Thursday, July 10, 2014

Organizational Change Book Recommendations

Organizational Change
Last week I put a question in front of several of my LinkedIn Groups.  Thank you very much if you contributed answers.  Whether you contributed or not, here is a resource that I hope you’ll find to be helpful when you’re facing Organizational Change issues and you need a little help.
My LinkedIn Group Question:
One of the CISOs whom I am coaching asked me for a recommendation on a book that deals with "Organizational Change". Has anyone read a book on this subject that you found to be helpful personally?

  • Hi Jeff, I am currently getting my masters at Northwestern in organizational change. If you're interested in a more tactical "how to" type of read I would recommend "Managing Transitions" by William Bridges. If you're looking for a collection of great reads that paint a picture of successful (and not so successful) massive organizational change efforts I would pick up HBR's 10 Must Reads on Change Management. I hope this is helpful!
  • Kotter's book Leading Change is THE textbook on change.
  • Three books that might meet your needs 
  • I found "The Reinventors: How Extraordinary Companies Pursue Radical Continuous Change" by Jason Jennings to be an excellent read for a strategic standpoint. From a more tactical perspective for the CISO, (as mentioned previously) "The Phoenix Project: A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win" by Kim, Behr, and Spafford is a great read that demonstrates first-hand the possibilities of organizational maturity through embracing change.
  • Maverick by Ricardo Semler. I've bought many copies to hand out to colleagues over the years.
  • Just came across this "Tolstoy on Change Management" interesting ...
  • I found "Leading Change" to be simile and powerful .... if there was one book to recommend, I would suggest Leading Change by Kotter
  • I agree with Rick. It depends what your CISO wants to get out of this. It is one thing leading change but another knowing what needs to change. Nicholas suggested Patrick Lencioni's books and I think one of his latest, which is not a fable, is Organizational Health. It is much easier managing change when the goals are clear and understandable.
  • Sadly watching many larger organizations they seem to think this is done by removing large numbers of junior staff and brining in new blood. In doing so the senior management throw out and taint their talented workers rather than dealing with their own unhealthy management policies.
  • As shown in many of the examples in Jim Collin's Good to Great; the company leader wanting to bring about change has to know the desired goal before they work out what needs to change. This is not always found in a book.
  • There are many good books out there but it depends on what he / she is looking to get out of of the read. If it is just a high level understanding of how change works in an organization through a psychological lens, then SWITCH is good. If he / she is looking for how to lead change from a business perspective then LEADING CHANGE by John Kotter is great. If the goal is to understand change from a technical lens then I guess some of the other recommendations above are good.
  • The Quantum Age of IT by Charles Araujo provides a compelling vision on why organizations need to change and proposes what the future will look like. You can read the comments on Amazon.
  • IT Savvy is a very good read, I bought 3 hard copies of the book in succession, because my colleagues would typically sneak into my office and "borrow the book", without owning up to such. Nonetheless That I how I know its a good read, because the copies were always swiped.
  • I recently had the privilege to be part of a leadership team that drove a successful business transformation program. Books we used as frameworks that I highly recommend are : Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Good to Great, The Advantage, and IT Savvy.
  • This book is also very helpful. The Theory and Practice Of Change Management, John Hayes : Palgrave Publishers Ltd,
  • I completed an MBA (Management Specialization) in April 2014, in it I did a Module called Managing Corporate Change, I found this book very useful. Strategic Organizational Change, Building Change Capabilities In Your Organization, Ellen R. Auster, Krista K. Wylie; Michael S. Valente – Palgrave Macmillan, 2005
  • The IBM Global Making Change Work Study examines how organizations can manage change and identifies strategies for improving project outcomes. It's based on real life experience and best practices. It's free and an easy read.
  • The Fifth Discipline is a great book on organizational change and learning. Not a classic change book, but a brilliant one to get thinking about your organization in a different way.
  • great book on “do’s and don’ts” is Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths, and Total Nonsense by Jeff Fpeffer and Robert Sutton.  Change can be good, but often creates more harm than good. The core focus of the book is Evidence Based Management, but is totally applicable to change. The book includes a chapter “Change or Die?”, which hits the subject right on. This book will help you avoid the pains of incorrect-change.
  • Managing Transitions - Making the most of change by William BridgesIt's an ultimate book on managing changes and transitions in the organization. The change is the only thing constant these days!
  • Switch, by Chip and Dan Heath is a great read.
  • Take a look at "Scaling up Excellence" by Bob Sutton and Huggy Rao. It is packed with practical approaches to managing and leading change.
  • x2 for Tribal Leadership and Covey's leadership book. Both are excellent reading
  • The Phoenix Project - Gene Kim is a co-author
  • Hey Jeff! Many good suggestions in the replies, but I felt that I needed to emphasize the Dr. Kotter references. I've had the pleasure of meeting him, and working with him and his team, on several changes initiatives. Solid approach based on solid research. Here's a direct link to save you a search:
  • For change management, John Kotter is hard to beat. A good start is Our Iceberg Is Melting, then continue with any other of his books. I'm currently reading his XLR8, good so far.
  • Leading Change
  • The Leadership Challenge
  • Try this one. Organisational Change 4th Ed. ISBN 978-0273716204 Authors are Senior and Swales
  • I would recommend the Patrick Lencioni books. They are concise and very accessible - all but 1 or 2 of them are written as a modern fable, making them enjoyable. The author does not waste words - if it only takes 100 pages to make his points, that's all he writes (you will not find 300 pages of filler).
  • Especially helpful regarding organizational change:
  1. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team
  2. The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive
  3. Death by Meeting
  4. The Five Temptations of a CEO
  5. Silos, Politics, and Turf Wars
  • You can read any one of them in weekend (and enjoy it). And I believe all of them are available unabridged on to make for easy listening during a commute.
