Book Reviews - Change Management Books

Me? Change? Not Now. Not Ever! How to Dissolve Hard-Core Resistance to Change in the Workplace
by Jerald Young, 2003
Reviewed by Anne Hull, Hull Strategies, LLC, January, 2009

This is a hands-on guide for managers. You are responsible for implementing a change and have people who have dug in their heels. Dr. Young gives us practical guidance for understanding the logic-based and, more difficult to manage, emotional-based resistance. The Tips for Change Leaders throughout show how the research and examples lead to specific actions that can help us be more resilient and adaptable in uncertainty and continuous changes in our lives and work. Managers and supervisors are often tasked with “make it happen” without the appropriate leadership communication skills to keep people engaged. The second part of this book has reality-based conversations and confrontation responses. There is no sugar-coating or ram-rodding; suggestions are empathetic, respectful and strategic to ensure open communication and understanding of the change and its goals.

Influencer, the Power to Change Anything,
by Patterson, Grenny, Maxfield, McMillan and Switzler, VitalSmarts, LLC 2008. Reviewed by Anne Hull, Hull Strategies, LLC, September, 2008

This is about tackling those persistent, profound and change resistant problems that overwhelm so many of us. Rather than back down because the problems seem insurmountable, we need to see our individual power to influence change. The concepts here are not novel — some have said, "it's just common sense." Yet how many times has the lack of applying common sense allowed a bad situation to continue or become worse? Often it is adding the catalyst ingredient of courage, along with sound research and facts, and the appropriate street/industry or culture "cred" that lead to meaningful change. I liked this book primarily due to the story behind it; the authors' research for demonstrated personal influence, revealed people creating life-changing opportunities through a few seemly simple, yet life-changing actions. They cite several psychologists including the works of Bandura and Milgram, and the stories that illustrate some of our worst human failings and best human victories. Find the 2-3 things that you want to do differently that will have a cascading effect on all other behaviors to create the change you envision. Ensure that you can do it, and that you think it is worth doing. The neat 6-box matrix belies the profound effect we can have on each other. This is a good companion read to The Tipping Point by M. Gladwell.

The Morning After, Making Corporate Mergers Work After the Deal is Sealed,
by Stephen J. Wall and Shannon Rye Wall, Perseus Publishing, 2000. Reviewed by Anne Hull, Hull Strategies, LLC, March, 2007

Most of us have experienced a merger, or known someone who has been through it. Just when we think the merger mania has subsided, the waves come again. Too many mergers end in low morale and failed implementation. Whether an employee or a manager tasked with leading the change, many questions can be answered by knowing what to expect before, during and after the merger. This book provides experienced-based examples that illustrate the analysis, decision-making models and communication strategies for effective mergers. I personally appreciated that each section addressed the “people issues” through each phase of the process. This is a good, easy to understand handbook for leading change.

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