Leading Change, by John P. Kotter Summary


This book presents an explanation of why efforts to implement real changes often fail, and how executives and leaders can turn the thinking processes and behavior of large groups around.

Kotter's book is divided into three sections.  In the opening two chapters, Kotter provides an explanation for why more than 100 companies failed to remake themselves into better competitors, identifying a high level of complacency and a low sense of urgency as the two most significant impediments to change. Kotter says managers and leaders are quite different, explaining that a manager is trained to think in a linear, risk-limiting manner. Transformational change, however, can only be attained when true leaders push forward on several fronts at once - eight of them to be exact.

Kotter's Eight Stage Change Process provides a detailed framework to guide corporate leaders in their quests for change. The eight stage process follows from the errors in leading change (1) Establishing a sense of Urgency, (2) Creating a guiding coalition, (3) Developing a vision and strategy, (4) Communicating the changed vision, (5) Empowering broad-base action, (6) Generating short-term wins, (7) Consolidating gains and producing more change, (8) Anchoring new approaches in culture.

In the final two chapters, Kotter convincingly argues for promotion and recognition of teams rather than individuals.

Kotter's lack of jargon and industry buzzwords helps make this book a must-read for anyone who is currently occupying a leadership role, as well as for those who aspire to this position. Managers will be able to recognize their own situations from Kotter's examples, and can easily apply the same principles therein. 

Recommended Resources

For a more in-depth, comprehensive summary of Leading Change, check out GetAbstract.com

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