Tag Archives: leading change

Book Review – Switch: How To Change Things When Change is Hard

Switch is a book on change management. The publication has similarities to John Kotter’s Leading Change. The authors make the distinction between emotional and analytical motivations for change and argue persuasively that successful change requires both. This is insightful because most people tend to use either analytical or emotional arguments depending on their personality, but this is incomplete and if the two techniques are not combined change will fail. The authors use anecdotes to support their case, for example they detail how it wasn’t enough at a glove manufacturer to tell executives that they made too may different kinds of gloves, the change agents assembled all the gloves on a conference table during a meeting to make their point.

Projects, by definition are changing something, and as with all change, some people will prefer the status quo. The best project managers understand how to drive the change and will benefit from this book, which summarizes a lot of thinking on the topic in an easy to follow way. John Kotter should still be considered the leading author on the topic, but Chip and Dan Heath contribute some new thinking, particularly from a psychological perspective.

Change Management – What’s In It For Me?

Project and portfolio management often require change. In thinking through the change process it’s easy to forget to the ‘what’s in it for me?’ for the participants. If you can create real momentum for change based on the enthusiasm of others, then you don’t have to drive it, as much as shepherd it, which is much more rewarding and less arduous.

Consider starting small, with a group that can demonstrate clear success from the change, so as to encourage viral support for the new initiative. Then your only role it to ensure the channels of communication are working well so that others hear about it. Far far easier than mandating change, regardless of how senior your executive sponsors are. How can you make change benefit others in the organization, rather than yourself?

“It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” Harry S. Truman

There is another perspective on change management here, stressing the importance of repeatition in communication. And a nice post here that draws on Kotter’s change framework. If you read one book on change management, then John Kotter’s is not a bad place to start.

If you’re interested in change management related to PPM, see my recent book.