The Heart of Change: Real-Life Stories of How People Change Their Organizations by John P. Kotter
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
It always seemed to me that "change management" would be a funny field to get into. Since nothing ever stays the same, isn't managing change something that most of us are doing most of the time? We need special consultants for this?
Yet, I find that I am more and more drawn to the subject. One of my favorite LinkedIn groups is called the Organizational Change Practitioners. I get a weekly breakdown of their discussions and always profit by taking the time to read it. These are people who are serious about helping others successfully navigate through the sometimes stormy seas of organizational life these days. It's an honorable and pioneering profession, and its practitioners deserve our thanks.
Change management guru John Kotter is definitely one of my favorite authors and I am always glad to find a book by him that I have not yet read. I've published reviews and summaries of several of his books, and I like it that he is consistent in his discussion of the "eight steps to successful, large-scale change":
1. Increase urgency.
2. Build the guiding coalition.
3. Get the vision right.
4. Communicate for buy-in.
5. Empower action.
6. Create short-term wins.
7. Keep at it.
8. Make change stick.
The Heart of Change sets out to be "real-life stories" of businesses and organizations, mostly clients of Kotter's, successfully moving through the steps and creating lasting, positive change. Throughout, Kotter and his co-author Dan Cohen emphasize the emotional/behavioral aspects of the various stages. This is important. All the research, analysis, and rational case-making in the world won't get people to jump on the bandwagon if it doesn't feel right.
This is a three star book for me because I was disappointed in the amount of new red meat here. Leading Change remains the only book by Kotter an interested change leader needs to read. But for those seeking to more deeply embed the change management process into their own DNA, the material in The Heart of Change is solid and worth reinforcing.
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