The Best Books On Change Management

The Best 13 Books On Change Management

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Hey, we get it – change can be tough! But don’t worry, we’ve got your back. If you want everyone to get on board with new standards and procedures, people support you every step of the way.

Change management books help you do that. Think of them as trusty companions on the exciting journey towards modernizing your workplace. These books are filled with helpful tips and tricks for adapting to new technology, policies, or organizational restructuring. They’ll teach you the best psychological approaches for embracing change, clever ways to persuade your colleagues to join in, and practical steps for implementing changes that are scalable, sustainable, and ultimately successful. So, grab a cup of coffee, cozy up with your new reading material, and get ready to tackle change with confidence and enthusiasm! 

Here’s a list of the best books on change management:

1. ‘Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard’ by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

Have you ever wondered why change can be so difficult to achieve, even when we know it’s in our best interest? The book ‘Switch’ by the Heaths provides some answers. Psychologists have discovered that our minds are ruled by two different systems – the rational mind and the emotional mind – that often compete for control. For example, the rational mind may want to get in shape, but the emotional mind craves a tasty treat. Or, the rational mind may recognize the need for change at work, while the emotional mind prefers the comfort of the status quo.

The Heaths explain how successful change efforts require aligning both the rational and emotional minds, and they share inspiring stories of people who have done just that. These stories include medical interns who challenged long-standing medical practices, a home-organizing guru who developed a simple technique for overcoming the dread of housekeeping, and a manager who transformed a lackadaisical customer support team into service zealots by removing a standard tool of customer service.

Using decades of research in psychology, sociology, and other fields, this book on change management offers a fresh perspective on how we can create transformation in our own lives and the world around us. Whether you’re looking to make changes to your waistline or change the world, Switch provides a pattern for success that you can use. The book is written in a compelling, story-driven narrative that will leave you feeling motivated and inspired.

P.S. This is also one of the best team building books you could find out there!

2. ‘Leading Change’ by John P. Kotter

Have you ever struggled with leading change in your organization? If so, John Kotter’s book on the eight-step process for managing change can be a valuable resource for you. This process has become legendary and is used by leaders and organizations across the globe to achieve positive results. The eight steps are as follows:

  1. Create a sense of excitement and motivation to get the ball rolling.
  2. Bring together a group of passionate individuals to form the change team.
  3. Paint a clear and inspiring picture of what the future looks like with the change.
  4. Share the vision with everyone involved in a way that they can easily understand and get behind.
  5. Remove any obstacles in the way of progress and give people the power to take charge.
  6. Celebrate early successes and build on them to keep the momentum going.
  7. Take small steps towards the change and adjust the plan as necessary.
  8. Ensure the change becomes a lasting part of the organization’s culture by integrating it into daily operations.

By providing a practical resource for leaders and managers charged with making change initiatives work, Kotter outlines the process that every organization must go through to achieve its goals. He also identifies where and how even top performers derail during the change process.

In today’s ever-changing business landscape, this organizational change book is more relevant than ever. It serves as both a visionary guide and a practical toolkit on how to approach the difficult yet crucial work of leading change in any type of organization. Reading this piece is like spending a day with the world’s foremost expert on business leadership. You’re sure to walk away inspired and armed with the tools you need to inspire others.

3. ‘That’s Not How We Do It Here!’ by John P. Kotter and Holger Rathgeber

In this change leadership book, bestselling Harvard Business School professor and leadership consultant John Kotter distills decades of research to answer some of the most fundamental questions in business: why do organizations rise and fall, and how can they rise again in the face of adversity?

The story follows a clan of meerkats living in the Kalahari who face a drought that sharply reduces their resources and enables dangerous new predators. As the clan quarrels about possible solutions, one young, bright, and adventurous worker, Nadia, sets out to find other clans and discovers a much smaller group that does things very differently, with much more flexibility and team spirit. But not everything in the new group is as perfect as it seems at first, and they too are susceptible to dangerous words like ‘That’s not how we do it here’.

