Leading Change

Leading change…sound familiar?  Like Business school I bet.  I just got done reading Our Iceberg Is Melting by John Kotter and Holger Rathgeber.  It’s an interesting concept to go back to our roots and communicate complex ideas through storytelling.  This book takes us through the change process by sharing a fable of a penguin colony that learns that the iceberg that they live on is melting and they have to find a resolution or they will pay heavier consequences.  But think about that…how many of us live on icebergs?  We see some major change to our lifestyle or to our business coming, but we are not quite sure how to handle it.

Throughout the story we see that the colony takes on a major change and decides to move to a new iceberg.  Think about that in your life – a new city, a new strategy, a new product line, or discontinuation of product line or operating unit.  In the book, Kotter uses his previous research from Leading Change and the eight steps of successful change management as a process that the penguin colony to goes through and shows the reader how emotions and “real life” are involved in change.  These are things that ALL of us can relate to in our own lives.

The eight steps of successful change management (Kotter, 1996) include:

  1. Create a sense of urgency
  2. Pull together the Guiding Team
  3. Develop the change vision and strategy
  4. Communicate for understanding and buy-in
  5. Empower others to act
  6. Produce short-term wins
  7. Don’t let up
  8. Create a new culture

Whether you fear change or embrace change, understanding change is necessary and understanding how to manage change is even more important.

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