Leading Change
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Leading Change

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  5,579 ratings  ·  160 reviews
John Kotter’s now-legendary eight-step process for managing change with positive results has become the foundation for leaders and organizations across the globe. By outlining the process every organization must go through to achieve its goals, and by identifying where and how even top performers derail during the change process, Kotter provides a practical resource for le...more
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published September 1st 1996 by Harvard Business Review Press (first published August 7th 1996)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. CoveyHow to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale CarnegieGood to Great by Jim CollinsGetting Things Done by David AllenThe Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
The 100 Best Business Books of All Time
25th out of 201 books — 258 voters
The Jetstream of Success by Julian PencilliahMentor Me by Ken PoirotGood to Great by Jim CollinsHow to be Successful in Present Day World by Pradeep ChaswalGetting Things Done by David Allen
Career Success
37th out of 87 books — 161 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Alex Duncan
This book is a stalwart when it comes to managing change in organizations.
Kristine Morris
I was given this book by a boss of mine a few years ago and it's been sitting patiently on my business book shelf waiting to be read. I am sure it's a classic in the OD world and I found it to be quite relevant. I really liked how Kotter makes a huge point of difference between managing and leading - two totally different skill sets and unfortunately we haven't been very good at teaching people how to lead. In fact, he explains that entrenched arrogant management corporate cultures squash leader...more
Brian Rast
In a more detailed and applicable way than the book Who Moved My Cheese (different author), Kotter touches on how to face change, saying that individuals that want to succeed in organizations in this age must be ready for it and the fact that it will come faster. Kotter presents two very good points: One is an eight-stage process to implement changes. And two, a very interesting premise about leadership vs management, which was mentioned in several other books on the Level II reading list, speci...more
Dec 29, 2010 Jenn added it
Shelves: eastlake
Establishing a sense of urgency
o Examining the market and competitive realities
o Identifying and discussing crises, potential crises or major opportunities
Creating the Guiding Coalition
o A group of people with enough power to make the change happen
o Getting the group to work together like a team
Developing a Vision and Strategy
• Creating a vision to help direct the change effort
• Developing strategies for achieving that vision
Communicating the change vision
• Every vehicle possible to constantly c...more
Leading Change is a somewhat dated, but still valuable and timely book that explores John Kotter’s views on the essentials of leading organizational change, as informed by his experiences with numerous companies. His eight stage process of change leadership has been referenced in numerous textbooks, and has become a source of insight for many managers and companies desiring to change the way they meet their environment and competition.

The eight-stage process includes the following:

1. Establish...more
Anthony Deluca
Leading Change
By: John P. Kotter
Copyright 1996
Reviewed May 2008
(Listened to unabridged audio version)

This book was recommended to me by an employee who just received an MBA. I believe this may have been part of his curriculum. It is a Harvard Business School Press publication.

Leading Change is very thorough and simple to understand. I recommend the book over the audio presentation, as it is a bit deep for the audio presentation and contains a lot of lists which are better understood and retained...more
Jill Furedy
We had just gotten a new CEO and they sent a copy of this out for the store managers. I was filling in as store manager at the time, while my boss was on maternity leave, so I though I'd give it a try. But I shouldn't have bothered. It took me weeks to get through since I didn't care if I picked it back up. Management books are like parenting books and dieting books: everyone claims to have the answers, but if they actually did, we wouldn't have shelves full of books on the topic, would we? Plus...more
This is a good business/ organization behavior trade book. The problem area is a real one -- how does one get a large organization to significantly change what it is doing without chaos breaking out and lots of time, energy, and resources being wasted? The book starts with a discussion of all the ways in which a change program can fail. He author then proposes a process for avoiding those mistakes. The writing is good, the organization of the book is effective, the perspective is skeptical and r...more
"A good rule of thumb: Whenever you hear of a major restructuring, reengineering, or strategic redirection in which step 1 is 'changing the culture,' you should be concerned that it might be going down the wrong path."
Probably four stars for a business book, a genre of literature I don't have much respect for, but three stars just considered as a normal book. Had to read it for a class and I appreciated that it was clear, common sense, and wasn't annoying. In general it is a very top down vision of change (probably a product of the author being a high priced consultant to senior management) with limited utility for people working in smaller companies, and I would quibble with the idea that a permanent sense o...more
Andrea McDowell
One of those books that makes much of the business world make a lot more sense when you're done. A lightbulb about successful and failed change efforts at workplaces throughout my career went off probably every two or three pages throughout the book. It has some good insights too, I think, for anyone wondering why we are doing such a crap job of transforming on a larger, societal scale to deal wtih environmental threats like climate change.
Helpful tips in leading an organization through change. I wish I had come across this book prior to some of my failed efforts at institutional change. An easy read - Kotter encourages leaders to consider the challenge of implementing change and gives practical, helpful advice in the nuts and bolts of the process. This book is written for the corporate world but can be applied to any organization.
Awesome book to use as a guide post for leading change within an organization. Practical tools for leaders to use to create successful change initiatives in an ever changing environment. Another book that I will refer back to again and again!
Leading Change by John Kotter, erases the pollution inhaled from Good to Great and the Jim Collins team. Leading Change demonstrates that transformation for an organization can take place without luck and various hedgehog’s.

