A detailed guide to the practical aspects of organizational change.
Bevan (Changemaking, 2011) presents a companion volume to his previous business book. This one focuses on the specifics of how to successfully manage significant changes within a corporation. Each chapter provides an overview of fundamental management aspects, such as negotiating stakeholder support or measuring outcomes. Much of the book’s substance, however, is contained in its numerous checklists, which provide readers with an overall framework for planning and executing major corporate activities. Clear communication is at the heart of Bevan’s approach, and it’s a key theme that appears in nearly every chapter: “[I]f the core message is not reduced to a few key points, audiences will draw their own conclusions. Unable or unwilling to study the full, long, and complex story, they will instead rely on hearsay and their own assumptions.” Many checklists cover various aspects of communication, such as explaining details to employees or convincing another manager to assign staff to a project. Other checklists enumerate common problems that may be encountered during the change process, along with strategies for overcoming them. Along with communication, the book stresses the importance of allowing company leadership to constantly evaluate the success of new activities, and make necessary changes if goals aren’t being met. Each chapter also contains a well-written case study that illustrates its particular concept, which helps enhance the book’s practical utility. The book does have its quirks—in particular, a distracting tendency to list examples in footnotes instead of in the narrative itself—and one case study appears twice, in the body of the text and in an appendix. However, its overall checklist structure, and its approach of breaking down each aspect of success into its components, make it a worthwhile addition to a manager’s bookshelf.
A coherent, concise look at the elements that go into new business initiatives.