Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: HBR's 10 Must Reads on Change Management (including featured article “Leading Change,” by John P. Kotter)
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There are certain things most CEOs will agree on - the speed of change in the world continues to increase therefore increasing the need for internal changes just to stay competitive. Change is damn difficult. You have no choice. Conditions are constantly changing, you must adapt to change. The successful companies - the ones that will survive and thrive will be the ones who can quickly and efficiently adapt to changing conditions. If you want to be successful, learn to manage change.

Unfortunately most change initiatives achieve mediocre results. If you want to improve the odds, this is a good place to start. On Change will help you understand why so many change initiatives are less successful than hoped for.

On Change is one of the HBR'S 10 Must Read Series. It is a collection of 10 articles dealing with change. In each article there is a sidebar "Idea in Brief" which gives a thumbnail sketch of the article and a sidebar "Idea in Practice" which recaps how to implement the idea contained in that article. While these are excellent reference material, they should not be used in lieu of reading the entire articles.

To be honest, some articles are better than others - at least some resonated with me more than others. But they all contain excellent insights on what makes for successful change efforts and what can derail your change efforts.

There were three articles that stood out the most. "Leading Change" by John Kotter was the first. Here he points out the major errors which leaders make when instituting change efforts. There were a couple of points which really were worth noting: "There seems to an almost universal tendency to shoot the bearer of bad news ..." , "Nothing undermines change more than behavior by important individuals that is inconsistent with their words." And "Without short-term wins, too many people give up or actively join the ranks of those people who have been resisting change."

The second article which I found highly valuable was "A Survival Guide For Leaders" by Ronald Heifetz and Marty Linsky. As the authors point out, "To lead is to live dangerously" People are resistant to change and therefore the change leader often becomes the lightening rod. "As you seek input from a broad range of people, you'll constantly need to be aware of their hidden agendas." And "A grandiose sense of self-importance often leads to self-deception." Therefore you need a confidant ... someone you can talk to openly and honestly.

The third article which offered a real insight was "The Real Reason People Won't Change" by Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey. Here the authors advance a theory about competing commitments. This is a very interesting and insightful study into why people voice their support but fail to follow through in their actions. The competing commitments are generally hidden - operating at the subconscious level. The authors give a series of questions which will help you uncover and resolve the competing commitments. These competing commitments are generally some version of self-protection and at the root you will find some long held beliefs or assumptions about how the world works. A really insightful article.

Collectively all the articles are great and will certainly improve the success rate of your change efforts. Read this book, learn the lessons and keep it handy and refer to it often. It will certainly tip the odds of success in your favor.
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This volume is one of several in a new series of anthologies of articles that initially appeared in the Harvard Business Review, in this instance from 1960 until 2006. Remarkably, none seems dated; on the contrary, if anything, all seem more relevant now than ever before as their authors discuss what are (literally) essential dimensions of organizational and/or individual change.

More specifically, why transformation efforts fail (John P. Kotter), how to achieve change through persuasion (David A. Garvin and Michael A. Roberto), what can be learned from an interview of Samuel J. Palmisano about leading change when business is good, why radical change can be "the quiet way" (Barbara E. Meyerson), what "tipping point leadership is and does" (W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne), what a survival guide for leaders should provide (Ronald A. Heifetz and Marty Linsky), the real reason people won't change (Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey), how to crack "the code of change" (Michael Berr and Nitin Nohria), the hard side of change management (Harold L. Sirkin, Perry Keenan, and Alan Jackson), and why change programs don't produce change (Michael Beer, Russell A. Eisenstat, and Bert Spector).

Each article includes two invaluable reader-friendly devices, "Idea in Brief" and "Idea in Practice" sections, that facilitate, indeed expedite review of key points. Some articles also include brief commentaries on even more specific subjects such as "Dysfunctional Routines" (Pages 238-29), "Tempered Radicals as Everyday Leaders" (Page 64), "Adaptive Versus Technical Change: Whose Problem Is It?" (Paged 105), "Getting Groups to Change" (Pages 124-125), "Big Assumptions: How Our Perceptions Shape Our Reality" (Pages 132-133), "Calculating DICE [duration, integrity, commitment, and effort] Scores" (Pages 166-168) and "Tracking Corporate Change" (Pages 183-184).

