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Below is a list of books and articles we have in our libraries. They are listed alphabetically. To see only those books and articles associated with a category, click on the category you are interested in on the right. Those books and articles that we have reviewed have an icon inviting you to read the review.

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A model of change that works

The Heart of Change
By John P. Kotter, Dan S. Cohen
Harvard Business School Press, 2002
189 pages, $27.95

A position that just makes sense

This follow-up to Leading Change (Harvard Business School Press, 1996) in which John P. Kotter described an eight step process for leading effective, large scale change, provides strong and compelling evidence that the process works. From the very first sentences of the book the authors state their position:

“The single most important message of this book is very simple. People change what they do less because they are given analysis that shifts their thinking than because they are shown a truth that influences their feelings” (authors’ emphasis, not ours)

The book models a central theme in Kotter's process

The book, based on 400+ interviews of executives and managers at 100 organizations that implemented change using the eight step process, is chock full of case studies and stories. The book’s structure itself models a central theme of Kotter’s process: helping people see and feel the need for change by showing them examples.

Kotter juxtaposes his see-feel-change theory with what he describes, and we agree, is the typical approach to change which tends to follow a more concrete path: analyzing the need, thinking about what change is necessary and prescribing the change. Kotter gives an important nod to the need for analysis and planning, but clearly places that activity in the support category, not central to what makes successful change.

Lead change, don't dictate it

Our beliefs and experience tell us that Kotter is fundamentally right. The role of leadership in the change process, well and persuasively described in this book, is critical to success of large scale change efforts. The kind of leadership required is not prescriptive, but rather as guide helping people to see the need, feel it’s impact and establishing the environment in which the definition of change comes from those who will make it. Our only, very minor, modification based on our experience is to emphasize analysis and planning more as being a critical part of the change definition process.

This book is a must read for all people affected by the need for change in an organization, but most importantly for the executives who must be far more engaged than “overseeing” the change effort in order for it to be successful.
 

The Heart of Change
By John P. Kotter, Dan S. Cohen
Harvard Business School Press, 2002
189 pages, $27.95


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