  • Hey Jeff, This is an interesting question as it has made me stop and ponder for a while. Call me old school, but I think the book that influenced me the most regarding change management is Out of Crisis by the guru himself Dr W Edwards Deming. On the surface, its a story of quality, but the subtext is that of empowering people to create great things. And that brings me to leadership - because any change program is doomed without a good leader. Your client needs to read - The Three Levels of Leadership by James Scouller. This is brilliant because it focuses on what private, personal and public traits you need to lead change. Change management is such a beige term - isn't it. Why not focus on change leadership - leading change - driving towards a shared vision.
  • Please check the following resource - . It has a great collection of suggestions, reads, tools, exercises, etc. on various management topics
  • I would highly recommend two books, "ADKAR and Change Management- by Jeffrey M. Hiatt "
  • Your candidate has a lot of very useful reading above .. I loved working through some of these books, thought some lacked fresh ideas, and have enjoyed other titles not listed here. So I won’t add more titles to this esteemed list, but I would just point out that organisational change is driven from experience and is as much an "art" as a "science", framed around soft goals and hard targets. 
  • Unless your candidate has a few weeks of spare time and is an avid speed reader, with strong project management, communication skills, a strategic mind with a bent for Van Gough .. best call in someone with experience is my advice.
  • Jeff, In addition to Kotter's "Leading Change" bestseller, I also recommend, "The Change Monster: The Human Forces that Fuel or Foil Corporate Transformation," by Jeanie Daniel Duck. The book describes a taxonomy for evaluating where you are in the change process: Stagnation (essentially stuck in a rut that isn't working); Preparation (getting people ready for making an important change); Implementation (figuring out and announcing the details of what to do); Determination (actually carrying through on the plans and new commitments); and Fruition (using the new success to strengthen the foundations of future progress). Keep in mind, however that -- regardless of the methodology applied -- organizational change initiatives fail to achieve expectations more often than not. Success, in virtually all instances, depends on evangelistic sponsorship from the top-down, and relentless persistence through all the obstacles and would-be barriers that inevitably arise to frustrate he (usually) longer-than-expected journey.
  • In 1998 a great little book on this topic appeared, "Who Moved My Cheese". It's by Spencer Johnson. It's written in as a parable or a fable. It's a very quick read, but it really provides a great perspective on change and how to personally best capitalize on it.
  • Tribal Leadership
  • The Speed of Trust by Stephen M.R. Covey. It's more around the core values and principles required in a high performing, high velocity organization than it is about tactical change. But, tactical execution is secondary to the key principles underlying all change. This book is all about:  Trust = Character * Competency = (Integrity + Intent) * (Skills + Results)
  • Hi Jeff:  Definitely Leading Change by John P. Kotter.
  • Sounds like you have more than enough reading to do, but one more that I think helps transform companies is called Mastering the Rockefeller Habits. While the book applies many of its concepts to growing companies (in terms of size and revenue) I think the concepts have a broad application in establishing priorities and rhythms to help the company and its employees target specific goals in unison. It tasks individuals with understanding how they are spending their time in support of their personal and company-wide priorities and goals.
  • I second Kenneth Smith's recommendation for The Phoenix Project. Depending on your CISO's mindset, that book's treatment of security in the context of organizational change could be a real eye opener.
  • Thought I would throw one more out for you. With most organizational change comes new supervision and managers that have been promoted up from the ranks. A great book for that change is “The First 90 Days” by Michael Watkins. It helps guide those transitioning from single contributor to a leadership role. How you manage your transition in the first 90 days can position you for success or set you up for failure. Hit the ground running………
  • I personally like "Mastering The Rockefeller Habits" by Verne Harnish.
  • " Good to Great " by Jim Collins is a great read for leading by example which also touches upon the the organization change dimension. 
  • "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team" by Patrick Lencioni is a great book.
  • I must add one more to the list that has been very helpful in personal change to position yourself for success. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey......
  • Digging a bit deeper into my bookshelf, I'm reminded of these very good works as well: "Organizational Culture and Leadership," by Edgar H. Schein (Aug., 2010), "Predictably Irrational, the Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions," by Dan Ariely (Apr., 2010), and
    "It's All about Work. Organizing Your Company to Get Work DonePaperback, by Christopher R. Clement and Stephen D. Clement (May 2013). Each of these are reviewed on The first deals mainly with leadership, the second with human behavior, and the last one with organizational structure. Hope this helps. 
  • "Innovative People Must Be Stopped" by David Owen (PhD).
    The book details how innovation which is implementable new change which brings desired benefits is constrained at various levels levels and once understanding these, how counter strategies can be developed to circumvent these innovation constraints i.e. Strategic Innovation.  CISO's should bring about Strategic Innovation as regards Information Security Governance, hence my recommendation.
  •  @Jeff of course as they tend to overlap. A good read that touches on all aspects not just the academic aspects but practical execution is "Best Practices in Organization Development and Change: Culture, Leadership, Retention, Performance, Coaching"
  • Sniff and Scurry in "Who Moved my Cheese" is a classic along...
  • "Change is great….you go first"
  • Hello Jeff,   I've read several of the books mentioned here and have used The First 90 Days as a guide when I started with a new company. While the books are good, they're no substitution for a compelling change management methodology. When I worked as an IT Director at Pfizer, I supported the Organizational Training & Development Director. We flew to Ann Arbor Michigan to become certified in the Accelerated Implementation Methodology, a proprietary organizational change management approach developed and perfected by Implementation Management Associates, Inc. ( It is such a good process that we had managers trained as trainers.'s Security Recruiter Blog