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Leading Change, With a New Preface by the Author Hardcover – November 6, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Harvard Business School professor Kotter (A Force for Change) breaks from the mold of M.B.A. jargon-filled texts to produce a truly accessible, clear and visionary guide to the business world's buzzword for the late '90s?change. In this excellent business manual, Kotter emphasizes a comprehensive eight-step framework that can be followed by executives at all levels. Kotter advises those who would implement change to foster a sense of urgency within the organization. "A higher rate of urgency does not imply everpresent panic, anxiety, or fear. It means a state in which complacency is virtually absent." Twenty-first century business change must overcome overmanaged and underled cultures. "Because management deals mostly with the status quo and leadership deals mostly with change, in the next century we are going to have to try to become much more skilled at creating leaders." Kotter also identifies pitfalls to be avoided, like "big egos and snakes" or personalities that can undermine a successful change effort. Kotter convincingly argues for the promotion and recognition of teams rather than individuals. He aptly concludes with an emphasis on lifelong learning. "In an ever changing world, you never learn it all, even if you keep growing into your '90s." Leading Change is a useful tool for everyone from business students preparing to enter the work force to middle and senior executives faced with the widespread transformation in the corporate world. 60,000 first printing; $100,000 ad/promo; dual main selection of the Newbridge Book Club Executive Program; 20-city radio satellite tour.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

After trying an endless array of quick fixes and other panaceas, executives struggling to stay in business in a rapidly changing world are finding it necessary to consider more fundamental reasons for their lack of success. Kotter (The New Rules: A Force for Change, Free Pr., 1995) now offers a practical approach to an organized means of leading, not managing, change. He presents an eight-stage process of change with highly useful examples that show how to go about implementing it. Based on experience with numerous companies, his sound advice gets directly at reasons that organizations fail to change, reasons that concern primarily the leader. This is a solid, substantive work that goes beyond the cliches and the consultant-of-the-month's express down yet another dead-end street. With its clear demonstration of the hard work necessary to lead change, this important work stands with Michael Hammer's latest, Beyond Reengineering (see review above). Highly recommended.?Dale F. Farris, Groves, Tex.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press; 1 edition (November 6, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1422186431
  • ISBN-13: 978-1422186435
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 7 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (315 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,529 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Regarded by many as the authority on leadership and change, John P. Kotter is a New York Times best-selling author, award winning business and management thought leader, business entrepreneur, inspirational speaker and Harvard Professor. His ideas, books, speeches, and company, Kotter International, have helped mobilize people around the world to better lead organizations, and their own lives, in an era of increasingly rapid change.

Professor Kotter's MIT and Harvard education laid the foundation for his life long passion for educating, motivating and helping people. He became a member of the Harvard Business School faculty in 1972. By 1980, at the age of 33, Kotter was given tenure and a full Professorship - the youngest person ever to have received that award at the Business School. Over the past thirty years, his articles in The Harvard Business Review have sold more reprints than any of the hundreds of distinguished authors who have written for that publication during that time period. Most recently, his HBR article "Accelerate!", won the 2012 McKinsey Award for the world's most practical and groundbreaking thinking in the business/management arena. Today, he continues to deliver seminars in Harvard Business School's Executive Education Programs, which are sometimes regarded as life changing by his students.

Kotter has authored 18 books to date - twelve of them bestsellers. His books have reached millions, and have been printed in over 150 foreign language editions. Arguably his most popular book, Our Iceberg is Melting, was released in 2006. This New York Times bestseller helped launch to a large audience the 8-step philosophy behind Kotter International. Written as an allegory, it is a simple, yet unforgettable story about a group of penguins on a melting iceberg and the changes they undertake to survive and thrive amidst an unclear future. This story connects with a broad range of people needed to effect major organizational transformations in an easily understood, clear way. Kotter International aims to do the same. Dr. Kotter is the founder, and Head of Research at Kotter International. Other widely read books include "A Sense of Urgency", "The Heart of Change" and "Leading Change", which Time magazine selected in 2011 as one of the 25 most influential business management books ever written. Professor Kotter is currently working on writing his 19th book.

To supplement his books and expand on his ideas, Kotter has released several videos on his teachings, most of which are accessible to anyone interested in his work via YouTube. His "Succeeding in a Changing World" video was awarded Best Video Training Product of the Year by Training Media Review and also won a Telly Award. His YouTube videos have been watched by hundreds of thousands and continue to be a helpful tool for anyone from students to high-level executives in the business world.

Kotter's research and pursuits in education, business and writing over the past 35 years have earned the respect of his peers, helped transform organizations around the world, touched countless lives, and still inspires others to adopt his methods and spread the word. He continues to work tirelessly to achieve the goal of "millions leading, billions benefiting".

Professor Kotter is a proud father of two and resides in Cambridge, MA with his wife, Nancy Dearman.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

232 of 254 people found the following review helpful By Turgay BUGDACIGIL on October 22, 2000
Format: Hardcover
"Over the past decade," John P. Kotter writes, "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."
In this context, John P. Kotter lists the most general lessons to be learned from both (I) the more successful cases and (II) the critical mistakes as follows:
I. Lessons from the more successful cases:
1. Establishing a sense of urgency
* Examining market and competitive realities
* Identifying and discursing crises, potential crises, or major opportunities
2. Forming a powerful guiding coalition
* Assembling a group with enough power to lead the change effort
* Encouraging the group to work together as a team
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43 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Dane Harison on November 20, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I highly recommend this book for its easy-to-read-and-grasp approach to managing change. The book outlines an eight-stage change process that is intuitive and methodical. Kotter shows a change agent what to look for, what to emphasize, and how to orchestrate and maneuver through any organizational change. I appreciate the book's instructional tone without all the business jargon. As a leadership book, I consider it one of my two must reads (the other is Leadership 2.0).

Here's what's inside "Leading Change":

Part I: The Change Problem and Its Solution

1. Transforming Organizations: Why Firms Fail

2. Successful Change and the Force That Drives It

Part II: The Eight-Stage Process

3. Establishing a Sense of Urgency

4. Creating the Guiding Coalition

5. Developing a Vision and Strategy

6. Communication the Change Vision

7. Empowering Employees for Broad-Based Action

8. Generating Short-Term Wins

9. Consolidating Gains and Producing More Change

10. Anchoring New Approaches in the Culture

Part III: Implications For the Twenty-First Century

11. The Organization of the Future

12. Leadership and Lifelong Learning
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73 of 77 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Gunia VINE VOICE on May 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover
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.
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143 of 160 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 19, 2000
Format: Hardcover
The leaders of some organizations have no idea how to make successful changes, and are likely to waste a lot of resources on unsuccessful efforts. Professor Kotter has done a solid job of outlining the elements that must be addressed, so now your organization will at last know what they should be working on.
On the other hand, if you have not seen this done successfully before, you may need more detailed examples than this book provides or outside facilitators to help you until you have enough experience to go solo. I suspect this book will not be detailed enough by itself to get you where you want to go.
Here's a hint: The Harvard Business Review article by Professor Kotter covers the same material in a much shorter form. You can save time and money by checking this out first before buying the book.
I personally find that measurements are very helpful to create self-stimulation to change, and this book does not pay enough attention in that direction. If you agree that measurements are a useful way to stimulate change, be sure to read The Balanced Scorecard, as well, which will help you understand how to use appropriate measurements to make more successful changes.
If you want to know what changes to make, this book will also not do it for you. I suggest you read Peter Drucker's Management Challenges for the 21st Century and Peter Senge's Fifth Discipline.
Good luck!
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