What you can learn from ‘The Heart of Change’ by John Kotter (2012, 208 pages)

In The Heart of Change, John Kotter outlines his eight steps to make change stick. This is a good, short read, with a strong research foundation. As with much recent work on change, Kotter argues that you must appeal to feeling and emotions. In short, he argues that you must help people see, feel and then change. He is a proponent of using stories to communicate vision, and that a vision should be an end state – a postcard of the destination, and that a strategy is how that vision should be achieved.

Kotter argues that for change to work you need to:
1. Increase urgency
2. Build the guiding team
3. Get the vision right
4. Communicate for buy-in
5. Empower action
6. Create short-term wins
7. Don’t let up
8. Make change ‘stick’

The Heart of Change provides a clear framework to help change/transformation efforts.  While Kotter’ framework has had critics in the past (for example, originally they were presented as sequential steps), this new book rebuffs most of the criticisms.  Read this book to get frameworks for planning change, and reinforce step 8 by reading Chip & Dan’s tactical advice on making ideas stick.

Link to book on Amazon

Link to John Kotter’s webpage