The Change Leader’s Road Map: A book review by Bob Morris

Posted on: January 30th, 2011 by bobmorris

The Change Leader’s Road Map: How to Navigate Your Organization’s Transformation
Linda Ackerman Anderson and Dean Anderson
Pfeiffer/A Wiley Imprint (2010)

I recently read the Second Edition of this book (first published in 2001) and the Second Edition of Beyond Change Management (also first published in 2001) and commend Linda Ackerman Anderson Dean Anderson on a brilliant explanation of how to achieve breakthrough results through what they characterize as “change conscious leadership.” My only criticism, and it is a significant one, is that neither volume sufficiently addresses an essential component of organizational transformation: performance measure. For that, those in need of guidance are strongly encouraged to read Dean Spitzer’s Transforming Performance Measure: Rethinking the Way We Measure and Drive Organizational Success, published by AMACOM (2007). If possible, the Andersons suggest that Beyond Change Management be read first, then this one.

Readers will especially appreciate the Andersons’ skill use of “cases in point” that focus on real-world situations to illustrate key points. They include capacity assessments (Page 84), DTE Energy Mindset Shift (92-95), Fortune 500 company reward system (158), manufacturing company system-wide integration strategy (262), and common change methodology for efforts (297). There is substantial value to be found in real-world situations in which the most important do’s and don’ts of change agency are revealed within an empirical frame-of-reference. Those who read this book also receive a substantial value-added benefit: free premium content that includes worksheets and job aids. Access them at www.pfeiffer.com/go/anderson using the password provided in the book.

Reading most business books is a benign experience as material is absorbed and digested. That is certainly not the case with this book, nor with Beyond Change Management. Each includes checklists (especially of the right questions to ask) and worksheets that are designed to facilitate, indeed intensify the reader’s engagement in their narrative. The Andersons immediately establish a direct and cordial rapport with their reader so that there is continuous interaction between the reader and the material provided. Throughout their narrative and at the aforementioned website, the Andersons provide about as much information, wisdom, and advice as an individual or team will need to design and then implement change initiatives. I also highly recommend Spitzer’s book as well as Enterprise Architecture As Strategy: Creating a Foundation for Business Execution co-authored by Jeanne W. Ross, Peter Weill, and David Robertson.

As I worked my way through this book, I was reminded of Peter Drucker’s observation, “There is surely nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency what should not be done at all.” It is no small praise to suggest that in this book, Linda Ackerman Anderson and Dean Anderson do everything humanly possible to help their reader to avoid doing “with great efficiency what should not be done at all” when planning and then implementing change initiatives.

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