the collective for change to occur in any organization. His model also emphasizes and details the tailored process that change agents, working individually and together, must go through if change is to be successful. His model emphasizes both internal and external changes that must occur if change is going to take place.