The Heart of Change Real-Life Stories of How People Change Their Organizations

By John P. Kotter & Dan S. Cohen

In The Heart of Change, John P. Kotter and Dan S. Cohen argue that successful large-scale organizational change happens in eight stages, and show how the central challenge in all eight stages is not strategy, systems or culture but changing people’s behavior.

People change what they do less because they are given analysis that shifts their thinking than because they are shown a truth that influences their feelings. This is especially so in large-scale organizational change, where you are dealing with new technologies, mergers and acquisitions, restructurings, new strategies, cultural transformation, globalization, and e-business— whether in an entire organization, an office, a department, or a work group. In an age of turbulence, when you handle this reality well, you win. Handle it poorly, and it can drive you crazy, cost a great deal of money, and cause a lot of pain.

The lessons here come from two sets of interviews, the first completed seven years ago, the second within the last two years. About 400 people from 130 organizations answered our questions. We found, in brief, that:

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