Tag Archives: John Kotter

Our Book on Organizing Change Features Three Key Principles

When Bill Lee and I wrote Organizing Change (San Francisco:  Pfeiffer-Jossey Bass, 2003), we did so from a large-scale perspective.  Our premise was that it is easier to consider change from a high-level such as a one that affects an entire organization, then, whittle it down to whatever level you want to use, such as a division, department, or unit.

While the magnitude of a change may differ by size, the principles do not.  As you read our book, you will find three major concerns that you want to be aware of for any change that you lead or initiate.  These are to be:

inclusive – go as deep as possible in the organizational charts of the areas affected by the change; get input from as many people as you can; it is difficult to argue against a change you helped create.  Remember what Covey said years ago – “without involvement there is not commitment.”  Make the change “our initiative” not “mine.”

systemic – consider how the change will affect all types of stakeholders; consider other departments or units in the organization, internal and external customers, consumers, and so forth.

systematic – organize the change phase by phase; decide who does what when;  get it right the first time, and you will not lose productivity while kicking off the change initiative.

When you lead change, you are in the driver’s seat, not the passenger’s seat.  You make decisions that craft and create important paths that various stakeholders take to solve a problem, correct a difficulty, or make something  that is “good” even better.  What is important, however, is to know that you never begin with the change initiative.  You always begin with the recognition of a problem, issue, or uncomfortable situation.  That principle will remind you of John Kotter’s first step in his change process, which is URGENCY.   In fact, he wrote an entire book about that step, which you can purchase a synopsis of from 15MinuteBusinessBooks.com.

It is amazing how many people I have taught this process to in professional workshops and courses over the last ten years.  I remember the first one for Citi so well, as if it were yesterday.  Right now, we have two weeks to go in the MBA course “Leading Change” at the University of Dallas College of Business, where I use this book and teach practical implementation of the process.  In this course, we don’t talk about change – we make change.

I know it works.  We would not have had this many interested people if the process were unsuccessful.  Fortunately, I hear back from so many individuals who implement the program in their organizations, that I am inspired to continue to share it with others.

At Creative Communication Network, we offer two paths for change.   We do this in workshops, consulting, and coaching for both paths.

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Take MANAGING CHANGE

if you want to:

Cope with change you didn’t create

Work in a change-friendly environment

Reduce personal anxiety about change

Produce an environment of freedom

Look for positive changes to implement

 

Take LEADING CHANGE

if you want to:

Reduce the impact of a problem

Design an organized change initiative

Gain commitment by influencing others involved in the change

Boost the positive impact of change on those affected by it

Measure and evaluate the effectiveness of the change

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We’re really excited about these programs.  We will be going into companies as well as conducting public workshops.  Complete information, including agendas, outlines, objectives, pricing, and other details are available by calling (972) 980-0383 or sending an e-Mail to:  

Don’t wait!  Join the fully satisfied individuals from many organizations who have benefited from these programs.

Here is how to get the book that we use in Leading Change.  It is now a print-on-demand book directly from the publisher.  After you get it, you can contact me for the templates that are featured within the book.  This is the link to use:

Organizing Change: An Inclusive, Systemic Approach to Maintain Productivity and Achieve Results (0787964433) cover image
Organizing Change: An Inclusive, Systemic Approach to Maintain Productivity and Achieve Results
Authors:  William W. Lee and Karl J. Krayer
ISBN: 978-0-7879-6443-6
272 pages
May 2003

How We Select Books for Presentation and Publishing

Based upon my blog post on Friday, I have received quite a few questions and comments about how we select our books, and why I would select a book that I dislike so much.  These questions provide me the opportunity to share the context with you and explain “how we do what we do” concerning books we present at the First Friday Book Synopsis and on our site, 15MinuteBusinessBooks.com.

First, every book we select must either have appeared, or we believe has the great potential to appear, on a best-seller list  that we find credible.  There have been occasions where a book we have presented has not yet made it on a list, but we believe that it will do so in the very near future.  A good example of that is the recent best-seller by John Kotter, which Randy presented as soon as it appeared in print.  We do not present self-published books, nor books from our friends who write a book and ask us to do that.  In most cases, we ask them if they are interested in presenting a “bonus program,” where they can sell and present their own book, beginning at 8:30 a.m.  Very few of these have been successful, and we do not have very many of them any longer.

Second, we owe allegiance to no author or publishing company.  With rare exceptions when Bob Morris, who reviewed books for Amazon.com, gave us a copy he was finished with, we purchase every book ourselves that we present at retail prices.  As you are aware, we also give those away at the end of the First Friday Book Synopsis.  We have never presented a book based upon a phone call from an author or publishing company.  Never.

Third, we do not select books based upon whether we agree with them or not. Our policy is that the presentations are not book reviews or editorials. Our purpose is to transfer the information from the book to the audience, and we urge participants that if they disagree, devalue, or feel offended about what the hear, not to “kill the messenger,” as we did not write these books. Through the First Friday Book Synopsis, we do not want to endorse books or book content. I will admit that occasionally our enthusiasm has suggested that a book was “terrific” and “worth a careful read.”  On Friday, July 11, I  turned off the recorder is off, and chose to tell the world what I thought about my book, and later, repeated that in a blog.  It was awful, and I thought you ought to know.

