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The Heart of ChangeBy John P. Kotter and Dan S. CohenHarvard Business Press, 2002190 pagesList Price: $20ISBN: 1-57851-254-9
Many companies in transition make the mistake of appealing to workers’ heads instead of their hearts, say John Kotter and Dan Cohen in The Heart of Change. “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 feeling,” write Kotter, a faculty member at the Harvard Business School, and Cohen, a principal with Deloitte Consulting.
Organizations often rely on the “analyze-think-change” approach to introduce change, the authors write. This model emphasizes changing behavior by bombarding employees with statistics and analysis. While this may provide the rationale behind change, it fails to motivate employees to make the effort meaningful change requires, according to the authors.
A better approach is the “see-feel-change” model. This emphasizes getting workers to understand problems and evoking a “visceral response that reduces emotions that block change and enhances those that support it,” they write.
Based on case studies of hundreds of organizations, The Heart of Change outlines steps companies can adopt when integrating change.
Such an approach, say the authors, can build a dynamic workplace, able to tackle a variety of challenges.
Crucial ConversationsBy Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny,Ron McMillan and Al SwitzlerMcGraw-Hill, 2002256 pagesList Price: $14.95 ISBN: 0-07-140194-6
What are crucial conversations? They are those tough, everyday interactions in which the stakes are high, a difference of opinion exists and emotions run strong. In their book Crucial Conversations, leadership consultants Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler say that, if you conduct such interactions successfully, you can “kick-start your career, strengthen your relationships and improve your health.”
First, say the authors, recognize that a crucial conversation is a dialogue. To succeed, it must be “a free flow of relevant information.” When participants hold back (because they are afraid of the consequences, want to spare someone’s feelings or don’t want to escalate a conflict) a true dialogue can’t take place.
How can you conduct an open dialogue? The authors suggest the following:
“The skills required to master high-stakes interactions are ... moderately easy to learn,” the authors write, but it takes practice. Crucial Conversations includes examples and exercises to help readers recognize and conduct effective conversations. When these techniques are mastered, say the authors, “What starts as a doomed discussion can end up with a healthy resolution.”
This book can be purchased through the SHRMStore online. Members receive a discount off the list price. Visit SHRMStore and search for item number 48.23018.
Mike Frost is a freelance writer based in Alexandria, Va.
Inclusion of a book does not imply endorsement by SHRM or HR Magazine.
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