The book outlines eight items that are the building blocks for creating change. Each chapter provides additional detail about the steps and offers experiences from within Mr. Kotters engagements.

The material consistently focused on how these concepts work within the corpora...more
Dec 09, 2013 Mark added it
Shelves: business
A deserved classic, Kotter's LEADING CHANGE is probably the best resource for laying out a clear and effective approach to leading and managing change. Some will quibble that the book works better for more traditional organizations (e.g., is not applicable to start-ups, etc.), but the fact is that every situation demands its own kind of leadership, which is rarely one-size-fits-all. My personal quibble is that this book may slant more toward MANAGING than LEADING change (I expect Kotter would di...more
Timothy Darling
Kotter's book is an excellent "how to" in embracing rather than fighting change. His primary assumption, that leaders are focused on change while managers are focused on stability may be as good a place as any to start when thinking about the difference between leading and managing. In an age when church leaders are criticized for managing rather than leading, this may be the essential distinction.

However, the church is an old organization with an identity firmly rooted in history. The idea of c...more
Kotter's classic text lays out a careful methodology for driving change into the fabric of an organization. While many of the points (of both his and other models) are fairly intuitive, it's hard to find fault with the 8-Stage Process of Creating Major Change.

However, entrepreneurial organizations struggle to employ change models successfully. Many can Establish Urgency, Create a Guiding Coalition, Develop a Vision/Strategy, and Communicate the Vision...but here they derail. Perhaps that's becau...more
Cathy Allen
Yep. I see why this one rose to the top of the must-read list for the organizational change practitioners and the consultants to nonprofits LinkedIn groups I follow. It is a classic, a one-stop shop for anyone interested in understanding the process of change within organizations. Focused largely on business (Kotter's examples and "reasons for" tend to be about competitive advantage) the book is clearly applicable in nonprofit and governmental contexts.

Of particular interest to me, and of real...more
First off, don't judge me for reading business books. Well, go ahead, but know I judge myself for reading them too.

Thoughts while reading:
- Lacks the feeling of a well-researched piece of advice. It talks about large tectonic shifts in the marketplace, but it doesn’t use supporting evidence. The ideal audience member is someone who’s already had difficulty implementing change. Not a newb like me.
- The logic feels right. Some of it is a bit provocative – the first three steps are 1) make sure ev...more
Steve Stegman
Dec 31, 2009 Steve Stegman rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who must lead their group through change.
Recommended to Steve by: Required School Reading
In today's modern global economy, change has become an ever present reality of life. John Kotter, in his book Leading Change, cites globalization as a major force in driving change (Kotter, 1996, p. 10). Kotter takes the traditional differentiation of management versus leadership. Kotter has carefully chosen his title as Leading Change rather than managing change to provide a statement that leadership rather than management alone is needed to guide organizations through times of great change.

Todd Allen
Leading Change: Leadership versus management, how the definitions of each have changed over time, the need for both in sufficient dosages in today’s successful organizations, the characteristics of the roles that each have traditionally defined, and most importantly, the 8-steps – along with the pitfalls and celebrations of each that the author has witnessed during his professional career – are clearly laid out. The book seems to have been written for the large audience of participants that will...more
Nov 24, 2011 JohnR rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: work
This is a book that changed my life. It got me interested in things like organisational psychology, change, management, and leadership, things I’d previously never considered worthy of my attention.

