"The statistics of you seeing them are kind of depressing. The vast majority of large scale change efforts fail. Which means that the probability that you have actually experienced a failure, and your people know that and are pessimistic therefore about trying something again, is very high. I'm often asked what do you do about that. I think the single biggest thing you can do is be honest. Tell them--you failed in the past and are going to do it differently this time." -- John P. Kotter
How do you inspire a team that has failed?
John P. Kotter is internationally known and widely regarded as the foremost speaker on the topics
of Leadership and Change. His is the premier voice on how the best organizations actually achieve
successful transformations. The Konosuke Matsushita Professor of Leadership, Emeritus at the Harvard
Business School and a graduate of MIT and Harvard, Kotter’s vast experience and knowledge on
successful change and leadership have been proven time and again. Most recently, Kotter has been
involved in the creation and co-founding of Kotter International, a leadership organization that helps
Global 5000 company leaders develop the practical skills and implementation methodologies required
to lead change in a complex, large-scale business environment.
When speaking to groups, Kotter draws on the history of recent successes and failures in the business
world. He explores the new rules of leadership and the importance of lifelong learning in the post-
corporate world. Kotter offers the leadership tools necessary to achieve success in a business world
that reinvents itself every day. He continues to speak at Harvard Business School Executive Education
Programs, including the prestigious Advanced Management Program (AMP). These highly competitive
professional seminars were created by Kotter to teach the important steps needed for successful
leadership and change. When John Kotter speaks to an audience he speaks with one and only one goal:
to motivate action that gets better results.
Kotter has authored 18 books, twelve of them bestsellers. His works have been printed in over
150 foreign language editions and total sales exceed three million copies. His latest book, Buy-In,
focuses on the problems associated with getting others engaged and committed to good ideas and
provides solutions for dealing with attacks on your good ideas. His books are in the top 1% of sales on
His book, A Sense of Urgency, focuses on what a true sense of urgency in an organization really is, why
it is becoming an important asset and how it can be created and sustained. Released in September of
2008, Urgency reached #7 on the New York Times bestseller list in early October.
John Kotter’s international bestseller Leading Change—which outlines an actionable eight-step process
for implementing successful transformations—has become the change bible for managers around
the world. Our Iceberg Is Melting, the New York Times bestseller, puts the eight-step process within
an allegory, making it accessible to the broad range of people needed to effect major organizational
John Kotter’s articles in The Harvard Business Review over the past twenty years have sold more reprints
than any of the hundreds of distinguished authors who have written for that publication during the
same time period. Kotter has been on the Harvard Business School faculty since 1972. In 1980, at the
age of 33, he was given tenure and a full professorship, making him one of the youngest people in the
history of the University to be so honored.
The many honors won by Professor Kotter include an Exxon Award for Innovation in Graduate
Business School Curriculum Design, a Johnson, Smith & Knisley Award for New Perspectives in Business
Leadership, and a McKinsey Award for Best Harvard Business Review Article. Professor Kotter's
Leading Change was named the #1 Management Book of the Year by Management General. In 1998,
his Matsushita Leadership won first place in the Financial Times, Booz-Allen Global Business Book
Competition for biography/autobiography. In 2003, a video version of a story from his book The Heart
of Change won a Telly Award. In 2006, Kotter received the prestigious McFeely Award for "outstanding
contributions to leadership and management development." In 2007, his video "Succeeding in a
Changing World" was named best video training product of the year by Training Media Review and also
won a Telly Award.
Professor Kotter and his wife, Nancy, reside in Cambridge, MA