Book Review: Managing Change in the Workplace

There are many books available that proclaim their ability to manage change. But seriously, can you really manage change? Change happens and when it does, it happens to people. Any time people are involved, a lockstep 1-2-3 approach to anything is simply is not going to work. So, when I am asked to review a process, procedure or book that seems to promises to do just that, I am always a bit skeptical.

Les Allan, the Managing Director of Business Performance Pty Ltd, writes on business and organizational change and he recently released the second edition of his book, Managing Change in the Workplace.

Change is a process and Les Allen notes that each and every one of us as either initiated change or been on the receiving end of a change. In the introduction Les states that "moving to a new way of working is inherently messy," and that "it is people - thinking and feeling people - that will carry through your change." He goes on to state that his guide, "will not provide you with a magic solution to the complexities and uncertainties" of change.

And that is where he had my attention.

Managing Change in the Workplaceis not your usual book on leading and managing change. The chapters sequentially move the reader through a change process and provide valuable information on understanding change,principles guiding successful change programs, the CHANGE Approach, managing resistance to change andmanaging change through projects and through teams.

The CHANGE Approach is the heart and soul of the guide and offers a "disciplined understanding of how organizations achieve real benefits through change." The phases of the CHANGE Approach are:

  • Create tension. Articulate why change needs to happen
  • Harness support. Get key stakeholder on board.
  • Articulate goals. Define specific and measurable outcomes.
  • Nominate roles. Assign responsibility to specific individuals.
  • Grow capability. Build necessary systems and competencies.
  • Entrench changes. Institutionalize the change.

Managing Change in the Workplace is different from other guides because it is packaged with a reusable and customizable change program workbook. Regardless of where a reader is in planning or implementing a change process, or how comfortable they feel in leading change, there is something in the guide for them.

Readers can scan the chapters and pick out the chapter or section that interest them the most.They can use all or part of the workbook.They can tailor this guide to their needs and the needs of their supervisors or team members. As reader works through the guide and workbook, they actually are able to apply the lessons learned to their current change program.

Managing Change in the Workplace is a solid, practical guide from beginning to middle to endfor anyone embarking on a change initiative for the first time, wanting a refresher on the change process, or facing resistance to change and definitely worth a look.