Change management

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Beyond Change Management: Advanced Strategies for Today’s Transformational Leaders Dean Anderson and Linda Ackerman Anderson 2001 Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer

A Book Review

Beyond Change Management focuses on the interaction of leadership style, mindset, and the change process- and does shatter the myth that transformation can be managed! This book offers directions and clear framework for ways of thinking and behaving that are essential for successful change.

I borrowed this book from a fellow classmate when she realized that this title may be a very interesting source for me as I undertake my project related to organizational change.

I learned that there are three very different types of change operating in organizations, each which requires different change strategies. Developmental and transitional changes are the easiest to lead because the outcomes can be quantified and known in advance of implementation. Culture, behavior or mindset change is not required and the process, resource requirements and timetable are manageable.

Yet the third type of change, and most complex type of organizational change is transformational namely because the future state can not be completely known, organizational culture and mindset must be transformed and the change process itself can not be tightly managed because of the unknown and unpredictability. Beyond change Management is focused on the success of transformational change.

At first, when I started this book, I felt as though I had already some kind of [intuitive] knowledge about the subject and it felt partly too as if I was about to read some type of ”pre-packaged” informational bits. For example, when I read that there are two leadership approaches: conscious and reactive, I thought “okay, this makes sense … where have I heard this before?”

However, once committed to reading the book it was hard for me put down. The language and the style made this an easy and comfortable read. Theory, yes, but laid out in such a way that I grasped a lot of the information quickly. The language is plain enough to be down to earth and the tone is informational, not exclusive. Beyond Change Management leans solely on organizational change in the private sector but the language is open to include change in a variety of different circumstances.

This book explores the different types of mindsets and in doing so it demonstrates the impact of mindset on perception, state of being, and culture, it challenges the reader to explore assumptions of reality and outlines ten principles of conscious transformation: wholeness, interconnectedness, multi-dimensional, continues process, continuously learn and course correct, abundance, balance planning with emerging dynamics, lead as if the future is now, optimize human dynamics and evolve mindset. The authors go further by writing about different thinking orientations: project, systems, and, a seemingly holistic version of the two combined, conscious process and this ultimately leads us to the process of change. I particularly came to appreciate learning the difference between change managers and change leaders (needing to control and manage change versus being open, flexible, and intentional through a process).

I also liked the concrete tools that the authors included in this book especially the different models used for change: competency model, learning and course correction, twenty one dimensions of conscious transformation, the self mastery model, assessing [one’s own] leadership style, and the change process models. This visual information is really quite helpful for me in terms of coming to a genuine understanding of conceptual ideas. The Fundamental Law of Success is one such tool that I can easily apply. It is an equation that shows the impact of mindset on performance.

Ability Level x Mental State =Performance

Ability only indicates a person’s potential for success whereas our mindsets have a direct impact on our inner state of being and this is what can propel us toward achieving results.

The bibliography is a five-page reader’s smorgasbord chocked filled with areas of interest around mindsets, leadership, quantum reality, personal transformation, and synchronicity to name a few.

I did not like the authors’ dependency on numbering steps, principals, and phases. For example, there are ten principals of transformation, nine phases of change, three thinking orientations, four cornerstones of an emerging mindset, twenty-one dimensions of conscious transformation, etc. Nor did I like the not-so-subtle reminders that more detailed information on such and such will be found in the authors’ second book-a companion guide The Change Leader’s Road map.

Beyond Change Management strikes me as both an introductory tool for those even somewhat interested in the topic (which in reality is an enormously vast, complex, and varied subject) and as a reference tool for those who are leaders of change in any capacity.

I learned that for me to continue to learn and grow professionally and personally that I can [and must] be more aware and strategic in my own process.

I will look for my own copy of Beyond Change Management so that I can go back and highlight numerous areas that I want to re-visit; most especially because I found that the information can be applied not only in the context of organizational change but can also be applied in a variety of ways including self mastery.