Fear, curiosity, exhaustion, loyalty, paranoia, optimism, rage, and revelation--not quite the kind of emotions that are anticipated or discussed when leaders embark on organizational change, but exactly the kind to expect, says Jeanie Daniel Duck in her treatise on the human element of growth. The Change Monster examines how to effectively plan for, address, and manage the least predictable and perhaps the most important aspect of a successful transformation.
Duck"s experience with change has been widespread and varied. During an early career running her own consulting practice and more recent years spent as a senior vice president with the prestigious Boston Consulting Group (BCG), she has guided companies all over the world through the mountains and minefields of mergers, reengineering ventures, and strategic transformation projects. In the process, she has developed and refined her understanding of the five phases of the Change Curve, her own map of the territory of change. The monster in hibernation is the first of those phases, Stagnation, and it"s awoken by forceful impetus from on high, through either internally or externally initiated change. Duck discusses both the signs of stagnation and various methods for recognizing the problem--the questions that need to be asked, the analyses that need to be conducted, and the appetite for change that needs to be generated. During the Preparation stage, there are essential tasks for the leaders (achieving alignment and commitment on vision, strategy, and values) that will provoke behavioral-change requirements of all members of the organization, and Duck introduces a BCG tool used to help assess the change bias of any organization. For the Implementation and Determination stages, Duck shares tips on walking the talk, being on the alert for human dynamics that threaten to derail the initiative, and communicating effectively, and offers advice on testing one"s assumptions as a leader and staying involved with the process of change at all levels--strategies designed to lead the organization through to the final stage of Fruition. Throughout, Duck refers to the largely positive change experience of a real company, Honeywell Micro Switch, and the less-effective actions of a fictional merger between two pharmaceutical firms.
Duck has also spent time as an artist and teacher, occupations reflected in her understanding of how people cope with both the reality of change and the manner in which it"s brought about. Though targeted at the change-management drivers of the business world, The Change Monster is infused with a sense of the effects of change in all areas of life. A sensitive exploration of an often-difficult process. --S. Ketchum