Book Review: Leading Change by John Kotter


While reviewing a list of ‘must read’ books on the subject of business/management, I came across Leading Change by John Kotter. I knew the work of Mr Kotter from his Harvard Business Review article called Leading Change. This article is used in many MBA programs and also within the former CMA (Certified Management Accountant) program. Mr. Kotter is considered to be one of the leading thinkers and researchers on change management.

The book Leading Change is very easy to read with very few ‘trendy’ business words or acronyms. The book is also well laid out in that the problem with change management is detailed, along with a brief look at how change has been seen to be properly rolled out.

The second section of the book places emphasis on the 8 stages of successful change management:

Developing Urgency: If there is no reason to change with a deadline, then it won’t happen.

Creating the Guiding Coalition: Groups of people who are leaders, have vision, and are able to motivate are required for successful change. A CEO, especially of a large company, can’t create change by oneself.

Developing Vision & Strategy: You can lead someone somewhere without having identified where you are going and how.

Communication the Change Vision: Communicating the urgency for change, the people involved, the end goal, and the path that will be taken is required to have your staff join you on the adventure.

Empowering Employees: Remove barriers for employees to implement the change strategy, give them the required training, and change your systems to conform to the change.

Generating Short-term Wins: Don’t be afraid to celebrate small successes. Those successes will give your employees the sense of accomplishment and help motivate them.

Consolidating Gains & Producing More Change: Keep your message consistent. Don’t celebrate change and allow people to decrease the progress of the change.

Anchoring New Approaches in the Culture: Make the changes that you have developed a part of your culture. In Lean Six Sigma, approximately 80% of companies fail to do this and within 5 years, they are back to their old habits.

Change is a constant in the business world. Change is not something that will go away but it is increasing in the rate of occurrences. You can put it together with death and taxes.  For anyone involved in business or with dealing with people in general, it is highly recommended that you find this book at your local book store and read it over a quiet Sunday afternoon. It is a book that I can foresee myself referring to in the future on a constant basis.

What business or management books have you enjoyed lately? Do you have any recommendations for a great read?

Have an awesome week.


Kevin MacDonald is a Business Consultant at L6S Business Consulting Inc ( L6S offers services in management consulting, Controller and CFO contracting, and lean management with either project work or teaching/mentoring of staff. Kevin has his CMA accounting designation along with a Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma.

Kevin is active in the community by volunteering for different groups and donates platelets at the Canadian Blood Services clinic on a bi-weekly basis.

L6S Business Consulting will also be holding 3 sessions in regards to social media (Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn). For more information, please email:


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