Making Change Happen: the definitive book on change?

It’s not often that you read a management book and think ‘everyone should have a copy of this’ but Jane Northcote –  management consultant and occasional contributor to this blog – has written a book that everyone involved in change should read. Making Change Happen is quite simply

the most straightforward, practical and effective book about change that I have read.

I’ve become aware lately that when people (including myself) write about change we have a great tendency to wrap it up in psychological, spiritual or other terms, very often implicitly or explicitly defining a set of behaviours that are deemed appropriate to enable change. This is interesting but doesn’t always help get us to what change is about – the delivery of results.

Making Change Happen is all about delivering results and, through focusing very clearly on what people who want to effect a change need to do to deliver results, it cuts through the management jargon and psychobabble that often afflicts writing on change management to offer a very direct approach. This approach can be summarised as:

  • Declare your intention – state clearly the change that you want
  • Describe the change – why it’s beneficial, why it needs to take place
  • Choose effective action – i.e. the stuff the produces results
  • Get into action – i.e. do it!
  • Be aware – notice what’s going on while you are taking action.

It’s the last of these steps that really distinguishes this approach from others I have seen – I have often seen organisations implement change with a ‘JFDI’ mentality where people get into action fast (a good thing) but then omit to monitor and genuinely listen to the effect the change has on their organisation. Usually the results of these changes are not sustainable.

Making Change Happen contains – in only 150 pages – a wealth of practical advice delivered in a clear, concise and entertaining style. Consultants and change managers will find the techniques easy to apply. So, with the slight risk that it might do people like me out a job, I heartily recommend it.

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