- The absence of a major and visible crisis.
- Too many visible resources.
- Low overall performance standards.
- Organizational structures that focus employees on narrow functional goals.
- Internal measurement systems that focus on the wrong performance indexes.
- A lack of sufficient performance feedback from external sources.
- A kill-the-messenger-of-bad-news, low candor, low confrontation culture.
- Human nature, with its capacity for denial, especially if people are already busy or stressed.
- Too much happy talk from senior management.
So now what? Kotter recommends BOLD action. He suggests:
- Link 50% of top executives’ pay to significant quality improvements.
- Find ways to get all the external customer complaints in front of everyone every week.
- Sell the jet and corporate headquarters and move into a building that looks more like a battle command center.
- Set an objective to become #1 or #2 or we are forced to liquidate and shut our doors in 2 years.
- Set your business targets so high they cannot be met doing business as usual.
- Stop measuring sub-unit performance and narrow functional goals.
- Use consultants to help force the honest conversations that need to happen.
- Use company newsletters/communication to provide not only good news, but business reality.
- Bombard people with information on these future opportunities for capitalizing on these opportunities, and on the organization’s inability to do so.
Over-managed and under-led cultures fail to do this according to Kotter.