Monday, May 16, 2005

Heart of Change

Heart of Change. I just read Heart of Change by Kotter and Cohen. The book details a plan plan for how to successfully implement change in an organization. I found it to be easy and informative reading. The writing style is approachable and the authors have done a good job of varying examples to illustrate the concepts they are explaining.

The book gives some general directions on how to use the material presented. It also shows the 8 stages of the change model that the authors are advocating for with a detailed explanation of each.

My initial thoughts about the change model are positive. I can clearly see how this can work. Further, I can use this model as I think back to change I have been involved with or have read about. I think a process like this was used very successfully at my first "real" library job where the small campus library was completely reorganized with the supervisory chain of command being altererd and staff being shifted into new roles. I can also see how a model like this can help to explain historical events. For example, I am sure that this model could be used to explain changes in the British Army after their defeat by the Zulus at Isandlwana to the ability later in the same year to inflict a crushing defeat on the Zulus.

While the book is positive, I can also see a "dark" side to this model. Change can be bad. Not all change is good. All 8 of the steps advocated by Kotter and Cohen can be seen in the successful takeover of the Weimar Republic of Germany to that of the Nazi state. I could use the same steps to introduce "evil" in the library too. :]

All in all, this is a good book that anyone contemplating introducing change should read. I think most librarians are in this situation on a regular basis and this might be a good addition to your office book shelf.

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