This engaging and insightful story will resonate with anyone seeking to combine flexibility and systems in a challenging climate. Whether you’re a seasoned executive or a newcomer to the business world, the lessons of this fable will help you rise above adversity and succeed in a rapidly changing world.

4. ‘Our Iceberg is Melting’ by John P. Kotter

This change management book is a fun and engaging business fable that teaches an important lesson about understanding different personalities in the workplace. The story revolves around a group of penguins living on an iceberg, who must come together to decide on their next course of action. Through this story, readers will be able to relate to the different characters and recognize their own colleagues’ behaviors.

The book highlights various archetypes of colleagues that one may encounter during a project, which can either support or hinder change efforts. By gaining a better understanding of what motivates each archetype, one can create a change plan that caters to everyone’s needs, promoting a shared vision and collaboration. The book also introduces the concept of a ‘burning platform,’ where change is so crucial that it becomes a matter of survival. This metaphor can help people understand why a particular change is necessary and motivate them to support the effort. 

Despite being a business fable, the book is a quick and enjoyable read that leaves a lasting impression. It provides valuable insights that can be applied to any workplace or project, making it a useful tool for anyone looking to drive change and promote teamwork.

5. ‘The Heart of Change’ by John P. Kotter and Dan S. Cohen

‘The Heart of Change’ is an indispensable change management book. The special thing about it is that it drives change in organizations by connecting with people’s emotions. Renowned leadership expert and bestselling author John Kotter, together with coauthor Dan Cohen, believe that sparking behavior change and actions through an emotional connection is essential for success. 

‘The Heart of Change’ is a captivating complement to Kotter’s groundbreaking Leading Change, taking it a step further by vividly illustrating how large-scale business change can actually work. Through real-life stories, the authors demonstrate how teams and individuals can be motivated and activated to overcome obstacles to change, leading to remarkable outcomes. According to Kotter and Cohen, relying solely on data and analysis to get team buy-in can lead to change initiatives that fail. Instead, they emphasize the importance of the see-feel-change dynamic, where creative displays or actions that appeal to emotions can inspire people to take action and ensure the success of organizational transformation.

6. ‘Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change’ by William Bridges

William Bridges, a renowned American author, speaker, and organizational consultant, provides an insightful perspective on how organizations can successfully navigate change by understanding the psychological process of transitions. In this book on change management, Bridges emphasizes that ‘transition’ is the key to adapting to change and dedicates his time to unpacking its significance. 

According to Bridges, a transition is a three-phase process that involves letting go of the past, the “neutral zone” where the past is gone but the new isn’t fully present, and making the new beginning. He argues that this psychological process is critical to achieving acceptance of the changes that come with the new situation. Bridges’ framework is highly useful for conceptualizing and managing change for both individuals and organizations, making it a valuable addition to any change manager’s toolkit.

7. ‘Who Moved My Cheese?’ by Spencer Johnson and Kenneth H. Blanchard

‘Who Moved My Cheese?’ is another valuable book in change management. Suitable for all ages, the story takes less than an hour to read, yet provides timeless insights. It’s a charming and insightful parable that reveals profound truths about adapting to change. It tells the story of four characters who live in a ‘maze’ and search for ‘cheese’ to fulfill their desires and make them happy. The two mice, Sniff and Scurry, and the two ‘little people’, Hem and Haw, represent individuals who seek fulfillment in different aspects of life, such as a good job, a loving relationship, money, possessions, health, or spiritual peace of mind.

The ‘maze’ is a metaphor for the different environments in which people search for what they want. Unexpected change challenges the characters, and their responses determine their success. The story encourages readers to learn from the characters’ experiences and discover how to deal with change, leading to less stress and more success in work and life. 

