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Week 9 DQ: Culture and Systems that Support Change

In Chapter 10 of Leading Change, John Kotter explains that he now believes that cultural changes must take place after a major change initiative, to support the changes that have been made.

Do you agree or disagree with Kotter’s view as described above?

I agree with Kotter’s warning companies of “going down the wrong path” by placing “changing the culture” as their first step when implementing major change transformations. However, behavior and attitude change can start at the beginning of the transformation process. These modifications then produce changes in “practices” that help a company make better products or “services at lower costs.” However, the anchoring of a change transformation into a company’s culture comes at the end of the change cycle, not at the beginning. “Anchoring change in a culture Comes last, not first.”

Share an example from your own professional life where you have seen cultural norms support or impede progress.

As a manager selected to be a part of a guiding coalition for Ernst & Young LLP, we built our credibility from “short-term wins” to undertake new and more significant change projects as discussed in previous DQ posts. We built trust throughout the firm, “walked the talk” while humbly supporting with leaderships “spheres of activity” (“long term” goals). We participated in technology training events to identify our individual training needs while developing a training and development program providing employees with a progression path. We aligned vision and values with processes replacing and preventing “old norms and values” from creeping back during the screening process. (Kotter, 2012, p.33, p. 163)

We had two senior management leaders in our group who helped us stay focused, keep “urgency level up” with a clear sense of shared purpose. The change initiative provided leadership project opportunities for all administrative roles in lower staff positions in mailroom staff, office supply staff, and receptionists. There was a lot of buzz about the change initiative that created many “two-way conversations” in the halls, lunchrooms, bathrooms, and coffee areas. (Kotter, 2012, p.92)

The behaviors and attitudes about the change transformation changed over time with carefully thought out solutions that replaced the old way of doing things. It was like word-of-mouth advertising throughout the firm. Most of the employees became excited about the training opportunities because we provided a safe, transparent platform for them to share their ideas, feedback, and concerns leading to a new training and development program that enhanced their careers.

22).” (Brown, 2021)

To prevent the old culture from reasserting itself, the coalition team, with full authorization from upper management, aligned promotion processes to be harmonious with the new practices to prevent ancient cultures from reinserting themselves. The new infrastructure provided a clear path with effective solutions replacing “bad apples” without any surprises. Meaning, we eventually eliminated employees stuck in their old ways of doing things and processes seamlessly. We took the time to “ensure the future generations of management exemplifies the new plan/approach. Leadership support created a level of trust and devotion tied to personal feelings of accomplishment with an ongoing belief in a renewed “sense of urgency” and continuous improvement in place today. (Kotter, 2012, p. 15, p.157)

What actions must leaders take to foster a culture that sustains changes that have been made?

“The “guiding coalition” with the support from “high-quality leadership” to develop a “multistep process” that “creates power and motivation” eliminating “inertia” as “role models” communicating the change vision while avoiding consequence associated with the “eight common errors related to organizational change identified by Kotter. (Kotter, 2012, p.18, p. 22).” (Brown, 2021)


Brown, C. Business Brief, 2021

Kotter, J., Leading Change, 2012

Weeks 1-9 Lectures, Videos, Articles, 2021,

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