About Me

Ithaca, New York
MWF, now officially 42, loves long walks on the beach and laughing with friends ... oh, wait. By day, I'm a mid-level university administrator reluctant to be more specific on a public forum. Nights and weekends, though, I'm a homebody with strong nerdist leanings. I'm never happier than when I'm chatting around the fire, playing board games, cooking up some pasta, and/or road-tripping with my family and friends. I studied psychology and then labor economics in school, and I work in higher education. From time to time I get smug, obsessive, or just plain boring about some combination of these topics, especially when inequality, parenting, or consumer culture are involved. You have been warned.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

#48: Who Killed Change?

Who Killed Change? Solving the Mystery of Leading People Through Change, by Ken Blanchard, John Britt, and others (New York: William Morrow/ HarperCollins, 2009)

"Every day organizations around the world launch change initiatives -- often big, expensive ones -- designed to improve the status quo. Yet 50 to 70 percent of these change efforts fail. A few perish suddenly, but many die painful, protracted deaths that drain the organization's resources, energy, and morale.

"Who or what is killing change?

"That's what you'll find out in this witty whodunit. The story features a Columbo-style detective, Agent Mike McNally, who's investigating the murder of yet another change. One by one, Agent McNally interviews thirteen prime suspects, including a myopic leader named Victoria Vision; a chronically tardy manager named Ernest Urgency; an executive name Clair Communication, whose laryngitis makes communication all but impossible; and several other dubious characters.

"The suspects are sure to sound familiar and you're bound to relate them to your own workplace. In the end, Agent McNally solves the case in a way that will inspire you to become an effective Change Agent in your own organization.

"A step-by-step guide at the back of the book shows you how to apply the story's lessons to the real world. Key questions help you evaluate the health of your organization's change initiatives, and you'll learn best practices for enabling and sustaining the desired change."

Table of Contents:
  • Scene of the Crime
  • Suspect #1: Culture
  • Suspect #2: Commitment
Reflections on Culture and Commitment
  • Suspect #3: Sponsorship
  • Suspect #4: Change Leadership Team
  • Suspect #5: Communication
Reflections on Sponsorship, Change Leadership Team, and Communication
  • Suspect #6: Urgency
  • Suspect #7: Vision
Reflections on Urgency and Vision
  • Suspect #8: Plan
  • Suspect #9: Budget
  • A Vision of Death
  • Suspect #10: Trainer
  • Suspect #11: Incentive
Reflections on Plan, Budget, Trainer, and Incentive
  • Suspect #12: Performance Management
  • Suspect #13: Accountability
  • Super Cops and Stakeholders
  • The Autopsy Report
  • Murderer Announced: Invitation Only
  • Change Lives!
  • Helping Change Thrive in Your Organization
My Take:
I knew what I was getting into, I suppose, but Who Moved My Cheese? this ain't. (Or maybe it is; I've probably read Cheese but don't have a clear memory of doing so.) It's your classic short, sweet, and grossly-oversimplified business primer -- not surprisingly, as Blanchard's a master of the genre. Are there some good points here about what's needed for organizational change to succeed? Sure, but probably only a page or two's worth when you cut through the silly whodunit mystery stuff. Oh well. As I said, I expected as much.

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