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Leading Change

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  18,333 ratings  ·  442 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
Audiobook, 208 pages
Published September 1st 1996 by Harvard Business Review Press (first published January 1st 1988)
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Average rating 4.03  · 
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 ·  18,333 ratings  ·  442 reviews

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Feb 01, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I had a really hard time staying focused while reading this book. I tried reading it while cycling my stationary recumbent bicycle as that usually helps. However, after a few minutes, I would realize that my mind had wandered off into various scenarios, or was problem solving a current work issue and nothing I had read had penetrated my brain. Or, perhaps it had and I was now applying it. Either way, it made for slow progress. I also felt that the examples in the book were more applicable to a c ...more
Kotter proceeds to explain his eight-stage process of creating major change that consists in (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 by getting rid of obstacles and changing systems or structures that undermine the change vision (6) generating short-term wins (7) consolidating gains and producing more change (8) anchoring new approaches in the culture.
I don’t
Alex Duncan
Jun 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book is a stalwart when it comes to managing change in organizations.
Brian Rast
May 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Read in a book club with my boss. This book was fantastic- straightforward, with real techniques and lots of ideas threaded throughout the concepts. This book empowers any level employee to suggest and make changes. Highly recommend to anyone involved in change efforts (small or large) in their workplace.
Jacques Bezuidenhout
May 24, 2017 rated it did not like it
Got about 25% in.

Seems to be focused on very large organizations.

Found the way the information is presented made it almost impossible to logically follow or learn from. And the information was of such, that I didn't really care for anything they said.

The only thing they said that made sense was that there is a big difference between management and leadership. And where the one falls short and the other should take over.
Kristine Morris
Jul 29, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: business
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
Chip Chambers
Mar 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
A good book, and a classic. If you don't like generic books about leadership, you'll hate this book. If you like generic books about leadership, you'll love this one.

I think the principles are inarguable and valuable, but Kotter's stories lack the specificity that would make them applicable. He tells stories in such a way that it's obvious the error that was made, and that no person with good sense would make them. The problem is that leading change is almost always ambiguous and difficult in th
May 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is a little depressing but highly informative. It focuses on changing organizations culture/behavior etc. The big message could be summed up as "lasting change is super hard." Some of the smaller ideas that make that up, you must have people behind the change that have power to enforce, there must be buy in at all levels, create urgency, once the change is taking place and success ensues - you must not stop but make sure to have prolonged oversight to see it all the way done and ingrai ...more
Feb 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
"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."
Dale Callahan
Jun 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Interesting read - but not widely surprising. Goes into an 8 step process for leading change. Very high level and theory based. Key for leaders is creating and communicating vision then pulling together a team to make it happen. The 8 steps are helpful - but also unclear.
Jamil Haddadin
Aug 14, 2018 marked it as to-read
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Complacency increase the risk of failure!
Shenica S. Nelson
Apr 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Initially, when I purchased the book it wasn't ”catchy” or interesting! Due to the state of our current global culture and the need for change in cross-cultural communications, this book is a tool that could lead nations to healthy change management processes. It took a while, but it is worth the investment.
Virgita Atigriv
Aug 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
A valuable book for change management leaders. My recommendation would be to read, not to listen an audio book. I missed the chance to highlight useful advices.
Oct 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: transformation
I would recommend this reading to the leaders who are launching themselves in the work related to the change management.

The book depicts a clear path from creating the urgency to sustaining the change in the culture while using very visual examples & proven practices. Please note that even if an author focuses on the large organizations, there are a lot of what can be applied for any change program - big or small.

PS: while reading this book I had a background feeling that it's extremely complex
3.5 stars. The book is a good basis for information on leadership, how it differs from management, and why we need to be better about training leaders. However, I’ve had a class all semester on these topics and I wish we had read the book before the semester started rather than halfway through.
Bryan Gillenwater
Nov 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic book on the process, pitfalls and promise of organizational change. Addresses the environmental factors that are driving more rapid and constant changes to be necessary and how the right combination of leadership and management can keep your organization ahead of the curve.
Anthony Deluca
Mar 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Essam Bukhamseen
Nov 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: management
The book talks about how to handle an organiztaion transformation. It starts by stating several common mistakes organiztaions tend to fall into. It lists them into 8 errors. Then, the book identify 8 stages that an orgnization must go through when going through a transformation: 1) Establish a sense of urgency, 2) Creating the guiding coalition, 3) Creating a vision and strategy, 4) Communicating the vision, 5) Empowering the people, 6) Ensure having short term wins, 7) Consolidating gains and d ...more
Jens Mårtensson
Feb 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I understand it’s a classic for corporate settings.
Good about change management, and what happens if you don’t do it properly.
Fantastic reasoning and good related stories.

The follow up chapters in the end builds a strong case for Agile.
Jill Furedy
Jul 09, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
Jul 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Nathan Maharaj
May 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: diy-mba
The worst thing about this book is that once you've read it and internalized it, you'll be forever annoyed by every panicked, prickly coworker who tries (and inevitably fails) to ram through process changes without building a change coalition, celebrating early wins, or any of the other steps that feel soft, but can utterly undo a change initiative if you don't put the work into them. When it seems like Kotter's method hasn't worked for implementing a change initiative, it's always been my exper ...more
Andrea McDowell
Feb 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: business
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.
Oct 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self-improvement
This book answer the question why change in organizations fail or not achieve the ultimate goal ? to understand why , Kotter explain the eight stages required to have a successful transformation based on a long experience in consulting. The book identifies the key elements which have to be considered in order to get the desired result, Change is not easy and can't be done in short period of time.
Dec 26, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
May 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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!
Feb 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business
Great advice on what it will take to achieve change in large, slow-moving organizations. All of the obstacles and anti-patterns were painfully familiar, and the advice seems straightforward in retrospect, but isn't obvious when you're in the middle of the problem.
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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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“transformation is a process, not an event” 17 likes
“Nothing undermines change more than behavior by important individuals that is inconsistent with the verbal communication.” 7 likes
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