By Ann Salerno and Lillie Brock
Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2008
I once took a class on selling software and on whom one should call. The teacher talked about two kinds of people in organizations: innovators who will change and doers who do not want to change. The point was that innovators, not doers, buy software.
This book takes a very practical look at the stages of changing. The change cycle is illustrated at the book’s outset with a long introduction on the subject, followed by chapters addressing the main issues encountered at each stage. There are sections in each chapter that tackle managers who are making changes as well as the employees whose jobs may be in transition.
The first two stages of change are loss and doubt and these must be addressed at all levels. In my experience, this is where the rubber hits the road. During the 40 years I implemented new software applications, I witnessed failures based on the assumption that everyone wanted to change, lest they lose their jobs. This book gives excellent insight into the minds of those who are resistant to change (i.e., most of us) and how to deal with that.
The next two stages are discomfort and discovery when the light at the end of the tunnel turns out not to be an oncoming train. The authors point out that it is natural to be uncomfortable at first, but better days are coming. Finally, the book examines understanding and integration when change becomes a part of everyday life in organizations. The authors caution not to be too complacent when changes are implemented; more changes are always on the horizon and organizations need to be ready to accept whatever is coming next.
The Change Cycle is full of examples. It provides keys to the stages of change that help organizations understand what to watch out for and the necessary interventions.