Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Leading Change
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Showing 1-10 of 11 reviews(2 star). Show all reviews
VINE VOICEon May 30, 2008
John Kotter is a business professor at Harvard University who writes "Leading Change" as a guide to business leaders, helping them to transform their stagnant, ineffective, hierarchical companies into more effective, responsive, team-oriented ones. To help companies and leaders make this transition, he presents eight sequential steps that must be followed in order and done well.

These eight steps are:

1. Establish a sense of urgency (fight complacency)

2. Create a guiding coalition (both influential leaders and effective managers)

3. Develop a widely inspiring vision and strategy for achieving it

4. Communicate the vision, communicate the vision, and communicate the vision even more.

5. Give the employees authority to creatively experiment concerning how to best make the vision a reality

6. Make sure you point out things to celebrate as you make progress toward your goals; it rewards appropriate behavior and, besides, people need to celebrate once in a while.

7. Understand Bowen Family Systems Theory--that when you change one thing, everything else changes with it. Systemic change is difficult work that produces a whole lot of anxiety and unintended consequences.

8. Make sure that, once the changes are made, they become engrained in the new culture of he company; make them "the way we do things around here."

Kotter does get credit for being comprehensive and for being among the first to write a leadership book of this sort (copyright 1996). He appears correct in all of his arguments and this reader has difficulty finding flaws in his eight steps. He appropriately balances task-orientation and relationship-orientation and distinguishes between leading and managing. Furthermore, he is the only author I've come across that understands how Family Systems Theory plays out in an organization undergoing change.

However, the book is outdated. Newer authors like Jim Collins, John Maxwell, and Kouzes & Posner have refined Kotter's ideas and presented them in a more readable, more applicable, and more modern way (again, 1996 copyright).

Kotter limits his ideas and examples to the large, highly structured business world; other authors deliberately address leadership within smaller businesses, schools, non-profits, and other environments. Kotter writes before the internet was widely used; other books keep rapid communication advancements in mind. The obligatory quotes from people I've never heard of who praise the book say over and over again how highly readable Kotter's prose is; I found the prose dry and could cite many examples from this genre which are much more readable.

The ideas Kotter presents are not bad; in fact they're quite good and have blazed the trail for other leadership books. However, "Leading Change" could certainly use an updated edition. Other authors have taken many of Kotter's ideas, refined them, re-worked them, and present them in a manner much more helpful to a wider audience.

I neither recommend this book nor do I contest it. You would do well to read "Leading Change," but you would do better to read some of the authors listed above.
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on June 2, 2009
If you enjoy reading laundry lists, this is for you. I bought the audio version to listen to while communting, finally gave up in self-defense -- I was falling asleep at the wheel. Problems with this are: lack of real-life examples; pedantic, didactic style.

For better and more readable/listenable advice on implementing change, check out: "Good to Great" by Jim Collins; "Execution" by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan; "Who Says Elephants Can't Dance" by Lou Gerstner; "Winning" by Jack Welch.
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on May 20, 2016
I bought the audible version for class. I figured that the audio version would be the same version as the written version. Warning it is not. The audio is simply a summary of the book. It is only 30 minutes long and upon further research there is a different audiobook available on other websites thats the full 6 hours. If you are trying to buy the audio to the book DO NOT BUY THIS AUDIBLE.
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on March 4, 2011
I own almost all of Kotter's books, and for the most part agree with his business philosophy. I was required to purchase this book for a class, and was pretty disappointed to find out that it is almost identical to "A sense of urgency" and "The heart of change". If you already own these books, save yourself the money and don't purchase "Leading Change".
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on January 6, 2016
This is a great book on leadership if you're an old white guy in the 1950s.
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on January 11, 2015
A bit tedious and didn't hold my attention. I struggled through and got one or two helpful tips. Will look for something more suitable for beginners to leadership roles.
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on August 9, 2012
Primitive cartoon type characters participate in outdated and hardly realistic scenarios.
If you set all that within florid, but tiresome language environment you get the feel.

One thing is pointed right, however: managers are seldom leaders;
correction facilities do not inspire creativity.

If you consider this review subjective - it is. Feel free to develop your own opinion.

Thank you for your time.
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on May 8, 2016
Sadly, as a huge fan of his other books, I found Dr. Kotter's latest edition to be mostly redundant.
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on September 23, 2013
Nothing about the book struck me as original. The author didn't come across as an expert, more like someone with an interest just writing a blog.
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on December 17, 2009
Although this book does have pertinent and decent information, the author has no charisma, and I found myself wanting to stop the booking only two chapters in. Yes, the information is useful, but it is presented in a manner which makes it as painful as pulling teeth.
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