Kotter’s main thesis is to set out an 8-step structure for organisational transformation, a structure that maps clearly onto Lewin’s Unfreeze-Change-Refreeze change management model.

The main value in Lewin’s model is the two ends: unfreeze and refreeze, these are the phases that get least attention as...more
Chris Munson
"Leading Change" provides a great overview of what it takes to effectively implement change in an organization. Kotter's eight step plan (create urgency, form coalitions, create a vision, communicate the vision, remove obstacles, short-term wins, build on change, and anchoring change) provides a perfect framework for leading and executing change in any organization. And most importantly, it's not as boring as most HBR books. With that said, I was left a little unsatisfied with the "how" provided...more
Caleb Friz
OK, wow. I do not have enough good things to say about this book. You know a book is good when it makes you feel like an idiot and think "how come no one ever told me this before?". The whole book was a revelation, and Kotter's even and honest style never falls flat or feels forced. Almost everything in this book I have either done or had done to me, so it was very relevant and educational. I think I will be a better manager and, gulp, leader after this read. Recommend.
Glenn Van
Een klassieker onder de veranderboeken, maar zeker een eye-opener die ik gebruik bij de vele vragen die we bij MVO Nederland krijgen over draagvlak creatie voor MVO. Misschien wel de belangrijkste les uit het boek. Mensen komen niet in beweging door businesscases en memo's, maar door - zoals Kotter dat noemt - urgentie die ontstaat door See, Feel, Change. Vanuit emotie ga je veranderen.
Although the intended audience for this book is clearly executives who will try to lead large-scale corporate change from the top, I found some interesting points that are more generally applicable even for those who have to lead smaller changes within their organizations or teams. I asked my team to read this book as preparation for a meeting where managing and leading change was the theme, and feedback across the board was that the book provided useful context and vocabulary for discussion abo...more
Kotter does a good job of distinguishing the difference between leading change and managing change. One of the salient points he makes is the leadership scarcity-- in the corporate structure, there are a lot of managers who are good at managing but when it comes to leading, alas, the skillset is different and the talents developed at the managerial level may in fact hinder leadership development.
A strong leader is able to rally people together and impart vision to others. A strong manager guide...more
Fred Penguin
Review from GoodReads:

In Leading Change, John Kotter examines the efforts of more than 100 companies to remake themselves into better competitors. He identifies the most common mistakes leaders and managers make in attempting to create change and offers an eight-step process to overcome the obstacles and carry out the firm's agenda: establishing a greater sense of urgency, creating the guiding coalition, developing a vision and strategy, communicating the change vision, empowering others to act,...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Funny how this hit the work place RIGHT SPOT ON! mostly for a state dept....
I need to go back and read this I have tried and tried again to apply what Kotter had tried to teach through the book. It helps with understanding some of the work place.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • On Becoming a Leader: The Leadership Classic--Updated and Expanded
  • Competing for the Future
  • The Leadership Moment: Nine True Stories of Triumph and Disaster and Their Lessons for Us All
  • The Leadership Challenge
  • The Knowing-Doing Gap: How Smart Companies Turn Knowledge into Action
  • The Balanced Scorecard: Translating Strategy into Action
  • Out of the Crisis
  • Toyota Production System: Beyond Large-Scale Production
  • Leadership Is an Art
  • The Story Factor: Inspiration, Influence, and Persuasion through the Art of Storytelling
  • Primal Leadership: Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence
  • Reengineering the Corporation: A Manifesto for Business Revolution
  • Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change
  • The Radical Leap: A Personal Lesson in Extreme Leadership
  • The Power of Intuition: How to Use Your Gut Feelings to Make Better Decisions at Work
  • My Years with General Motors
  • The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization
  • Never Give In!: The Best of Winston Churchill's Speeches
John P. Kotter, world-renowned expert on leadership, is the author of many books, including Leading Change, Our Iceberg is Melting, and The Heart of Change. 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 leadership organization that helps Global 5000 company leaders devel...more
More about John P. Kotter...
Our Iceberg Is Melting: Changing and Succeeding Under Any Conditions A Sense of Urgency The Heart of Change: Real-Life Stories of How People Change Their Organizations Buy-In: Saving Your Good Idea from Getting Shot Down John P. Kotter on What Leaders Really Do

Share This Book

“transformation is a process, not an event” 6 likes
More quotes…