HBR 10 Must-Reads on Change: A book review by Bob Morris

HBR 10 Must-Reads on Change
Various Contributors
Harvard Business Press (2011)

This volume is one of several in a new series of anthologies of articles that initially appeared in the Harvard Business Review, in this instance from 1960 until 2006. Remarkably, none seems dated; on the contrary, if anything, all seem more relevant now than ever before as their authors discuss what are (literally) essential dimensions of organizational and/or individual change.

More specifically, why transformation efforts fail (John P. Kotter), how to achieve change through persuasion (David A. Garvin and Michael A. Roberto), what can be learned from an interview of Samuel J. Palmisano about leading change when business is good, why radical change can be “the quiet way” (Barbara E. Meyerson), what “tipping point leadership is and does” (W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne), what a survival guide for leaders should provide (Ronald A. Heifetz and Marty Linsky), the real reason people won’t change (Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey), how to crack “the code of change” (Michael Berr and Nitin Nohria), the hard side of change management (Harold L. Sirkin, Perry Keenan, and Alan Jackson), and why change programs don’t produce change (Michael Beer, Russell A. Eisenstat, and Bert Spector).

Each article includes two invaluable reader-friendly devices, “Idea in Brief” and “Idea in Practice” sections, that facilitate, indeed expedite review of key points. Some articles also include brief commentaries on even more specific subjects such as “Dysfunctional Routines” (Pages 238-29), “Tempered Radicals as Everyday Leaders” (Page 64), “Adaptive Versus Technical Change: Whose Problem Is It?” (Paged 105), “Getting Groups to Change” (Pages 124-125), “Big Assumptions: How Our Perceptions Shape Our Reality” (Pages 132-133), “Calculating DICE [duration, integrity, commitment, and effort] Scores” (Pages 166-168) and “Tracking Corporate Change” (Pages 183-184).

These ten articles do not – because they obviously cannot – explain everything that one knows to know and understand about formulating and then executing an effective strategy. However, I do not know of another single source at this price (currently $14.41 from Amazon) that provides more and better information, insights, and advice that will help leaders to achieve success in the business dimensions explained so well by the authors of the articles in this volume.


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