Leading Change | John Kotter | 208 pages | 1996
Kotter, Konosuke Matsushita Professor of Leadership, Emeritus, at Harvard Business School, offers in this seminal book on organizational change a thesis that strategies for change often fail in corporations because the changes do not alter behavior. He identifies the most common mistakes in effecting change, offering eight steps to overcoming obstacles. The eight-step process consists of establishing a sense of urgency by analyzing competition and identifying potential crises; putting together a powerful team to lead change; creating a vision; communicating the new vision, strategies, and expected behavior; removing obstacles to the change and encouraging risk taking; recognizing and rewarding short-term successes; identifying people who can implement change; and ensuring that the changes become part of the institutional culture for long-term transformation and growth.
Generally considered a must-read for anyone trying to effectuate change in an organization, Kotter’s book feels a little outdated, particularly with its reliance on analyzing exclusively top-down, command-control organizations, which, if we learned anything from Ismail, are going extinct pretty fast.