Sunday, February 17, 2008

Leading Change

I finally got time to read one of those great books that sometimes gets bought and sits on the shelf a while. John Kotter's book called "Leading Change" is one I have had a few years but never got it along on the plane to read. I did on my recent trip and managed to finish the entire book over a couple days. It was a read well worth it.

I believe that managing change is the biggest challenge and the biggest opportunity we have ahead of us. Change happens. We can deny it, try to ignore it, run from it - handle it any way you wish - but the train has left the station and change will happen. My opinion is that to really succeed we have to learn how to handle change. It starts in our own minds and our attitude toward it. Are you a change embracer or do you resist at every corner? It flows to our employees and families - they follow based on how we lead. But inevitably the real opportunity is for us to help our customers adapt to change. We are change agents as we serve our clients. We bring change constantly into their lives. We have to help them feel good about that change and adapt to it. That is our job. How well we do it will determine much of our success.

Kotter gives us great examples and methods to help lead change. At the core of the book, is a eight-step process:

Establishing a sense of urgency
Creating the guiding coalition
Developing a vision and strategy
Communicating the change vision
Empowering broad-based action
Generating short-term wins
Consolidating gains and producing more change
Anchoring new approaches in the culture

The opportunity is here today. We need to become leaders of change. We need to start with ourselves and then lead those in our circle to embrace change and make it part of their daily lifestyle. Change happens. What are you doing to help lead people there.

1 comment:

Michael said...

I actually believe that some leaders are such change agents that they can instill too much change in an organization. These leaders are great turn around leaders.
When things are cooking along nicely, let them cook.
The challenge is to know when change is appropriate or required. Then great leaders step up, accept complete responsibility and lead the organization to the shining city on the hill.