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The Heart of Change: Real-Life Stories of How People Change Their Organizations
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The Heart of Change is the follow-up to John Kotter's enormously popular book Leading Change, in which he outlines a framework for implementing change that sidesteps many of the pitfalls common to organizations looking to turn themselves around. The essence of Kotter's message is this: the reason so many change initiatives fail is that they rely too much on "data gathering, analysis, report writing, and presentations" instead of a more creative approach aimed at grabbing the "feelings that motivate useful action." In The Heart of Change, Kotter, with the help of Dan Cohen, a partner at Deloitte Consulting, shows how his eight-step approach has worked at over 100 organizations. In just about every case, change happened because the players were led to "see" and "feel" the change. In one example, a sales representative underscores a sense of urgency to change a manufacturing process by showing a videotaped interview with an unhappy customer; in another, a purchasing manager makes his point to senior management about corporate waste by displaying on the company's boardroom table the 424 different kinds of gloves that the company had procured through different vendors at vastly different prices. Well written and loaded with real-life examples and practical advice, The Heart of Change towers over other change-management titles. Managers and employees at organizations both big and small will find much to draw from. Highly recommended. --Harry C. Edwards

John Kotter's international bestseller Leading Change struck a powerful chord with legions of managers everywhere. It acknowledged the cynicism, pain, and fear they faced in implementing large-scale change-but also armed them with an eight-step plan of action for leaping boldly forward in a turbulent world.

Now, Kotter and coauthor Dan S. Cohen delve deeper into the subject of change to get to the heart of how change actually happens. Through compelling, real-life stories from people in the trenches, in all kinds of organizations, the authors attack the fundamental problem that underlies every major transformation: How do you go beyond simply getting your message across to truly changing people's behavior?

Based on interviews within over 100 organizations in the midst of large-scale change, The Heart of Change delivers the simple yet provocative answer to this question, forever altering the way organizations and individuals approach change. While most companies believe change happens by making people think differently, Kotter and Cohen say the key lies in making them feel differently. They introduce a new dynamic-"see-feel-change"-that fuels action by showing people potent reasons for change that spark their emotions.

Organized around the revolutionary eight-step change process introduced in Leading Change, this story-driven book shows how the best change leaders use not just reports or analysis, but gloves, video cameras, airplanes, office design, and other concrete elements to impel people toward positive action. The authors reveal how this appeal to the heart-over the mind-motivates people to overcome even daunting obstacles to change and produce breathtaking results.

For individuals in every walk of life and companies in every stage of change, this compact, no-nonsense book captures the heart-and the how-of successful change.

Customer Reviews:

  • Okay, but...
    This book is okay for the novice. But, it is simply more of the same "theory." For "tools" for chance I would recommend Beitler's "Strategic Organizational Change." Kotter's "Leading Change" is a good introduction, but managers need the tools, checklists, and insights found in the Beitler book....more info
  • Not as useful as "Leading Change" by Kotter
    Full of anecdotes about how the principles in "Leading Change" were implemented, I found this less helpful than that book in implementing a culture change. None of the scenarios were close enough to our organization to make a meaningful impact on the management team. A good read though, illustrating Kotter's excellent roadmap to change. ...more info
  • Show, don't tell
    If you've ever felt like you're not powerful enough to make needed changes in your organization, this book has a powerful message for you: Approach change in the right way and you'll make things happen.

    Filled with real-life stories, this book offers lots of inspiration. Perhaps the strongest anecdote is the story of an executive presentation made by a mid-level manager and an intern about revamping a wasteful purchasing process. Instead of cranking out a fancy report, the manager and intern filled a box of 424 different pairs of gloves (with attached price tags ranging from $5-$17) that the company was buying. Then they dumped the box on the boardroom table, clearly making a point that this process needed to be fixed.

    The moral: Communicate change by appealing to emotions. And often, emotions are stirred by showing people, not just telling them.

