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Transition: Momentum and persistent reinforcement displace contentment

The Colorado Avalanche hockey team seemed to be destined for another Stanley Cup in 2003. The team signed several talented players and earned enough wins during the regular season to gain some home ice advantage in the playoffs. Success continued in the post season playoffs toward the championship series. The Avalanche won three straight games against newcomer Minnesota Wild in a seven game series, needing only one more win to take the series and advance. Avalanche fans suffered a devastating letdown after the Wild won the next four games and defeated the Avalanche in a shocking upset. The apparent success followed by stunning defeat for this hockey team is similar in nature to an organizational phenomenon of complacency to a future vision because of past success. The core concept in stage seven (making change stick) of the multistage transition process outlined by John Kotter is the ability to continue cycles of change and not letting up until the vision is a reality. (Kotter, 1996)

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