Wednesday, August 17, 2016

John Kotter’s Required Reading

strategy+business, August 17, 2016

by Theodore Kinni

John Kotter has been the go-to guy on the subject of change leadership longer than most of us have been working. For the past 35 years or so, he has been making the compelling argument that the essential role of leaders lies in their ability to achieve change — to shepherd their organizations to new and better places. The fast-paced and fundamental disruptions caused by advances in digital technologies make his work more relevant than ever.
Kotter codified his findings in an eight-step change leadership process in the mid-1990s, while at Harvard Business School. He taught there full time from 1972 (when he earned his doctorate) to 2001, when he retired as the Konosuke Matsushita Professor of Leadership. In 2008, he cofounded Kotter International, a consultancy that helps sitting leaders at large companies apply his ideas. Among many other honors, he is a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from American Society for Training and Development.
A prolific writer, Kotter has authored 19 books. Leading Change (Harvard Business School Press, 1996), which Time selected as one of the 25 most influential business management books ever written, The Heart of Change (with Dan S. Cohen; Harvard Business School Press, 2002), and A Sense of Urgency (Harvard Business Press, 2008) detail and explore his change leadership process. To spread the word still further, Kotter teamed up with Holger Rathgeber and wrote a business parable featuring penguins, Our Iceberg Is Melting (St. Martin’s Press, 2005), which also landed on the New York Times’ bestseller list.
Kotter’s latest book, That’s Not How We Do It Here! (Penguin, 2016), is another parable written with Rathgeber. This time, the main characters are African meerkats, whose struggle to cope with a drought illuminates the obstacles organizations face in disruptive conditions.
I asked Kotter about the books that had most influenced him in his work. He offered up the following titles, calling them “the big three that helped lead me where I am today.” Read the rest here.

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