Change

by Ian Saunders, Antony Aitken, Ray Charlton and David Flatman

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Other topics

Change is such an all encompassing process that most topics could be useful in some way. Here are some of the more obvious ones.

Appreciative Inquiry

Culture

Political Intelligence

Stress Management

Goal Setting

Performance Management

Managing Upwards

Risk Management

Project Management

Solutions Focus Approach

Books

Leading change

John Kotter, published by Harvard Business School Press, 1996, 187 pages

What will it take to bring your organisation successfully into the 21st century? The world’s foremost expert on business leadership distils 25 years of experience and wisdom based on lessons he has learned from scores of organisations and businesses to write this visionary guide. The result is a very personal book that is at once inspiring, clear-headed, and filled with important implications for the future. The pressures on organisations to change will only increase over the next decades. Yet the methods managers have used in the attempt to transform their companies into stronger competitors – total quality management, re-engineering, right sizing, restructuring, cultural change and turnarounds – routinely fall short, says Kotter, because they fail to alter behaviour. Emphasising again and again, the critical need for leadership to make change happen, this book provides the vicarious experience and positive role models for leaders to emulate. Kotter identifies an eight-step process that every organisation must go through to achieve its goal, and shows where and how people – good people – often derail.

The heart of change: real-life stories of how people change their organisations

John Kotter and Dan Cohen, published by Harvard Business School Press, 2002, 190 pages

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 co-author 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 organisations, 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 behaviour? Based on interviews within over 100 organisations in the midst of large-scale change, the writers deliver the simple yet provocative answer to this question, forever altering the way organisations 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. Organised 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.

The expertise of the change agent: public performance and backstage activity

David Buchanan and David Boddy, published by Prentice Hall, 1992, 176 pages

What competences are required to manage organisational change effectively in the 1990s? What demands do complexity and pace make on the change agent? How can the relevant management expertise be developed? These are the central questions addressed in this book. The authors review recent commentary in the field, identify the limitations of advice derived from that commentary (from the point of view of the practitioner) and introduce a fresh perspective to guide the change agent.

The paradox of control in organisations (complexity and emergence in organisations)

Phillip Streatfield, published by Routledge, 2001, 176 pages

Business leaders are expected to be ‘in control’ of the situation in which their businesses find themselves. But how can organisational leaders and managers control matters entirely out of their hands, such as the next action a competitor takes, or an unexpected change in the law? In this book, Philip Streatfield reflects on his own experiences as a manager to explore the question of who or what is ‘in control’ in an organisation.

Adopting the perspective of complex responsive processes developed in the first two volumes of this series, the author takes self-organisation and emergence as central themes in thinking about life in organisations. He focuses on the tension between spontaneously forming patterns of conversation, and intentional actions, arguing that the order of organisations emerges through a combination of collective interaction and individual intentions. The argument is developed by considering the day-to-day experiences of life in a large pharmaceutical organisation.

Complexity and group processes: a radically social understanding of individuals

Ralph D Stacey, published by Routledge, 2003, 368 pages

The increasing complexity of interdependence between people in modern life makes it more important than ever to understand processes of human relating. In the West we tend to base our understanding of relating on the individual; This book suggests an alternative way.

Goal directed project management: effective tehcniques and strategies

Erling Andersen et al, published by Kogan Page, 2009, 256 pages

Praise and reviews include ‘Well argued and authoritative... a very helpful approach to a subject which is central to the business of managing change in modern organisations’ – The Work Foundation and ‘Racy and pragmatic... a worthwhile addition to the literature’ – European Management Journal. Goal directed project management (GDPM) is a unique methodology that has been developed and refined by the authors over 20 years. During this period, GDPM has been adopted as a standard approach by organisations all over the world.

This fully-updated third edition of Goal Directed Project Management highlights the close relationship between managing change and the key ideas of GDPM. The central focus of GDPM is to develop an understanding of and commitment to managing successful and lasting change. Throughout the text, the authors constantly emphasise the need to develop people’s involvement and commitment to the project. The authors refer to this as ‘PSO’ (people, systems and organisation). The book contains detailed and practical guidance on how to plan, organise and control these PSO projects effectively by presenting the methods and tools that will significantly increase the probability of success.

Birth of the Chaordic age

Dee Hock, published by Berrett-Koehler, 1999, 345 pages

Written by the founder, president, and CEO emeritus of VISA International, this is the story of how VISA International was conceived, founded and established. It is also the life story of Dee Hock, a maverick banker who put his own wild ideas into practice to create something the likes of which the world had never seen. This text challenges conventional ideas with a radical philosophy about the nature of the world, the role of money and organisations in the world, reinventing leadership and management, and transforming business and society.

