Leading Change - Book Review

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Book Review
“Leading Change” by John Kotter 1996
Review by Chris Shea

John P. Kotter is internationally known and widely regarded as the foremost speaker on the topics of leadership and change. He is the premier voice on how the best organizations actually achieve successful transformations. The Konosuke Matsushita Professor of Leadership, Emeritus at the Harvard Business School and a graduate of MIT and Harvard, Kotter’s vast experience and knowledge on successful change and leadership have been proven time and time again. The book Leading Change looks at an eight stage process for implementing successful transformations in today’s firms as well as the eight errors that are common to change efforts. The ideas and methods in this book
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To avoid these hazards and capitalize on the opportunities the companies of today need to become stronger competitors. To become the 21st century organization that will succeed some of the transformations needed include reengineering, restructuring, quality programs, mergers and acquisitions and strategic and cultural change. Useful change is often associated with a multi-step process that creates power and motivation significant enough to overwhelm all the sources of inertia and driven by high quality leadership and not just management. Kotter states that the eight steps required to produce successful change are; (1) Establishing a sense of urgency; (2)Creating the guiding coalition; (3) Developing a vision and strategy; (4) Communicating the change vision; (5) Empowering broad-based action; (6) Generating short term wins; (7) Consolidating gains and producing more change; (8) Anchoring new approaches in the culture. Kotter goes on to suggest the first four steps in the process serve to defrost a hardened status quo, steps five to seven introduce new practices and the last phase grounds the change in the corporate culture. It’s important to go through all of the steps in sequence however normally one operates in multiple phases at once. To skip a step or get to far ahead without the establishment of a solid base will almost always lead to problems. There are
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