I just finished reading Leading Change by John P. Kotter. In this book, the author discusses in detail an eight-stage process of creating major changes. The steps are as follows: establishing a sense of urgency, creating the guiding coalition, developing a vision and strategy, communicating the change vision, empowering broad-based action, generating short-term wins, consolidating gain and producing more change, and finally anchoring new approaches in the culture. Anyone who has dealt with change can identify some of the stages outlined. The challenge is to work through them methodically and ensuring that each stage is successful to build a lasting change on a solid foundation. From my experience, numerous changes attempt to fast-track or skip some of these stages. While on the short term, this may not seem like an issue, sooner or later the change ultimately fails to achieve the desired outcome. In addition, despite that big changes take time to complete, it is vital to build and achieve small wins to maintain the change momentum. John offers extensive examples from his professional career, through which he illustrates both successful and unsuccessful changes. One of the pivotal points he makes is around leadership and management, what their role is in the change and the differences between them. For a change to succeed both strong leaders and strong managers are needed. Overall a very interesting read for anyone leading a major project/change initiative. I will conclude from a quote from the last chapter, which I particularly enjoyed reading on personal development and the concept of competitive capacity: “In attempting to explain why most (students of HBS) were doing well in their careers…I found the two elements stood out: competitive drive and lifelong learning.” Competitive drive is characterized by a level of standards, a desire to do well and self-confidence in competitive situations. Lifelong learning is characterized by a willingness to seek new challenges, and a willingness to reflect honestly on success and failures.