Fear, curiosity, exhaustion, loyalty, paranoia, optimism, rage, and revelation--not quite the kind of emotions that are anticipated or discussed when leaders embark on organizational change, but exactly the kind to expect, says Jeanie Daniel Duck in her treatise on the human element of growth. The Change Monster
examines how to effectively plan for, address, and manage the least predictable and perhaps the most important aspect of a successful transformation.
Duck's experience with change has been widespread and varied. During an early career running her own consulting practice and more recent years spent as a senior vice president with the prestigious Boston Consulting Group (BCG), she has guided companies all over the world through the mountains and minefields of mergers, reengineering ventures, and strategic transformation projects. In the process, she has developed and refined her understanding of the five phases of the Change Curve, her own map of the territory of change. The monster in hibernation is the first of those phases, Stagnation, and it's awoken by forceful impetus from on high, through either internally or externally initiated change. Duck discusses both the signs of stagnation and various methods for recognizing the problem--the questions that need to be asked, the analyses that need to be conducted, and the appetite for change that needs to be generated. During the Preparation stage, there are essential tasks for the leaders (achieving alignment and commitment on vision, strategy, and values) that will provoke behavioral-change requirements of all members of the organization, and Duck introduces a BCG tool used to help assess the change bias of any organization. For the Implementation and Determination stages, Duck shares tips on walking the talk, being on the alert for human dynamics that threaten to derail the initiative, and communicating effectively, and offers advice on testing one's assumptions as a leader and staying involved with the process of change at all levels--strategies designed to lead the organization through to the final stage of Fruition. Throughout, Duck refers to the largely positive change experience of a real company, Honeywell Micro Switch, and the less-effective actions of a fictional merger between two pharmaceutical firms.
Duck has also spent time as an artist and teacher, occupations reflected in her understanding of how people cope with both the reality of change and the manner in which it's brought about. Though targeted at the change-management drivers of the business world, The Change Monster is infused with a sense of the effects of change in all areas of life. A sensitive exploration of an often-difficult process. --S. Ketchum
From Publishers Weekly
Although the concept of managing the implementation of major changes in business has existed for at least two decades, Duck contends that senior management often overlooks or underestimates the emotional impact of fundamental changes such as mergers, reengineering and strategic initiatives on employees. While "emotional data" (e.g., fear of job elimination, the sense that senior management doesn't know what it's doing) may not be easy to define, it's as critical to executing strategic change as financial data. In her work as a senior vice-president of the Boston Consulting Group, Duck came to the conclusion that while every company's experience with strategic change is unique, each will go through the same five phases of a model she calls the "change curve" (stagnation, preparation, implementation, determination and fruition). Understanding these components is what makes the difference between success and failure, she contends, offering countless anecdotes to support her claim. She stresses that leaders must help "institutionalize the proclivity for change," which, she maintains, can be "their most important legacy." Eschewing a formal business tone (she assumes her audience knows how to execute strategy), Duck frames her argument well, and even includes elements from her personal life to explain the emotional components of change. While the ultimate responsibility for managing change lies with those with the most authority, her message is pertinent to managers at all levels. Refreshing and to the point, Duck offers corporate leaders uncommon business advice in this evolving age of bricks, clicks and bricks-and-clicks.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.