Fourth, we have made a policy not to present or publish personal finance books.  However, we have included higher-level financial books that have to do with content such as the general economy or dealings with foreign countries that goes beyond building individual wealth, investing in stocks, and so forth.

Fifth, over the last year, we have moved toward handouts that go beyond “presentation outlines.”  They contain much more than we can present in 15 minutes, and include content that participants need to study on their own time.  This is actually based upon input from our audience members.  Our pledge is to always tell you where to look on the handout (e.g., “top of page 5”) even though we cannot cover all of it.

Finally, the First Friday Book Synopsis is a “labor for love.”  We do not make any money on this event.  Every month that makes a small profit is followed by a month that takes a small loss.  Our money comes from participants who bring us in to their organizations to present programs based upon our expertise.  We are appreciative of those of you who have made room for us, either in your own company, or under your umbrella as a consultant.

I hope this explanation has been satisfying to you.

I hope these comments are helpful, and above all, thank you for all your support in 17 years for the First Friday Book Synopsis, the 10 years of 15MinuteBusinessBooks.com, and the 7 years of our blog.

Coming Next, February 4, for the First Friday Book Synopsis – The Orange Revolution, and All the Devils are Here

Nearly 120 gathered this morning for the January, 2011 First Friday Book Synopsis.  Karl Krayer and I have been presenting these synopses/briefings on best-selling business books every month since April, 1998.  This morning, Karl presented Buy-in by John Kotter, and I presented Power by Jeffrey Pfeffer.  They were both practical, useful, important books.  (Note:  Karl’s handout had a terrific, valuable breakdown of the major objections, and solutions to meet these objections, for those seeking to get their ideas across).

You will be able to purchase our synopses, with audio + handout, in a couple of weeks on our companion web site, 15minutebusinessbooks.com.  (Many other book presentations are available on the site).

For next month, Friday, February 4, Karl will present a synopsis of The Orange Revolution: How One Great Team Can Transform an Entire Organization by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton.  (Free Press.  2010).  You can read Bob Morris’ review of this book on our blog by clicking here.

I will present a synopsis of All the Devils Are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis by Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera.  (Portfolio Hardcover.  2010).  This book is currently #1 on the New York Times Hardcover Business Best-Sellers list, and is considered by many to be the top book regarding the financial crisis of 2008.   (Note:  one of the other top best sellers regarding this crisis is The Big Short by Michael Lewis.  You can also purchase my synopsis of this book at our companion web site, 15minutebusinessbooks.com).

The First Friday Book Synopsis provides a great breakfast, in a spectacular setting (the Park City Club), with great networking, and substantive, useful content – all in a fast-paced gathering.  If you will be in the DFW area on February 4, come join us.  Registration will be open soon – in a day, or two, just click the Register Now! sunburst on our home page.

Click image for larger view

Which is It? Overmanaged and Underled — OR, Undermanaged and Overled? How about Undermanaged and Underled?

In Leading Change, John Kotter states that some organizations try to implement a change program which is then likely to be “overmanaged and underled.”  In The Leadership Pipeline:  How to Build the Leadership-Powered Company by Ram Charan, Stephen Drotter, and James Noel, that theme is more broadly developed.  They write:

Because of the new business realities, including ever increasing and unpredictable complexity; AND, because businesses “dramatically reduced their investment in talent development, greatly reducing or even eliminating training programs, development assignments, and time for coaching,” the famine for leaders is acute.

1.              The need for leaders has grown exponentially.
2.              There are not enough leaders to meet the demand.
3.              There is not enough “talent” from which to develop enough leaders.
4.              The inevitable consequence is that many (most?) companies are at least partly underled, thus underperforming.

Other authors, almost too numerous to mention, echo such sentiments.  Now comes The Best Leadership Is Good Management:  Too many so-called leaders fancy themselves above the messy, but crucial, work of managing by Henry Mintzberg in the latest Business Week (published on-line on Aug. 6, 2009).  Mr. Mintzberg argues that the opposite is true.  He states:

Corporate America has had too much of fancy leadership disconnected from plain old management.
We’re overled and undermanaged. As someone who teaches, writes, and advises about management, I hear stories about this every day: about CEOs who don’t manage so much as deem—pronouncing performance targets, for instance, that are supposed to be met by whoever is doing the real managing.

So – which is it?  I suggest that it is both.  I think there has been a failure in management.  This is the point of such books as Execution and Six Disciplines Execution Revolution.  Execution is all about management processes, actually getting the job done, well, and on time.  But I think we also face a failure of leadership.  It is leadership failure that keeps companies from facing an uncertain future with a strategy to survive and thrive.  How many have said that General Motors should have seen the changing landscape far before it did?  Leadership is about seeing the big picture, setting the direction—and then making sure that the job gets done.

So – I agree that we’ve got to get a whole lot better at management.  But we’ve also got to get a whole lot better at leadership.

Robert Greenleaf nailed this years ago in Servant Leadership.  He described two kinds of leaders.  His terms were different:  Conceptualizers and Operators.  But the two roles are the same – an organization needs leaders to help them see the future (conceptualizers), and leaders who can make that future happen (operators).

So, here’s Randy weighing in on the debate.  I think Mr. Mintzberg is both right and wrong.  He is right – we are undermanaged.  But he is wrong – we are not overled.  Too many American organizations are, sadly, both undermanaged and underled.