These ten articles do not - because they obviously cannot - explain everything that one knows to know and understand about formulating and then executing an effective strategy. However, I do not know of another single source at this price (currently $14.41 from Amazon) that provides more and better information, insights, and advice that will help leaders to achieve success in the business dimensions explained so well by the authors of the articles in this volume.

This volume is one of several in a new series of anthologies of articles that initially appeared in the Harvard Business Review, in this instance from 1960 until 2006. Remarkably, none seems dated; on the contrary, if anything, all seem more relevant now than ever before as their authors discuss what are (literally) essential dimensions of organizational and/or individual change.

More specifically, why transformation efforts fail (John P. Kotter), how to achieve change through persuasion (David A. Garvin and Michael A. Roberto), what can be learned from an interview of Samuel J. Palmisano about leading change when business is good, why radical change can be "the quiet way" (Barbara E. Meyerson), what "tipping point leadership is and does" (W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne), what a survival guide for leaders should provide (Ronald A. Heifetz and Marty Linsky), the real reason people won't change (Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey), how to crack "the code of change" (Michael Berr and Nitin Nohria), the hard side of change management (Harold L. Sirkin, Perry Keenan, and Alan Jackson), and why change programs don't produce change (Michael Beer, Russell A. Eisenstat, and Bert Spector).

These ten articles do not - because they obviously cannot - explain everything that one knows to know and understand about formulating and then executing an effective strategy. However, I do not know of another single source at this price (currently $14.41 from Amazon) that provides more and better information, insights, and advice that will help leaders to achieve success in the business dimensions explained so well by the authors of the articles in this volume.
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on May 12, 2012
This book was recommended to me by a friend who has had a successful career as a change management consultant, after working for IBM for years. There is an almost identical book which has a Chinese painting on the cover and contains 8 of the 10 articles in this book. Make sure you don't order both! This is a great read for anybody interested in formulating a structured approach to implementing change.
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on April 28, 2014
Here we have HBR re-purposing Harvard Business Review articles on change. Virtually all were written by experienced and respected academics. While I found some of the articles a little dry and most had an academic orientation, I found the book quite useful.

I trust senior executives will also find it helpful (along with Leverage authored by John Childress). HBR's On Change Management has more theoretical leanings while Leverage has more of a practitioner's point-of-view. Both books compliment each other.

John Kotter's article is a classic. His work in the field of 'change' has proved ground-breaking. Michael Beer's article 'Why Change Programs Don't Produce Change' is excellent. I concur whole heartedly with Beer's conclusion about putting 'focused energy on the work itself' as opposed to relying so much on systems and structure as the lever for change.

Overall, an important book for those charged with oversight responsibilities in successfully implementing organizational change.

Bill Wiersma, Author--The Power of Professionalism
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on January 21, 2013
I found HBR's 'On Change Management' to have some great nuggets of information. I particularly liked Kotter's chapter describing why transformations typically fail, as well as Sirkin, Keenan, and Jackson's article about the hard side of change management. In addition, almost all of the other articles contained valuable points that I made sure to jot down. Despite that, the book felt surprisingly flat. After the third or fourth article, I started getting a depressing sense of deja vu. It may be that HBR requires a standard format for their magazine; but after a while, there is this sense of bland sameness. Despite that criticism, I felt the book well worth the money and provides excellent insights.
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on June 20, 2011
The insights in this collection of essays was defintely on the "Harvard Level". If you are looking to understand corporate change from a number of different angles, this is the book for you.
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on March 16, 2016
I used this as text for a graduate level course. Very helpful to have all change resources in one document. I bought the kindle version but wish I had purchased the text...it would be easier to reference.
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on September 14, 2013
I have come to appreciate HBR's approach to concise, research-based articles. I am working on an applied research project relating to managing major organizational transitions and there is plenty of great information in this collection.

This is very readable whether you are doing research or just looking to refresh some basic change strategies.
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on May 5, 2016
I reside in the Bahamas and always a bit skeptical about ordering from abroad and using a freight forwarder. But this experience was seamless and the product was exactly as described and what I expected. I am happy with my purchase. I would recommend this seller!
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on March 9, 2016
As all of the books of the HBR's 10 Must Read, this book is an excellent collection of strategic articles of the Change Management, full of practical examples and cases. A real Must Read! So, read it! Recommended to every manager unhappy with the current situation and results of his/her organization and team.
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