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Is your organization going through a significant change? What are the best books on change management that can help you smoothly initiate the transition?
Changes at work can be scary, especially for people who rely on a steady routine. But changes are bound to happen, and you need to be prepared to overcome any bumps in the road during that transition.
Below we’ve gathered the eight best books on change management that every leader needs to keep on their shelf.
Best Books on Change Management
Changes are necessary for every organization. With the market always shifting and new technologies being introduced, people have to get on board with new trends and practices. Additionally, leaders and employees alike are always moving in and out, so accustomed workers must get used to new team members.
To help your employees and yourself through these transitions, check out these books on change management.
We all experience change in our lives. It can be distressing or rewarding, depending on our approach. Who Moved My Cheese is a parable that demonstrates in practical terms how to handle change better and avoid pitfalls by practicing a few key principles: anticipate and prepare for change, overcome fears, envision success, and enjoy change. By depicting simple, memorable characters and scenarios, the parable gives you a framework for responding to change successfully.
Our Iceberg Is Melting is a fable about a colony of penguins who realize that their home might be destroyed soon and that they need to move the entire colony to a new iceberg. However, despite the looming threat, making such a big change isn’t easy. This book by Dr. John Kotter and Holger Rathgeber will teach you, through the penguin fable, the necessary steps in making major changes to your company or your personal life.
Organizations must change to survive, yet periods of transformation are often when companies are most likely to fail. But that doesn’t have to be the case.
Managing Transitions is a guidebook for any leader that wants to survive organizational change. Renowned organizational consultants William and Susan Bridges argue that, to accept external change, organizational leaders and team members must first go through the three-step emotional (internal) process of transition. Using the well-established Bridges Transition Model, William and Susan Bridges outline a set of human-centered management strategies that enable organizational leaders to support their teams through the necessary transition and emerge a more stable, cohesive, and purpose-driven organization.
In Leading Change, John P. Kotter argues that, in a fully globalized and ever-evolving economic environment, successful firms are those that can implement successful long-term change. Successful organizational change, Kotter argues, depends on the quality of leadership―people who can articulate a vision, inspire belief and confidence in it, and empower mid-level and junior managers to implement it on a tactical level. He outlines a set of strategies and techniques to help change leaders shape and direct organizational transformation, including establishing a sense of urgency, articulating a clear vision, setting measurable benchmarks to gauge success, and changing the culture to ensure that the new way of doing things lasts.
Most companies achieve success by responding to what their customers want and consistently pursuing higher profits. However, when confronting certain innovations, the strategies that help companies thrive under normal circumstances can instead lead to their demise.
According to Clayton M. Christensen, these kinds of innovations—called disruptive innovations—don’t come along very often. But, when they do, they change how companies make and market products, the types of customers that buy them, and how customers use them. The Innovator’s Dilemma explains how to recognize disruptive innovations, why they cause industry-leading organizations to fail, and how to avoid the same fate.
The premise of change is simple: Nothing changes unless … something changes. However, the outcome is less simple. Despite your best efforts, some changes fail while others succeed—and it’s usually unclear why this happens.
As it turns out, successful change depends on three essential elements: 1) your rational side, 2) your emotional side, and 3) the environment you shape. In Switch, Chip Heath and Dan Heath discuss the role of each of these elements and how to harness their power for change—first, by giving your rational side clear direction; second, by harnessing the energy of your emotional side; and third, by shaping a change-supporting environment.
The Fifth Discipline is Peter Senge’s guide to creating an evolving organization: an organization that encourages its members to constantly learn and develop their skills and, in turn, use those skills to improve the organization. Senge’s method for doing this is to practice five different disciplines, culminating in the most important discipline of all: systems thinking. For Senge—a systems scientist—systems thinking is the key to understanding how an organization works and how it fits into the much larger system of the world.
In Reinventing Organizations, business consultant Frédéric Laloux identifies an emerging breed of company that operates from a new set of rules. Instead of serving an ego-driven focus on power, these visionary organizations embody principles of self-direction and individual authenticity while following a collective higher purpose. Laloux claims that humanity is on the cusp of a new paradigm in how we organize ourselves and suggests ways that businesses can adapt to this transition that will elevate how we work and how we live.
These books have plenty of tips and tools for any organizational changes that you’re planning. You’ll thank yourself later that you have these books as an aid if obstacles get in your way.
What are some other books on change management that you would recommend? Leave us your suggestions in the comments below!
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