John Paul Kotter
Born (1947-02-25) February 25, 1947 (age 75)
Alma materMassachusetts Institute of Technology
Harvard Business School
Occupationauthor, educator, management consultant, scholar
Spouse(s)Nancy Dearman

John Paul Kotter is the Konosuke Matsushita Professor of Leadership, Emeritus, at the Harvard Business School,[1] an author,[2] and the founder of Kotter International, a management consulting firm based in Seattle and Boston.[3] He is a thought leader in business, leadership, and change.[4]


In 2008, he co-founded Kotter International with two others, where he currently serves as Chairman.[5] The business consultancy firm applies Kotter's research on leadership, strategy execution, transformation, and any form of large-scale change.

Since early in his career, Kotter has received numerous awards for his thought leadership in his field from Harvard Business Review, Bloomberg BusinessWeek,[6] Thinkers50,[4] Global Gurus[7] and others.

Personal life

Kotter lives in Boston, Massachusetts with his wife, Nancy Dearman. They have two children.[3]

Written work

Kotter is the author of 21 books, as listed below. 12 of these have been business bestsellers and two of which are overall New York Times bestsellers.[5]

Successful change

See also: Change management § Change models

In Leading Change (1996), and subsequently in The Heart of Change (2002), Kotter describes an eight stage model of successful change in which he seeks to support managers to lead change and to understand how people accept, engage with and maintain successful organisational change. The eight stages or steps include the creation of "a sense of urgency" and the use of "short-term wins".[8]

Short-term wins, within a 6-18 month window, are considered necessary because "[an] organization has to realize some benefits from [a] change effort to maintain stakeholder commitment".[9] Kotter asserts that to be useful or influential, short-term wins need to be "visible and unambiguous" as well as "closely related to the change effort".[10]: 121–2  Arguing against a belief that there is a "trade-off" between wins in the short-term and wins in the long-term, Kotter argues from experience that both are achievable.[10]: 125 


  1. ^ Kotter, John P. "John P. Kotter - Faculty - Harvard Business School". Retrieved 24 August 2014.
  2. ^ "Kotter". Retrieved 3 September 2013.
  3. ^ a b "Professor John P. Kotter". Kotter International. Retrieved 17 September 2013.
  4. ^ a b "Thinkers 50 | Scanning, ranking and sharing the best management ideas in the world". Retrieved 1 January 2015.
  5. ^ a b "Bios - John Kotter". Kotter International. Retrieved 24 August 2014.
  6. ^ "Rating the Management Gurus". Businessweek. 2001-10-14. Retrieved 24 August 2014.
  7. ^ "Management Guru's |". Retrieved 1 January 2015.
  8. ^ Kotter, J., The 8-Step Process for Leading Change, accessed 10 January 2021
  9. ^ Tanner, R., Leading Change (Step 6) – Generate Short-Term Wins, Business Consulting Solutions LLC., updated 11 July 2021, accessed 8 August 2021
  10. ^ a b Kotter, John P. (1996). Leading Change. Harvard Business School Press. ISBN 978-0-87584-747-4.