Summary of It Starts with One

Changing Individuals Changes Organizations

Wharton School Publishing,
First Edition: 2002 more...

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It Starts with One book summary
The only way to achieve organizational change is, first, to motivate your employees to change: one at a time


8 Overall

9 Applicability

6 Innovation

8 Style


The Greek philosopher Heraclitus taught that nothing is permanent except change. But, in business, even attempts to change aren’t permanent – in fact, corporate transformations are usually either temporary or doomed at the outset. Executives order organizational shifts, assuming that their employees will institute them immediately as instructed and that fruitful transformation will thus ensue promptly. Unfortunately, that seldom happens because human beings, including your staffers, strongly resist giving up comfortable patterns. They will hew to familiar paths unless you or your “change champions” intercept them, one by one, explain J. Stewart Black and Hal B. Gregersen. Their book on organizational transformation makes it clear that companies cannot alter the status quo unless leaders can convince employees to adjust their mindsets and processes first. The authors outline an approach to corporate change rooted in this concept. While their plan is not exactly quick and easy, it is methodical and logical. getAbstract recommends their book to executives and managers who want to direct and control organizational change by working with their employees instead of dictating to them. Why? Because, say Black and Gregersen, one way works and the other way doesn’t.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why businesses must constantly change;
  • Why transforming your organization requires first motivating your employees to modify their attitudes and actions;
  • Why employees resist change; and
  • How you can convince employees to work differently.


True Transformation Starts with Individuals
If your company does not evolve and stay fresh, your competitors will leave it in the dust. But even though change is a life-and-death business issue, most management books discuss it in exactly the wrong way. They characterize reform as an ...
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About the Authors

J. Stewart Black and Hal B. Gregersen teach at INSEAD, Europe’s largest M.B.A. organization. Gregersen, co-author of nine other books, was a Fulbright Fellow at the Turku School of Economics.

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