8. ‘Change Management Masterclass: A Step-By-Step Guide to Successful Change Management’ by Mike Green

In this book on change management, Mike Green explores this field comprehensively, covering various models that have defined the field since the 1950s and examining contemporary theories. He provides a range of metaphors and paradigms, from classic constructs of ‘freezing’ and ‘unfreezing’ organizations to more recent comparisons of organizations to machines or living organisms.

The book also features detailed case studies of successful and unsuccessful change management and a step-by-step guide to achieving positive change. The author offers a unique perspective on corporations, approaching them as an anthropologist would, highlighting phenomena such as the ‘shadow’ or dark side of organizations. While the use of sociology jargon and mathematical formulas for change can make the book seem academic at times, it provides valuable insights for readers looking to enhance their understanding of change management.

9. ‘ADKAR: A Model for Change in Business, Government and our Community’ by Jeffrey M. Hiatt

The ADKAR model is a game-changer for anyone looking to drive change in their organization, regardless of the scope or scale of the change. Whether you’re a teacher hoping to bring about change in your school system, or a business leader overseeing a large-scale enterprise initiative, ADKAR can provide you with a new lens through which to observe and influence change. 

Drawing on extensive research with over 2,600 companies from 59 countries, this is one of the best books on change management – simple, yet comprehensive. By helping you to understand the barriers to change and identify the levers that can move your changes forward, ADKAR can help you to ensure the success of your change initiatives. With its focus on readiness assessments, sponsorship, communications, coaching, training, and resistance management, the ADKAR model is a powerful tool that can help you to realize change both at the individual and organizational level.

10. ‘Making Sense of Change Management’ by Esther Cameron and Mike Green

This is one of the best books on change management. It’s a must-read for anyone in a leadership position since it offers valuable insights on how to prepare your organization for change, whether you’re dealing with transformative or disruptive change. 

What sets this book apart is its comprehensive approach to change management, covering a wide range of theories, case studies, and techniques. While the focus is on larger organizational change, the lessons learned can also be applied to smaller project-based changes. Whether you’re a seasoned change management expert or just starting out, this book is a valuable resource that you won’t want to miss.

11. ‘Change Management: The People Side of Change’ by Jeffrey M. Hiatt and Timothy J. Creasey

This is one of the best change management books you could get. It serves as an excellent introduction to this field and can help kickstart change leadership and competency within your organization. 

The main idea is that change management is a crucial component that can transform good ideas into business success. It is essential to understand that developing the skills to manage and lead change is a responsibility shared by all management levels, from HR to the CEO. This book offers practical guidance on how to manage the human side of change, making it an invaluable resource for anyone seeking to drive change within their organization. 

12. ‘Lean Change Management’ by Jason Little

This book is a must-read for anyone interested in implementing successful change and overcoming resistance to change by co-creating change. Whether you are new to agile and change management or already have a good understanding of basic agile principles, this book will provide you with useful content and practical examples that can dramatically improve the success of transformation programs. The book draws on innovative practices from change management, organizational development, and psychology communities, and will challenge your thinking about change in new and exciting ways.

13. ‘Crucial Conversations’ by Kerry Patterson

‘Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High’ is a practical and highly recommended guide for anyone looking to improve their communication skills. It offers valuable insights into how to handle tough conversations, especially during times of change. The book is not only useful in a work setting but can be applied in various personal situations as well. As a project manager, it’s crucial to be able to navigate tough conversations such as giving constructive feedback, coaching, or delivering bad news to clients. It provides a well-rounded approach to preparing for and handling difficult conversations in any context, that’s what makes it perfect for an organizational change book.

What are change management books? 

Change management books provides valuable insights for managers seeking to spearhead organizational transformations or facilitate employee adaptation to workplace changes.

Who should read a book on change management? 

Any CEO, manager, entrepreneur, or other business leader looking to shake things up in the workplace can read organizational change books! They will give you all the insider knowledge and juicy insights you need to navigate the sometimes tricky process of change management.

eTeamBuilding will be your cheerleader, your sounding board, and your go-to resource for anything you need during this exciting transition. Let’s dive in together and make this change a smashing success!

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