Book review: The Heart of Change
Categorised under: Book & product reviews
The Heart of Change
John P. Kotter and Dan S. Cohen
Before starting to review this title, I’m going to go back to the earlier title that outlined the fundamental change process advocated by John Kotter: Leading Change. My review of this highlighted the practical value of this book, and the depth of experience it distilled.
Since writing that review, I have found myself returning again and again to Leading Change. In my mentoring work around redesigning intranets or developing KM strategies, this book has given me a strong foundation for supporting our clients. Everything that I’ve seen reinforces my belief that Kotter has captured a fundamental approach to change that addresses the issues that have bogged down organisations everywhere.
It was therefore with some enthusiasm that I started into The Heart of Change. This book builds on the process outlined in the earlier title, and gives real-world case studies of how to put it into practice. (Note: Leading Change is required reading, as this book pre-supposes an understanding of the overall approach to organisational change.)
Key stories are presented, like laying out the 424 different types of gloves purchased across a nation-wide organisation, or stopping the production of an airline until the required parts came in (instead of trying to “catch-up” at the end of the production line).
It would be easy to dismiss this book as “yet another storytelling book”, but that wouldn’t do it justice. Yes, it uses key stories drawn from real organisations to present the message of the book, and yes, this makes it a very enjoyable and easy read.
Around these stories however, Kotter drives home the importance of targeting the hearts of staff when implementing change. Again and again, he returns to the need to capture a deeper emotional response in order to get real change. While it sounds somewhat “new age”, Kotter backs this approach up with plenty of concrete examples and details.
In summary then, anyone looking to implement change in an organisation (whether enhancing an intranet or merging two departments) should read these two books.
Overall score: 9/10