Leading Change by John P. Kotter
Book review by Pat Naughtin Harvard-Professor John P. Kotter has been observing the process of change for 30 years. He believes that there are critical differences between change efforts that have been successful, and change efforts that have failed. What interests him is why some people are able to get their organizations to change dramatically — while most do not. John P. Kotter writes: Over the past decade, I have watched more than a hundred companies try to remake themselves into significantly better competitors. They have included large organizations (Ford) and small ones (Landmark Communications), companies based in United States (General Motors) and elsewhere (British Airways), corporations that were on their knees (Eastern Airlines), and companies that were earning good money (Bristol-Myers Squibb). Their efforts have gone under many banners: total quality management, reengineering, right-sizing, restructuring, cultural change, and turnaround. But in almost every case the basic goal has been the same: to make fundamental changes in how business is conducted in order to help cope with a new, more challenging market environment. A few of these corporate change efforts have been very successful. A few have been utter failures. Most fall somewhere in between, with a distinct tilt toward the lower end of the scale. The lessons that can be drawn are interesting and will probably be relevant to even more organizations in the increasingly competitive business environment of the coming decade. Kotter developed a list of factors that he believes lead to successful changes, and those that lead to failure. He has devised an 8 step method where the first four steps focus on de-freezing the organization, the next three steps make the change happen, and the last step re-freezes the organization with a new culture. When people need to make big changes significantly and effectively, he says that this goes best if the 8 steps happen in...
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