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Leading Change

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  12,985 Ratings  ·  276 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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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
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
Dec 29, 2010 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
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."
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
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.
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
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
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!
Joachim Viktil
Feb 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Great read. Really makes you reflect on the company you work for and your role there. Read it!
Daniel Dawson
Aug 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Best book on leadership I've ever read.

“Management makes a system work. It helps you do what you know how to do. Leadership builds systems or transforms old ones.”

“By far the biggest mistake people make when trying to change organizations is to plunge ahead without establishing a high enough sense of urgency in fellow managers and employess.”

“Major change is often said to be impossible unless the head of the organization is an active supporter. What I am talking about here goes far beyond tha
Steve Stegman
Dec 31, 2009 rated it liked it
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.

Mark Oppenlander
Jun 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Here's a quick read on an important topic: The leadership and management of change efforts.

Dr. John Kotter is a Professor of Leadership at Harvard Business School and this book was written out of his experiences observing and consulting with businesses that were attempting to make significant organizational changes of various types. Kotter recognized that some of these organizations succeeded and others failed, but when they failed there were some fairly consistent reasons for the failure. He hi
Michael Culbertson
Jun 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
A good framework for thinking about how to lead change effectively. Easy to read. It did feel a little abstract and aspirational, though. Kotter admits explicitly that leading change is hard, but at the same time, the tone comes across a little as "1-2-3, presto changeo!" It would have been helpful to supplement the content with more practical suggestions for how to implement the steps in the framework.
Holly Palladino
Change isn't easy and it takes a long time. A great read when you are thinking of getting a group of individuals to change the way they do things. The author looks at some very concrete ideas on what you need to do from start to finish. Thinking ahead and planning for the pitfalls along the way is crucial to success.
Lindsay Critelli
Aug 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Very useful descriptions of how implementing and monitoring change within a 21st Century organization is much different than what was in past decades. Leaders and managers alike can use the strategies described by Kotter for more secure long-term success, since permanent improvement/alterations to culture seem to be the most difficult to maintain.
May 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
One of those books you can take something from every time you pick it up. I particularly liked the part about vision and rate of change this time. This isn't only about leading change but maintaining an innovate workplace.

Sure easy read and engaging. Haven't read anything from Kotter that I didn't like.
Melissa Mannon
There are some great ideas in here, but each one could be explored more fully in separate books. This serves as a general introduction to methods for embarking on change initiatives, but more detailed descriptions of the eight steps for change Kotter prescribes would be beneficial.
Kate Hainsworth
Jul 30, 2017 rated it it was ok
Long book for (to me, today) minimal incremental knowledge - perhaps it is my fault for not reading it sooner. I found the distinctions between management and leadership insightful.
Sarah Brooks
Jul 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Excellent: Concise, actionable.
Wilbert Van Der Kruk
Dec 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book. Fast paced. Providing lots of inspiration and ready to use insights. Recommended.
Mar 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business
This is the best book I have read on the topic of change management. Originally thought this would be another academia book with irrelavant content. However after flipping through part 1 of the book, I realize it is just the situation I have encountered within my company and this book can employee across all level to lead changes, to facilitate changes or to understand changes.

Actionable change steps: Most of the business books I have read only lay out vague framework or really general rules.
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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” 16 likes
“Nothing undermines change more than behavior by important individuals that is inconsistent with the verbal communication.” 6 likes
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