Summary of The Heart of Change

Real-Life Stories of How People Change Their Organizations

Harvard Business Review Press, more...

The Heart of Change
Logical analysis is not what persuades organizations or people to change. Instead, the process is "see, feel, change."

A full book summary is unavailable at this time. Why?


9 Overall

10 Applicability

8 Innovation

8 Style



John P. Kotter’s valuable update to his award-winning Leading Change further develops his model for corporate transition. He and co-author Dan S. Cohen of Deloitte Consulting anchor their concepts in revealing real-world stories. They draw material from 400 interviews with staffers at 130 firms to illustrate the most powerful, complex force in organizational change: emotion. Firms change with their people and people change for emotional reasons. The book’s eight-step process for implementing change integrates reaching out to workers to build motivation to meet long-term transitional goals. Leaders must instill a sense of urgency with powerful demonstrations and displays that underline the need for change. Once staffers concur, leaders can assemble a guiding team of people committed to change. They must craft a vision that motivates employees by focusing on product or service improvement rather than efficiency.
Change often foments fear or anxiety. Addressing workers’ concerns early in the process with an honest, clear presentation of the change vision avoids widespread obstruction. Transition team members must prepare for this step; employee buy-in is crucial to their success. The team should confront other personnel barriers by using a proper reward systems and framing issues in new ways. One firm assigned a stubborn manager to a customer’s factory for several months. This gave him a fresh perspective that made him an avid proponent of improving the customer’s product line. Such realistic short-term goals build momentum if everyone is on board. Leaders must stay committed until the change is embedded in the culture. This model is practical and each chapter offers exercises for putting the book’s advice to work. Business leaders prefer hard data and they can’t measure feelings, yet the results of large-scale change depend on emotion. Kotter and Cohen’s common sense about emotion’s role and their plainspoken, engaging stories from real managers lead getAbstract to recommend this illuminating work for its fresh insights.


The Heart of Change
In some eras, stability matters. Businesses are preoccupied with consolidating their positions. But today’s economic environment is turbulent, and companies of all kinds must either change or die. Yet, people still find change difficult. Most people don’t do it well...
Get the key points from this book in less than 10 minutes.

About the Authors

John P. Kotter has taught at the Harvard Business School since 1972 and has written numerous articles and books including the award-winning Leading Change (1996). Dan S. Cohen, a principal with Deloitte Consulting, heads the firm’s Global Energy Change Leadership practice and developed its Global Change Leadership Methodology. He lectures widely about organizational behavior.

Comment on this review

  • Avatar
  • Avatar
    Patricia Ferreira 2 years ago
    This is a great guide to how change is assimilated in the emotional brain...
  • Avatar
    Julie Muhs 2 years ago
    This is a good abstract - pragmatic and realistic about the challenges and pitfalls. An essential read when navigating the steps to delivering a successful change
  • Avatar
    amy Cooper 2 years ago
    great title

More on this topic

By the same authors

  • Book

    John P. Kotter and Lorne A. Whitehead

    Harvard Business Review Press, 2010


  • Book

    John P. Kotter

    Harvard Business Review Press, 2008


Contained in Knowledge Pack:

Customers who read this review also read

More by category