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The Heart of Change: Real-Life Stories of How People Change Their Organizations

3.94  ·  Rating Details ·  1,460 Ratings  ·  75 Reviews
Why is organizational change so hard? Because in order to make any transformation successful, you must change more than just the structure and operations of an organization—you need to change people’s behavior. And that is never easy.

The Heart of Change is your guide to helping people think and feel differently in order to meet your shared goals. According to bestselling a
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published August 1st 2002 by Harvard Business Review Press (first published 1999)
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Fred Penguin
Apr 25, 2008 Fred Penguin rated it it was amazing
Harry C. Edwards wrote this review. 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 ...more
Apr 21, 2013 Boris rated it liked it
I kinda have mixed feelings on this one.

Con: it was a little on the repetitive/boring side.
Pro: repetition is the mother of all learning.

Con: it's written targeted at middle/senior managers (ie, not me)

Con: it doesn't talk about the fundamentals as much as Switch
Pro: it has a more step-by-step framework than Switch

I guess I'd say it's a really good book for a manager type to read (as opposed to Switch, which I would recommend for a peon like myself). But the first book I'd suggest for a manger w
Duny Martínez
Mar 21, 2015 Duny Martínez rated it really liked it
Nidhal Ben Tahar
Jan 09, 2017 Nidhal Ben Tahar rated it really liked it
I liked the fact that the book was built around examples, which makes the arguments and ideas more sticky.

On the other hand, I'm skeptic about the whole concept of top-down large scale organizational change. I've read this book in the midst of my study of lean practices and principles and find those very superior in terms of change prescriptions and dynamics.
Nov 14, 2016 Jason rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book - I'd highly recommend it for anyone trying to create organizational change. Figuring out how to appeal to the emotions of an organization is difficult and the first few steps of this book are really important.
Cathy Allen
It always seemed to me that "change management" is a funny field to get into. Since nothing ever stays the same, isn't managing change something that most of us are doing most of the time? We need special consultants for this?

Yet, I find that I am more and more drawn to the subject. One of my favorite LinkedIn groups is called the Organizational Change Practitioners. I get a weekly breakdown of their discussions and always profit by taking the time to read it. These are people who are serious ab
Aug 29, 2012 Jennet rated it really liked it
Shelves: business
This book is a follow-up to Leading Change. It illustrates Kotter's change theory (see next paragraph) with real stories. Main finding of The Heart of Change: the central issue is never strategy, structure, culture, or systems - core of the matter is always about changing behavior or people which happens mostly by speaking to their feelings. Highly successful change efforts folow a seeing-feeling-changing pattern.

Kotter's eight stages: push urgency up, put together a guiding team, create the vis
Feb 19, 2010 Lauren rated it really liked it
I read this book as part of my "self-development" challenge for work and also because I was looking for a way to help my sales team feel inspired in their jobs. By far, my take-away was showing rather than telling - the selection about a company taping customers and having different departments view the dissatisfaction (and the subsequent emotional move to put aside differences in order to change ways) caused me to think about the way I needed to present information to my team. I also appreciate ...more
Julie Connor
Apr 29, 2014 Julie Connor rated it really liked it
Kotter's and Cohen's "The Heart of Change" provides a solid leadership framework for managing and guiding others through change and welcoming challenges as opportunities to experience positive growth. The author explains how transformation offers opportunities to address the organizational culture, promote self-reflection, encourage meaningful dialogue, and provide a safe environment for behavioral change.

The authors explain how individual and organizational react and process change. Kotter and
Sep 02, 2010 Heather rated it liked it
Shelves: leadership
This was a good book teaching about change management. In order to create lasting change it emphasizes the need to really influence people's emotions and not just their thinking. There are eight important things necessary in this type of change:
1. urgency
2. the right guiding team
3. vision
4. communication
5. empowerment
6. short-term wins
7. don't let up
8. make it stick
This book reminded me a lot of The Influencer: The Power to Change Anything, but I liked The Influencer much better--it gave more co
Jan 15, 2014 Thomas rated it really liked it
Lots of great information and stories which illustrate the teachings in very concrete ways. My only frustration is the that one of the key points of the book is that much of the difficulty of change is the emotional challenges. Yet in the examples it seems to address the emotional issues more indirectly than directly.

I was hoping for more direct discussion of how to handle the emotional aspects of change. Still a very good resource for anyone trying to change anything.