Organisation culture and leadership

Edgar H Schein, published by Jossey Bass, 2004, 464 pages

In this third edition of his classic book, Edgar Schein shows how to transform the abstract concept of culture into a practical tool that managers and students can use to understand the dynamics of organisations and change. Organisational pioneer Schein updates his influential understanding of culture, explaining what it is, how it is created, how it evolves, and how it can be changed. Focusing on today’s business realities, Schein draws on a wide range of contemporary research to redefine culture, offers new information on the topic of occupational cultures, and demonstrates the crucial role leaders play in successfully applying the principles of culture to achieve organisational goals. He also tackles the complex question of how an existing culture can be changed – one of the toughest challenges of leadership. The result is a vital resource for understanding and practicing organisational effectiveness.

The fifth discipline fieldbook: strategies and tools for building a learning organisation

Peter Senge et al, published by Nicholas Brealey, 1998, 593 pages

This guide to establishing learning organisations within existing companies provides exercises for individuals and teams, suggested approaches, and success stories.

Managing on the edge

Richard T Pascale, published by Penquin, 1991, 352 pages

This is an exploration of why companies decline, looking particularly at why so few of the top 500 companies in the US have kept their place in the last ten years. The author approaches the question partly by looking at Japanese companies which have stayed successful, particularly Honda, and partly by a close look at big American companies, such as Ford and General Electric. He concludes that US and British companies tend to be run by small cliques of people who, no matter how hard they work and how determined they are, eventually run out of ideas, and that Japanese companies are much more democratically managed and thus more creative.

Changing conversations in organisations: a complexity approach to change (complexity and emergence in organisations)

Dr Patricia Shaw, published by Routledge, 2002, 208 pages

This book draws on the theoretical foundations laid out in earlier volumes of this series to describe an approach to organisational change and development informed by a complexity perspective. It sets out to make sense of the experience of being in the midst of change. Unlike many books that presume clarity of foresight or hindsight, the author focuses on the essential uncertainty of participating in evolving events as they happen and inquires into the creative possibilities of such participation. Most methodologies for organisational change are firmly rooted in systems thinking, as are many approaches to process consultation and facilitation. This book questions the way such thinking suggests that we can choose and design new futures for our organisations in the way we often hope.

Avoiding the widely favoured use of two by two matrices, idealised schemas and simplified typologies that characterise much of the management literature on change, this book encourages the reader to live in the immediate paradoxes and complexities of organisational life, where we must act with intention into the unknowable. The author uses detailed reflective narrative to evoke and elaborate on the experience of participating in the conversational processes of human organising. It takes as central the conversational life of organisations as the activity in which we perpetually sustain and change the possibilities for going on together. This book will be valuable to consultants, managers and leaders, indeed all those who are dissatisfied with idealised models of change and are searching for ways to develop an effective change practice as participants seeking to make a difference.

Freedom from command and control: a better way to make the work work

John Seddon, published by Vanguard Consulting, 2003, 300 pages

This is a management book that challenges convention and aims to appeal to a wide target audience. Seddon argues that while many commentators acknowledge that command and control is failing us, no one provides an alternative. His contention is that the alternative can only be understood when you see the failings of command and control by taking the better – systems – view. There is little in the book that you would find in a normal management curriculum. Seddon is scathing and controversial about leadership theorists, maintaining that leadership is being able to talk about how things work with the people who do it.

The book provides practical advice and examples of how to put this into place. Packed with illustrations of the unintended consequences of command-and-control thinking, you will be amazed that management of our organisations should be so appalling. You will see how customer service is poor and carries high costs and that changing the way the work is designed and managed will result in lower costs and better service. But, as Seddon points out, these are things managers cannot ‘see’ from their current position. Managers don’t know what they don’t know. Seddon’s case is that taking this view teaches managers to change their thinking, and he shows how the very observations they make when understanding what he calls ‘the what and why of current performance as a system’ become the building blocks of the systems solution. And also illustrates the solutions for the cases he uses.

Terms of engagement – changing the way we change organisations

Richard Axelrod, published by Berrett-Kohler, 2003, 240 pages

The current 20-year-old approach to change management is failing, producing cynicism, resistance, and resentment – in short, the ‘Dilbert Organisation.’ Axelrod exposes the inherent weakness in the widely-accepted Change Management Paradigm and provides leaders with a powerful new alternative: The Engagement Paradigm. Engagement replaces mechanistic approaches to change with the four essential principles that lead to an engaged organisation – Widening the Circle of Involvement, Connecting People to Each Other and Ideas, Creating Communities for Action, and Embracing Democratic Principles. These four principles enable leaders to create the energetic, flexible, responsive organisations necessary to thrive and prosper in today’s world. Balanced, compelling, smoothly blending theory with practical examples, this practical guidebook shows how to engage the entire organisation in the change process.

The performance driver framework

Ian Saunders et al, published by Transition Partnerships, 2002

Websites

There is an archive of a Special Interest Group on the Chartered Quality Institute website which explores the Deming approach - the implementation of an alternative management style as introduced by the late Dr W Edwards Deming, the renowned contributor to both management and the quality improvement revolution worldwide. Change and quality go hand in hand and there is lots of good material on this site.

Authors

You can also contact the authors directly: Ian Saunders, Antony Aitken, Ray Charlton and David Flatman