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The Heart of Change: Real-Life Stories of How People Change Their Organizations [Hardcover]

John P Kotter , Dan S Cohen
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 July 2002

John Kotter's international bestseller Leading Change struck a powerful chord with legions of managers everywhere. It acknowledged the cynicism, pain, and fear they faced in implementing large-scale change-but also armed them with an eight-step plan of action for leaping boldly forward in a turbulent world.

Now, Kotter and coauthor Dan S. Cohen delve deeper into the subject of change to get to the heart of how change actually happens. Through compelling, real-life stories from people in the trenches, in all kinds of organizations, the authors attack the fundamental problem that underlies every major transformation: How do you go beyond simply getting your message across to truly changing people's behavior?

Based on interviews within over 100 organizations in the midst of large-scale change, The Heart of Change delivers the simple yet provocative answer to this question, forever altering the way organizations and individuals approach change. While most companies believe change happens by making people think differently, Kotter and Cohen say the key lies in making them feel differently. They introduce a new dynamic-"see-feel-change"-that fuels action by showing people potent reasons for change that spark their emotions.

Organized around the revolutionary eight-step change process introduced in Leading Change, this story-driven book shows how the best change leaders use not just reports or analysis, but gloves, video cameras, airplanes, office design, and other concrete elements to impel people toward positive action. The authors reveal how this appeal to the heart-over the mind-motivates people to overcome even daunting obstacles to change and produce breathtaking results.

For individuals in every walk of life and companies in every stage of change, this compact, no-nonsense book captures the heart-and the how-of successful change.

John P. Kotter, world-renowned expert on leadership at the Harvard Business School, is the author of many books, including the award-winning, best-selling Leading Change. Dan S. Cohen is a Principal with Deloitte Consulting LLC.



Product details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business School Press (1 July 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1578512549
  • ISBN-13: 978-1578512546
  • Product Dimensions: 24.3 x 16.2 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 18,779 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Amazon Review

The Heart of Change is John Kotter's follow-up to his enormously popular first book, Leading Change, in which he outlined a framework for implementing change that sidesteps many of the pitfalls common to organisations looking to turn themselves around. The essence of Kotter's message is this: the reason so many change initiatives fail is because they rely too much on "data gathering, analysis, report writing, and presentations" instead of a more creative approach aimed at grabbing the "feelings that motivate useful action". In The Heart of Change, Kotter, with the help of Dan Cohen, a partner at Deloitte Consulting, shows how his eight-step approach has worked at over 100 organisations. And in just about each case, change happened because the players were lead to "see" and "feel" the change. In one example, a sales representative underscores a sense of urgency to change a manufacturing process by showing a videotape interview of an unhappy customer; in another example, a purchasing manager makes his point to senior management about corporate waste by displaying on the company's boardroom table the 424 different kinds of gloves that the company had procured through different vendors at vastly different prices. Well written and loaded with real-life examples and practical advice The Heart of Change towers over other change management titles. Managers and employees at organisations both big and small will find much to draw from. --Harry C Edwards

About the Author

John P. Kotter is the Konosuke Matsushita Professor of Leadership at the Harvard Business School. Dan Cohen is a consultant with Deloitte and Touche Consulting Group.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good sequel to Leading Change 8 Oct 2002
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The excellent Leading Change was the "how to" book. Kotter's sequel, The Heart of Change, is the "how did" version; filled with case studies of each step of the way.
Kotter exudes that rational business cases usually only provoke incremental change and that's what most organisations do. He describes the need for attention grabbing stimuli,to the 3 senses: Seeing,Hearing and Feeling, to provoke quantum change.
Step 1, Increase Urgency, alone is worth the price of the book.
Harrison Owen in his recent book, The Power of Spirit - How Organisations Transform, describes the importance of stories (and myths) to shaping corporate culture. Kotter's book is filled with such stories of defining moments.
I've given Heart of Change 4 stars because I think the net value of the book is incremental to its predecessor, Leading Change.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must-Read! 17 Jun 2005
By Rolf Dobelli TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
By interviewing 400 individuals from 130 businesses to get their change sagas, authors John P. Kotter and Dan S. Cohen further anchor the fresh approach to organizational change that Kotter presented in 'Leading Change' (1996). Their main insight: organizations change when their people change. And, people change for emotional reasons. Some readers may think that the emphasis on feelings is "soft" or even "distracting," but the authors warn against relying on spreadsheets or reports to promote transformation. They insist that the best way to engage the emotions is not to "tell" but to "show" - in videos, displays or even office design. The visual sense, they point out, processes enormous amounts of complex information instantly. At the end of each chapter, the authors include useful, modestly titled, "Exercises That Might Help." With appreciation for that level of detail, we recommend this illuminating book. Kotter has presented his eight-step change model before, but this practical, compact work demonstrates - with plainspoken stories of real-life managers and companies - how it functions. Thus the form of the book - "showing" - exactly replicates its main point.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By Robert Morris TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
This book first published in 2002 and I recently re-read it, curious to know how well John Kotter's core concepts have held up since then. My conclusion? Very well indeed. The Heart of Change is in several respects a sequel to Kotter's previously published classic, Leading Change, in which he observes that "Over the past decade, I have watched more than a hundred companies try to remake themselves into significantly better competitors...Their efforts have gone under many banners: total quality management, reengineering, right-sizing, restructuring, cultural change, and turnaround. But in almost every case the basic goal has been the same: to make fundamental changes in how business is conducted in order to help cope with a new, more challenging market environment. A few of these corporate change efforts have been very successful. A few have been utter failures. Most fall somewhere in between, with a distinct tilt toward the lower end of the scale. The lessons that can be drawn are interesting and will probably be relevant to even more organizations in the increasingly competitive business environment of the coming decade."

Whereas in Leading Change Kotter examines the eight steps people tend to follow to produce new ways of operating, in this volume he and Dan Cohen examine "the core problem people face in all of those steps, and how to successfully deal with the problem." And the central issue is never strategy, structure, culture, or systems. "All these elements, and others, are important. But the core of the matter is always about changing the behavior of people, and behavior change happens in highly successful situations mostly by speaking to people's feelings." (Those who do that effectively have what Daniel Goleman characterizes as "emotional intelligence.
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