Change: Theme of the Year. Also in Books

10 books for an interesting summer read

Blog QualiWare Change: Theme of the Year. Also in Books

June, 2021 by John Gøtze

Over the past 18 months, global development has taught us many things about fragility, resilience, and innovation in our ways of working and living. Fragile business models and patterns have been crushed by the virus, while others have shown remarkable resilience. Innovation and creativity have spawned new businesses and initiatives.

Coping with change is more crucial than ever. Fortunately, many leading thinkers and writers have taken the opportunity to write and publish about change. I have selected ten books published this year on various aspects of change. I highly recommend each of them.

Change: How Organizations Achieve Hard-to-Imagine Results in Uncertain and Volatile Times
Change: How Organizations Achieve Hard-to-Imagine Results in Uncertain and Volatile Times
by John P. Kotter, Vanessa Akhtar and Gaurav Gupta

All students of change management are familiar with Kotter’s classic 8-step change management model, first published 25 years ago. A lot has happened since then, and now – with his 21st book - Kotter and his co-authors share the emerging science of change that can teach us much about how to build organizations that are more agile and able to change more rapidly.

Think Again
Think Again
by Adam Grant

Sometimes changing means changing your mind. In his wonderful new book, Wharton's top-rated professor Adam Grant examines the critical art of rethinking: learning to question your opinions and open other people's minds, which can position you for excellence at work and wisdom in life. Grant weaves together research and storytelling to help us build the intellectual and emotional muscle we need to stay curious enough about the world to actually change it.

The Hard and Soft Sides of Change Management: Tools for Managing Process and People
The Hard and Soft Sides of Change Management: Tools for Managing Process and People
by Kathryn Zukof

In this approachable and useful book, Zukof’s message is that you need to manage the process (or the “hard”) side and the people (or the “soft”) side of change and find the sweet spot between the two. Zukof offers great advise on getting Project Management and Change Management to work together, and demonstrates why and how classic tools, like a RACI matrix, are perhaps more relevant today than ever before.

How to Change: The Science of Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be
How to Change: The Science of Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be
by Katy Milkman

Award-winning Wharton Professor and Choiceology podcast host Katy Milkman has devoted her career to the study of behavior change. Through engaging stories and examples from Milkman’s cutting-edge research, this book illustrates how to identify and overcome the barriers that regularly stand in the way of change. Milkman describes a number of obstacles to change – through chapters about impulsivity, procrastination, forgetfulness, laziness, confidence, and conformity.

Framers: Human Advantage in an Age of Technology and Turmoil
Framers: Human Advantage in an Age of Technology and Turmoil
by Kenneth Cukier, Viktor Mayer-Schönberger and Francis de Véricourt

The source of human power is neither muscle nor mind but models. To frame is to make a mental model that enables us to see patterns, predict how things will unfold, and make sense of new situations. Frames guide the decisions we make and the results we attain. People have long focused on traits like memory and reasoning leaving framing all but ignored. But with computers becoming better at some of those cognitive tasks, framing stands out as a critical function—and only humans can do it.

The Imagination Machine How to Spark New Ideas and Create Your Company’s Future
The Imagination Machine How to Spark New Ideas and Create Your Company’s Future
by Martin Reeves and Jack Fuller

Drawing on the experience and insights of CEOs across several industries, as well as lessons from neuroscience, computer science, psychology, and philosophy, Martin Reeves of Boston Consulting Group's Henderson Institute and Jack Fuller, an expert in neuroscience, provide a fascinating look into the mechanics of imagination and lay out a process for creating ideas and bringing them to life.

Small Data, Big Disruptions How to Spot Signals of Change and Manage Uncertainty
Small Data, Big Disruptions How to Spot Signals of Change and Manage Uncertainty
by Martin Schwirn

An organization’s future success depends on their decision makers’ ability to anticipate changes and disruptions in the marketplace. But how do you get information about tomorrow today? How can your decisions today account for tomorrow’s uncertainties? Martin Schwirn presents a toolkit to foresee coming changes. Understand why big data will not help you with understanding tomorrow’s disruptions. The future starts with small data - first.

Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgment
Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgment
by Daniel Kahneman, Olivier Sibony and Cass R. Sunstein

Kahneman, Sibony, and Sunstein have teamed up to show the detrimental effects of noise, which they call a flaw in human judgement. Wherever there is judgment, there is noise. Yet, people and organizations alike are unaware of it; they neglect noise. With a few simple remedies, people can reduce both noise and bias, and so make far better decisions. Sometimes a thorough noise audit is called for in order to break the illusion of agreement while in fact disagreeing in daily professional judgments.

Leading Transformative Change Collectively A Practitioner Guide to Realizing the SDGs
Leading Transformative Change Collectively A Practitioner Guide to Realizing the SDGs
by Petra Kuenkel, Elisabeth Kühn, Dominic Stucker, Douglas F. Williamson

This book directly helps decision-makers and change agents in companies, NGOs, and government bodies become more proficient in transformative, collaborative change in realizing UNs Sustainable Development Goals. The book can be used as a guide to apply a breakthrough approach for navigating the complexity of stakeholder systems, designing results-oriented process architectures, ensuring the success of cross-sector change initiatives, and enlivening collaboration ecosystems for SDG implementation.

Solving Public Problems: A Practical Guide to Fix Our Government and Change Our World
Solving Public Problems: A Practical Guide to Fix Our Government and Change Our World
by Beth Simone Noveck

Noveck is Chief Innovation Officer for the State of New Jersey and a professor at New York University where she is also the Director of The Governance Lab. In her new book she quotes the famous anthropologist Margaret Mead who said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has,” and adds that this is a book about Mead’s thoughtful, committed citizens whose numbers, Noveck believes, are not small at all, especially when including all the changemakers inside government and in non-profits as well as for-profits working with government to change government to the better. Probably the most inspiring book of the year.

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Want more book recommendations? See my list 52 Books from 2020.