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Leading Change

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  7,969 ratings  ·  184 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 January 1st 1996)
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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
Jenn
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
Greg
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
Marks54
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
James
"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."
Smoothw
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
Raj
I also liked John Kotter's argument that says transforming culture occurs at the end of a change initiative, not at the beginning like we've been taught. Consolidating gains and producing more change. Anchoring new approaches in the culture.

There are many tools for leaders to use to create successful change initiatives in an ever changing environment.. Ironically, great success creates a momentum that demands more and more managers to keep the enterprise under control.” It breaks the whole chang
...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.
Mark
An excellent book on change, what types of strong actions surprisingly prevent change, how to recognize those, and how to handle them. The focus on urgency is excellent! The coming changes are, to many organizations, hard to see as the tsunami that they are.

His eight stages make a lot of sense, and are presented in a way that yields credibility. Specifically, the order is always the same, but the moment of shift (from one stage to another) cannot be isolated, and is muddy; many “stages” are act
...more
Matt
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.
Charlie Hecke
In John Kotter’s book on Leading Change, he makes these points:
“An organization needs both Management and Leadership Skills”
“A Company with good Managers but poor leaders will not succeed at change”
“Ironically, great success creates a momentum that demands more and more managers to keep the enterprise under control.”

Kotter created grids to depict various combinations of leadership and management that “may or may not work.”

A: Not enough leadership expertise
B: Can work if there is teamwork
C: Not
...more
Bethany
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!
Sham1s
I have some basic knowledge of change implementation, this book helped me to understand the need for change, why most organisations fail to implement a successful change campaign, obstacles in implementations, and how to overcome those challenges. It break the whole change process down into eight simply steps; (1)Establishing a sense of urgency (2) Creating the guding coalition (3) Developing a vision and strategy (4)Communicating the change vision (5) Empowering employees for broad based action ...more
Paul Miller
Kotter's step-by-step process in change management is a must read for every person involved in an organizational change effort. He outlines the necessary progression stage-by-stage in order to make change stick in organizational culture. I know that the common criticism of this book is that while he lays out the process, he doesn't really outline practical advice on how those stages should be accomplished. I'd have to agree with this criticism, but there are other authors that build upon Kotter ...more
Scott Maclellan
I found that my frame of reference for this book made it have less of an impact than I expected. The book portrays a single transformative plan as the one true way to change an organization. The book successfully conveys the immensity of such radical changes and consistently highlights how they can fail in subtle ways by not adhering to the one proposed steps or not effectively applying them.

While I agree with many of the pitfalls described by the book it still feels lacking. There are few concr
...more
Elizabeth
Kotter was never going to get five stars from me, so please consider my rating of 'Leading Change' a generous one.

One of the reasons I don't like reading non-fiction business/management books is that they often highlight the problems of the big companies that employ me, which can depress me. (Fiction can be depressing but it usually employs a wider vocabulary and more interesting syntax, delivering a wow factor that few management books can provide.) Another thing I don't like about most busines
...more
Campryenwater
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
Mark
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
Vince
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
john
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.

Kot
...more
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
John
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
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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, 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
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Our Iceberg Is Melting: Changing and Succeeding Under Any Conditions The Heart of Change: Real-Life Stories of How People Change Their Organizations A Sense of Urgency Buy-In: Saving Your Good Idea from Getting Shot Down Leading Change [with a New Preface]

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