Monday, October 16, 2006

An upcoming trip meant that it was time to visit the bookstore and this book immediately caught my eye. For someone who normally goes for fiction at times like these, this was a change in itself. The book is somewhat small having only around 200 pages including the forward, the author's previous works, several illustrations and the large fontsize used. The good thing about this is ofcourse the aothors' candid admission to the fact that the book appears (only appears but isn't) to be for kids.
The authors of the book John Kotter and Holger Rathegeber apparently are experts in their field having published several books on managing change in large enterprises. There isn't any significant change going on within our organization but the learnings could prove useful anytime. It deals with a simple eight-point formula for effectively managing change. The change could be anything from a forced change necessitated by an M&A to process improvements within the enterprise. The eight step approach, in the author's words, would greatly assist in producing the desired results.
The authors convey their message in fable form which together with the eye-catching illustrations and large print make the book a pleasure to red. The fable too is quite interesting and deals with how a penguin colony deals with change that has become inevitable if they were to survice. The story revolves around a penguin colony in antarctica living on an iceberg. Due to global warming or the effect of the ocean, the iceberg has developed cracks through which sea water has seeped in and collected inside cavities deep within the iceberg. This is found out by a penguin named Fred who conveys the same to his boss Alice. Alice informs her superior Louis who calls a meeting of the other council heads. How the colony of penguins headed by Louis manage to save themselves from a possible collapse of the iceberg is using the eith-point formula is what the fable is about.
The eight steps for managing change run something like this:

1. Keeping the people informed
2. Forming a committee to handle change
3. explaining the necessity for the change
4. Design a plan of action
5. Showing some results in the short-term
6. clearing obstacles along the way
7. empowering everyone concerned
8. not letting up and persisting with change

The penguins come up with several ideas for implementing the eight step process to tackle their problem. The question left unanswered is whether change is required at all in the first place. Even when it is deemed required at one stage, is it always beneficial to go ahead with the change even if the results do not justify going ahead. Is is always good to not just bring change to where is isn't needed but also persisting with it. I have mentioned just a few things that have occurred to me and readers can make their own judgements after reading the book.

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