Winter warmers: 5 essential reads on change management

Craig Sharp

Halloween is just around the corner, the air is become crisp and the mornings are becoming darker. Winter is almost upon us, but don’t let stuck in the winter gloom – now is the time to begin looking ahead to the new year; a clean slate, a fresh approach and of course a new fiscal quarter!

In addition to the turkey, port & cheese and endless re-runs of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, now is the perfect time to build your knowledge, tighten up your processes and perhaps get a fresh perspective to aid your company going into 2015.

To aid you in this endeavour, I’ve prepared a reading list that could help you ensure any change you bring to your company is both positive and permanent. Allow me to present five of the finest change management books available today:

#1 - Change-Friendly Leadership: How to Transform Good Intentions into Great Performance, Rodger Dean Duncan and Stephen M. R. Covey, 2012

Most attempts to change fall flat. Around the world, countless change efforts are underway in all kinds of organizations, spearheaded by leaders with good intentions. Despite the good intentions, the majority of these programs will not succeed. Why?

Change cannot be achieved by a press release, slogan, or announcement. Effective organizational change requires the active, mindful participation of the people affected by the change. Leaders must learn how to bring their entire team on board with changes and ensure they are invested in the process as well as in the outcome.

The Friendly Factor is not just a play on words. It's the very foundation for effectively engaging people's heads, hearts, and hopes. The Change-Friendly framework is based on timeless principles that are tried and true in even the toughest situations. Using this framework will enable you to create effective, lasting change in your organization. Q&A with Rodger Dean Duncan

What's so friendly about change? Often not much. And that's the point.

Change squeezes us out of our comfort zone. The resulting discomfort produces stress. Stress often manifests itself as resistance. Resistance in the face of change is like having one foot on the brake while the other foot presses the gas pedal.

Then what's the solution? In a nutshell, we must create an environment that's receptive to change.

#2 - Leading Change, John P Kotter, 2012

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, creating short-term wins, consolidating gains and producing even more change, and institutionalizing new approaches in the future.

This highly personal book reveals what John Kotter has seen, heard, experienced, and concluded in 25 years of working with companies to create lasting transformation.

#3 - HBR's 10 Must Reads on Change Management, Harvard Business Review, 2011

Most company's change initiatives fail. Yours don't have to.

If you read nothing else on change management, read these 10 articles (featuring "Leading Change," by John P. Kotter). We've combed through hundreds of Harvard Business Review articles and selected the most important ones to help you spearhead change in your organization.

his collection of best-selling articles includes: featured article "Leading Change: Why Transformation Efforts Fail" by John P. Kotter, "Change Through Persuasion," "Leading Change When Business Is Good: An Interview with Samuel J. Palmisano," "Radical Change, the Quiet Way," "Tipping Point Leadership," "A Survival Guide for Leaders," "The Real Reason People Won't Change," "Cracking the Code of Change," "The Hard Side of Change Management," and "Why Change Programs Don't Produce Change."

#4 - The Heart of Change: Real-Life Stories of How People Change Their Organizations, John P. Kotter and Dan S. Cohen, 2012

Why is 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 author and renowned leadership expert John Kotter and coauthor Dan Cohen, this focus on connecting with people's emotions is what will spark the behavior change and actions that lead to success.

The Heart of Change is the engaging and essential complement to Kotter's worldwide bestseller Leading Change. Building off of Kotter's revolutionary eight-step process, this book vividly illustrates how large-scale change can work. With real-life stories of people in organizations, the authors show how teams and individuals get motivated and activated to overcome obstacles to change--and produce spectacular results.

#5 - The Change Leader’s Roadmap: How to Navigate Your Organization’s Transformation, Linda Ackerman Anderson and Dean Anderson, 2010

In these turbulent times, competent change leadership is a most coveted leadership skill, and savvy change consultants are becoming trusted participants at the board table. For both leaders and consultants, knowing how to navigate the complexities of organization transformation is fast becoming the key to a successful career.

This second edition of the author’s landmark book is the king of all how–to books on change. It provides a strategic overview of the author’s proven change process methodology, as well as pragmatic guidance and tools for each key step in a complex transformational change process. The Change Leader’s Roadmap is the most comprehensive guide available for building transformational change strategy and designing and implementing successful transformation.

Based on thirty years of action research with Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, the military, and large non–profit global organizations. Outlines every key step in a transformational change process Provides worksheets, tools, case examples, and assessments that you can immediately apply to all types of change efforts Includes updated information on a wealth of topics including the critical path tasks and how to use the CLR to change minds and cultures.