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96 of 103 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth the time to read...then pass it on.
I will admit to being skeptical when I was first introduced to this book. I had not read the original book, "Leading Change" by John Kotter for the same reason that I was reluctant this time...books that focus on change mangement are generally too dry and formula driven. This book was also driven upon the 8-step process highlighted in the first book...
Published on July 31, 2002 by Bruce V. Culver

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars lots of fluff
This book was one of several used in an MBA course I recently took. I did not find it useful. Lot's of cliches.
Published 8 months ago by ptangler


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96 of 103 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth the time to read...then pass it on., July 31, 2002
I will admit to being skeptical when I was first introduced to this book. I had not read the original book, "Leading Change" by John Kotter for the same reason that I was reluctant this time...books that focus on change mangement are generally too dry and formula driven. This book was also driven upon the 8-step process highlighted in the first book.
However, I was told that the book focused this time more on the behavior changes of people that are needed to make change successful...and from experience, I knew that getting employees to really want to make a change makes all the difference to a successful change effort.
The book uses stories to describe how to educate and motivate others to accept change through the 8-step process. If you just look at the eight steps, they appear dry and built on well-worn cliches. Increase Urgency, Build the Guiding Team, Get the Vision Right, Communicate for Buy-In, Empower Action, Create Short-Term Wins, Don't Let Up, and Make Change Stick. Certainly, anyone that has led change can figure this out.
However, I found the stories to be very practical in describing the concept of See, Feel, Change that is needed by all employees to really embrace the change emotionally and not just logically. They have to want to change their own behaviors, not just for the project, but forever. The story I could relate to the most was "The Boss Goes to Switzerland". I have seen this happen numerous times for others and myself.
This book has practical content that can be referred to over and over again...I will use this book each time a new change initiative gets underway. Recommended for all business leaders.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Let us change, December 4, 2002
This book is the distilled summary of 400 detailed interviews from over 130 companies on the topic of managing change. The common thread across success stories is 1. Change is best done in big leaps than in gradual increments. 2. Change is an EIGHT-STAGE process. 3. The vital challenge at each stage is to bring about change in behavior - not strategy, systems or culture. 4. The "see, feel and change" approach is sustaining than the "analyze, think and change" approach since it influences feelings. The book goes on to explain each of the "eight stages" in detail with relevant case studies or stories narrated in first person. At the end of each chapter there is a small exercise that is recommended done with a team. There is also a crisp summary of what works, what does not work and stories to remember.
It is interesting to see that at the end of the book, it is recommended that to introduce change, it is better not to attempt to change the Culture at the outset. ("A controversial but very important point. In a change effort, culture comes last, not first"). Such an attempt would be futile since culture evolves over a long period. It is the change in behavior through the eight-stage process that is key and cultural change would follow. Each of the eight stages - Increase urgency, build the guiding team, get the vision right, communicate for buy-in, empower action, create short-term wins, don't let up, make change stick- are equally important. There are several examples to reinforce the importance of each stage and also to demonstrate that the lack of attention to any one of these is a prescription for failure.
The "see, feel and change" approach appeals to the heart. Human beings as we are, our hearts will continue to be an indispensable part of our anatomy irrespective of the technological changes and economic compulsions. We would be better off as a society if our hearts guide our decisions and actions affecting human beings. Changes are sweeping across businesses at an increasing pace. This book gives us a winning option - Let us see, let us feel and let us change.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Change Management Book I've Read to Date, February 27, 2006
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I'm now in a "Change Management" role with my work, and decided to read some texts on the subject to further my understanding of the topic. Of those books that I've read, this one has clearly been the most helpful. Kotter articulates the steps of change in a way that connected with me, and made it real with a number of relevant examples. It's not onerous to read (<200 pages) but equally isn't "lightweight." While I would never recommend reading only a single book on the topic, I would definitely recommend that this be one of the books you read!
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Change Management - an Oxymoron?, May 3, 2003
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In this book Kotter explains how people change less because they are given analysis and facts about why change is needed and more because we show them a truth that influences their feelings. This concept is not adopted by all those writing on change management. Yet it is a concept that does fit with my experience. Unless the facts, figures, and general information presented by those wanting to effect change is compelling enough to generate the feelings that change is a requirement, then change will not happen. Kotter puts it this way: See, Feel, Change. So the information and analysis must be geared toward the "seeing," and the "feeling" in order to prompt people to change. If we do not actively pursue the task of driving necessary change, change management becomes an oxymoron - change forced upon us becomes chaos and we do not manage the change, it manages us.
One of the things I enjoyed most about reading this book was the clear and logical layout with the interesting web-page navigation graphics. Also the case studies from "real life" gave practical examples of what successful change might look like in our companies. His eight steps to successful change are: 1. Increase Urgency, 2. Build the Guiding Team, 3. Get the Vision Right, 4. Communicate for Buy-In, 5. Empower Action, 6. Create Short-Term wins, 7. Don't let up, 8. Make Change Stick.
All of this helps in building a practice of Shaping the Corporate Culture, which is, of course, near and dear to our hearts at dbkAssociates. Many of the insights in this book will be of practical use to us and to our clients.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Exhaustive Expose on the Nature of Change, July 20, 2002
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J. M. Gorman (Melrose, MA United States) - See all my reviews
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The authors' professed thesis is the following: "The core of [change] is always about changing the behavior of people." [Found in the book's Preface]
After reading this all-encompassing dissertation however, the seasoned scholar may glean a slightly different message. Perhaps the authors say it best in Chapter 8 when they proclaim that: "To use all of the ideas in this chapter, and to avoid the mistakes, it is essential to understand... In a change effort, culture comes last, not first."
In any event, the authors set forth a multitude of stories to support the crux of their argument. This tact falls in line with their firm belief in a "see-feel-change" process. It is clearly evident that they intended to "practice what they preached" in the book's overall design.
Readers who are thoroughly invested in the creation of change for their organization will probably find this book somewhat "eye-opening." The authors' use of stories is exceptional in their dissemination of an eight-step process. Some may also find this book a bit scholarly in its mission to thoroughly pound each point home.
It's probably fair to say that this book is meant to be either read in its entirety or not at all. Each of the eight steps build off of each other. Despite some seemingly lengthy segments however, the authors' larger message is worth taking in.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the John Kotter how-to-do-it change book with good stories, July 12, 2002
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What I love about this book is how John Kotter identifies in clear-cut steps the learning from each of the chapters and how the chapters track John Kotter's acid-clear eight steps for leading change. The stories he uses as benchmarks are riveting and easy to read. I frequently get asked by my clients to advise them on how to work through change. This is the book that they need to read. It is much like the same style that Jim Collins uses in his new book, Good to Great. These are the two best books for managers this year--without question. You want to keep this book in a handy spot. I will not put it on my book shelf.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Heart of Change, March 30, 2003
As the title indicates it's a "how to" book of real life stories of how people changed their organizations. This is not a quick fix-it remedy book. It has real take-away values and merits applicable not only for the corporate environment but for any organization where people are recognized as the key to success through change. Kotter introduces his book with the premise that people are more willing to change if shown a "truth that will influence their feelings" rather than be bombarded with analytical data that force them to change their thinking. He then introduces his 8-step process which will lead to successful large-scale change. To further validate his viewpoint Kotter includes examples of real stories of individuals(managers, tech people, presidents, etc) who succeeded in bringing about positive change to their companies of course sometimes after much frustration and repeating of certain steps. I strongly recommend this book for those who are "change agents." The book also lists an interactive site for additional tips to one's personal change effort. The book is dynamic and forceful and an excellent resource for those organizations/communities of practice with the vision for the future and a "heart for change."
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just what we needed!, July 14, 2006
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This book hits the "heart" of what many managers miss in planning change initiatives. This helps us remember that change isn't all number and business decisions. It's the people. I was able to immediately apply some of the ideas and resteered a change initiative successfully. Now all of my supervisors are reading and learning.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An examination of "the centrality of emotion" when leading change, November 8, 2007
This book was first published in 2002 and I recently re-read it, curious to know how well John Kotter's core concepts have held up since then. My conclusion? Very well indeed. The Heart of Change is in several respects a sequel to Kotter's previously published classic, Leading Change, in which he observes that "Over the past decade, I have watched more than a hundred companies try to remake themselves into significantly better competitors...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."