Also I was impressed with
Minjee Kong
Feb 20, 2014 Minjee Kong rated it liked it
Shelves: school
I had to read "The Heart of Change" for a business class and I found the eight steps to large-scale change to be very insightful. Applying the steps from the book to basic issues we face every day in our lives can really help us to work towards change and success. I found most of the book to be extremely repetitive, causing me to skim over the major points rather than thoroughly reading. I think this book is a good book to browse for everyone studying not only business because the ideas througho ...more
Timothy Chklovski
I've only skimmed the second half of the book. As a sort of companion to Kotter's "Leading Change", it presents several brief anecdotes illustrating the eight steps of driving change.
While an interesting enough read, it's a but further afield for someone trying to become a better investor and business analyst. At a very high level, the book illustrates the point that change is driven by influencing how people feel; influencing people's feelings with prepared, highly visual, clear-cut actions and
Rhonda Sue
Apr 30, 2015 Rhonda Sue rated it really liked it
This is a very meaty book, with an 8 step process to effectuate change in small or large organizations. I took notes and hope to share this with the organizations I'm involved with. The stories and examples were extremely helpful. I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for strong advice and help in this area. Frankly, the information can help in many areas where change is required, even outside the work arena.
Jan 13, 2012 Laura rated it liked it
Kotter's book emphasizes the need to incorporate emotional appeal and demonstration into the organizational change process. He argues convincingly - supported by many examples - for a "see-feel'change" rather than an "analyze-think-change" approach, while not discounting the need for analysis and information. It's a useful book for anyone responsible for implementing change in an organization of any type.
Jun 02, 2015 Erik rated it liked it
As far as business books go, The Heart of Change was pretty interesting. It contains dozens of stories from mid- to senior-level executives who successfully lead change in their organizations, all highlightin the author's eight steps for successful large-scale change. The information was easy to understand and apply, and it was presented in such a way that it wasn't too abstract to be useful. Recommended for people who read business books for fun(??).
Nov 26, 2012 Heather rated it really liked it
My favorite things about this book:
• short, focused chapters
• excellent, real-world examples/stories
• each chapter ends with a cliff notes-type summary
• clear love of bulleted lists
• actionable, the whole thing is so friggin actionable, I love it

Best work ever, no, but boy did it give me ideas and set my frame of mind for work in progress and to come. Definitely recommend to anyone in management or a position of influence.
Oct 10, 2011 Katie rated it really liked it
Shelves: work-development
Read this for a reading group at work. I found it straight-forward and easy to read. Most of the book is real-life stories illustrating the eight steps of change, which seem applicable to any other workplace. This book definitely got my creative juices flowing with lots of ideas for change at my workplace!
Jan 09, 2012 Stephen rated it really liked it

Classic staple of change management and solid companion to the original Leading Change work by Kotter. The simple "see-feel-change" model is a needed contrast to the more common "analyze-think-act" approach. This work is helpful with the many real life stories to illustrate the successes and challenges of the 8-step change model.
Jul 23, 2011 Kristin rated it really liked it
Shelves: leadership
I appreciated Kotter's use of examples throughout. A great follow-up to Our Iceberg is Melting. Where Iceberg engages the reader by illustrating the principles through a fable, HOC puts some meat on the bones, but remains equally helpful through use of short cases illustrating each of the eight steps. I also appreciated the See-Feel-Change vs. Think-Analyze-Change discussion.
William Matthies
Sep 17, 2012 William Matthies rated it it was amazing
Researching and writing a book myself addressing change, how could I not read one (actually a few) from Professor John Kotter.

Well worth my time, and yours, assuming you're interested in better managing change in both your personal and professional lives.
Jan 04, 2008 Vasanti rated it really liked it
Although I read this to create an abstract for a work event, I thought it was a good book for the topic it addressed. For those of you that work with me ... this may be an appropriate book for our current events. And then there were two.... !!!
John Stepper
Jun 20, 2012 John Stepper rated it really liked it
Excellent. I didn't expect to like this slim, high-level treatment of change, but it proved very useful. The stories were the key. The "424 gloves" and "Video of the customer" were memorable, effective, and made me rethink some of my approaches at work. Pretty good for 185 pages!
Shubhashree Thekahally
Feb 05, 2015 Shubhashree Thekahally rated it it was amazing
Based on real-life stories, Heart of change provides a different perspective every time I read the book. This book by Kotter is a good follow-on to the book Leading Change. Thoroughly enjoyed and learned.
Mar 24, 2010 Nick rated it it was amazing
Excellent resource for leading and managing change within an organization. A classic. Kotter identifies the most important to-do's for those driving the change and uses dozens of detailed examples of how they were put into action.
Mar 26, 2013 Jen rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Here's another good book on teaming and how to organize and implement change in a way that's successful. I like the real life examples that are given, they illustrate good points that directly work with the 8 steps given by Kotter.
Devin Partlow
Feb 06, 2013 Devin Partlow rated it liked it
This book has a noteworthy plan to change an org, but it spends too much time on the anecdotal stories. Instead I would have like the author to elaborate more on his strategy rather than point to other orgs and say, "See, see they did it and it worked!"
May 28, 2012 Denise rated it it was amazing
A great book that I need to re-read. It focuses on stories of individuals in the workplace that with a loving heart are able to lead change for the better. It is a great book for workgroups, demonstrating the being positive and solid of heart is the best management system ever.
Dec 18, 2012 Andrea rated it liked it
This was a good read, message being that organizational change requires a "feeling" from employees. Not as good as "Switch" and harder to apply the principles, but may be good for future exercises with my team.
May 16, 2013 Swvinson rated it liked it
Shelves: management
Start with Leading Change...this is a good book (but not great). It seemed like Dr. Kotter wrote this as a sequel vs. a need to expand his original work. Again, a good book - but Leading Change was a great book.
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John P. Kotter, world-renowned expert on leadership, is the author of many books, including Leading Change, Our Iceberg is Melting, The Heart of Change, and his latest book, That's Not How We Do It Here!. He is the Konosuke Matsushita Professor of Leadership, Emeritus at the Harvard Business School, and a graduate of MIT and Harvard. He is co-founder of Kotter International, a change management an ...more
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“Never underestimate the power of the mind to disempower.” 2 likes
“Never underestimate the power of clever people to help others see the possibilities, to help them generate a feeling of faith, and to change behavior.” 1 likes
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