    A solid read....more info

  • Good book, plus...
    This is a good book. But, I also recommend "Strategic Organizational Change" by Beitler....more info
  • Addresses an Often Forgotten Part of Management Studies---People!
    In this age of data, management is still about people. This book hits that aspect square on the head. It provides a realistic 8 step process for managing change filled with examples that bring the steps to life. The book is primarily written for managers of change, but the concepts can be useful to anyone at any level of an organization that's in a state of change. (And what organizations aren't?) It can be a bit dry at times, but the stories spice it up and make it bearable. Overall excellent content....more info
  • Change Management
    This is a must read for any executive facing a large initiative requiring changing the way people do their jobs. Book provides application instead of theories found in most texts....more info
  • very good read
    real experiences for our daily life at work and looking to the future!...more info
  • Change Management - an Oxymoron?
    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....more info

  • Just in Time
    I read[[ASIN:0875847471 Leading Change] Change by Kotter first. This follow on is a great compliment to the first book. By using examples of the eight-step process, the authors drive home those principles. My organization is in the midst of a large change process, and I am able to identify those who are the guiding coalition and raise my own visibility by aiding them. I am also able to give useful suggestions and identify the change blockers who endanger the process, and therby, the organization. ...more info
  • Best Change Management Book I've Read to Date
    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!
    ...more info
  • A Practical Guide to Leading Change
    Organizational change is a very difficult endeavor. In John Kotter's book The Heart of Change, he explains in detail using real life stories the steps needed to bring about long term meaningful change.

    In his first book Leading Change, he described eight steps people followed to produce new ways of operating. These were sequential steps that organizations utilized as they progressed through their transformation.

    In The Heart of Change, Kotter takes the eight steps to a more in depth level. He interviewed over two hundred people in more than ninety organizations. Through his findings during these interviews, he developed his basis for The Heart of Change.

    His main discovery is change is not strategy, structure, culture, or systems. These are all important; however, the core of real change involves people's behaviors and feelings. He states, "In highly successful change efforts, people find ways to help others see the problems or solutions in ways that influence emotions, not just through feelings that alter behaviors sufficiently to overcome all the many barriers to sensible large scale change."

    As the work world becomes more and more turbulent, change happens whether we want it to or not usually at a fast paced rate. John Kotter gives some sensible strategies that can be utilized by change agents in every type of organization....more info

  • The Heart of Change
    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."...more info
  • The Heart of The Heart of Change
    Your heart allows you to thrive...right? So a book entitled "The Heart of Change" probably should show signs of life! And that it did! I felt that this book was very well written and offered some life-changing information! The real-life stories only encouraged the reader to pursue more and more of what we all want. And that is to FEEL in our HEART that what we are doing is WORTHWHILE and PURPOSEFUL! Page 11 and it's diagram of the concept of See-Feel-Change is terrific! Terrific, not only because it matched the content, but because it met the visual reader as well as the logical reader as well as the emotional reader. The script them backed up it's information with the 8 stages of successful large-scale change. This worked becuase we all know that you usually experience individual/personal change amidst a bigger/greater change! Page 78 and 79 with the story of "the body in the living room" was more than real and humbling, while the story on page 50 about the boat capsizing and the need for "trust" through a change was priceless!
    I would recommend this book for those in the educational realm as well as the business world, and even those just pursuing change for their own personal life! As John Kotter said, if we see it and feel it, we will desire the change!...more info
  • Fundamentals for helping an organization undergo change successfully
    This book is the textbook for how an organization can successfully lead with change. I have used the 8-step method with various organizations and successfully 'seen-felt-changed' for the better. ...more info
  • An examination of "the centrality of emotion" when leading change

    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....more info
  • Why people succeed and why they fail with real life stories
    This book is Filled with real-life stories about why people fail or succeed and 8 step path to change failure to success. This is also inspiration book story of Nuking the executive floor and the body in the living room as well as box of 424 different pairs of gloves are really nice and eye openers....more info
  • Good subject, bad book
    I think the book is raising some good questions and is trying to address very important issues and problems in organizational behavior, but the quality of the content leaves plenty room for improvement. The stories and cases that illustrate the concepts of the book are mostly highly artificial and oversimplified, they are poorly written and could not be read with trust. The examples of the ideas that should help to turn the companies around often are on this level: a new screen saver was installed on every computer in the company as a surprise to the employees and it had a graphic image and a slogan "We will be #1 in the UK market by 2001!". Boom! After that, the company turned around and conquered UK market!

    This is definitely well below the bar that Harvard Business School Press should have set for its publications. ...more info