Whereas in Leading Change Kotter examines the eight steps people tend to follow to produce new ways of operating, in this volume he and Dan Cohen examine "the core problem people face in all of those steps, and how to successfully deal with the problem." And the central issue is never strategy, structure, culture, or systems. "All these elements, and others, are important. But the core of the matter is always about changing the behavior of people, and behavior change happens in highly successful situations mostly by speaking to people's feelings." (Those who do that effectively have what Daniel Goleman characterizes as "emotional intelligence.") Kotter and Cohen structure this book around the eight steps "because that is how people experience the process. There is a flow in a successful change effort, and the chapters follow that flow."

They duly acknowledge the importance of clear thinking to large-scale change when selecting a strategy, locating information and then determining what to do with it, selecting possibilities for short-term achievements (i.e. picking "low-hanging fruit"), and formulating periodic progress reports. That said, I agree with Kotter and Cohen that effective leaders are sensitive to the emotions that undermine change (e.g. false pride, pessimism, cynicism, insecurity, and fear of the unknown), and they find ways to reduce those feelings.

Effective leaders are also sensitive to the emotions that facilitate change (e.g. faith, trust, optimism, reality-based pride, enthusiasm), and they find ways to nourish and enhance those feelings. Most important of all, effective leaders master the "See-Feel-Change" approach: They help others to recognize a problem or a solution to a problem, then help them to visualize it as concretely as possible, anchored in human terms, so that they will be emotionally committed to the given change initiatives. Kotter and Cohen devote a separate chapter to each of the eight steps, explaining with a series of real-life stories how various people changed their organizations and how others can change theirs. John Kotter and Dan Cohen understand, of course, that change initiatives inevitably encounter resistance. However, they have demonstrated in their book that almost anyone can help give direction to, or energize, at least a part of one the eight steps. "We need more of these people, and there is no reason we cannot have more. We need more people doing what they already do, but better - and there is no reason why that also is not possible." I agree.
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14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Terrific Book, August 2, 2002
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T.R. (California) - See all my reviews
I thought "The Heart of Change" was terrific. John Kotter did a wonderful job building each new chapter on the preceding chapters, thus knitting everything together into a neat picture. Highly recommended. And, in agreement with other reviews I have read on leadership books, I must say that I too recommend that you also read the only book on understanding the philosophy of GOOD leadership, "West Point: Character Leadership Education..." by Remick.
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The Heart of Change: Real-Life Stories of How People Change Their Organizations
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