Change Management Book Review

Topics: Change management, Emotion, Management Pages: 11 (3784 words) Published: August 14, 2013





By: Rhonda Johnson
Spring 2007


Jeanie Duck, author of The Change Monster proposes a plan, which she calls the Change Curve, to deal with the emotional dynamics humans face when confronted with a major change. The Change Curve was developed by Ms. Duck after years of experiences dealing with change in her personal life and in her career as a consultant. The Change Curve is a map used to help pinpoint where you are in a change initiative, where you need to go and how you should proceed to get there. There are five phases of the Change Curve: Stagnation, Preparation, Implementation, Determination, and Fruition. By developing an understanding of each of these phases, managers and leaders are better equipped to deal with the emotions and resistance people feel when confronted with the fact that they are facing a major change. The author uses examples and stories about fictitious and real companies going through a major change or transformation to describe the right way and the wrong way to approach the Change Curve and manipulate your organization along the path. Emphasis in the book is placed on the importance of correctly dealing with the human factors in that the success or failure of the change depends on how well managers deal with the social and emotional dynamics involved in change.


The author, Jeanie Duck, introduces the concept of the Change Monster as the term used to describe all of the human issues that are involved in making major changes both personally and professionally. Based on her personal and professional experiences, she proposes that the emotional experience of going through change is similar for individuals and also for all kinds of organizations. Further, in order to be effective, she suggests that leaders and managers must not think of change as only an operational task, they must take into consideration the emotional data. “If leaders don’t take into consideration the emotional data, all the operational information and numeric data in the world won’t be enough to turn around a company. Changing an organization is inherently and inescapably an emotional human process. When I say emotional, I’m not talking about fleeting moods or surface feelings. I’m talking about the major states of emotional beings: fear curiosity, exhaustion, loyalty, paranoia, depression, optimism, rage, revelation, delight, and love.” (Duck, pg.9)

Based on her observations as a consultant, Duck identifies a common pattern that individuals experience when going through major change. From these observations, she surmises that if the common pattern is identified and understood, it can be managed. From this revelation, she developed what she calls the Change Curve. The Change Curve has five phases: Stagnation, Preparation, Implementation, Determination, and Fruition. The Change Curve is applicable to a wide range of companies, industries, and geographies because while each experience is different, the fundamental phases and principles of change are the same. “Once you begin to recognize the phases of change and understand the dynamics of each one, the Change Curve becomes visible – and useful – in almost every field of activity.” (Duck pg. 11) While change is arguably an emotional human process, the author also introduces two other essential elements required for successful change: Strategy, and Execution. The organization’s strategy must be sound and clearly articulated. The organization’s commitment to the strategy and values articulated must be unflinching. In the book, the author uses an event that occurred during one of her change consulting projects to demonstrate the importance of sticking to the values articulated and the difficulty involved in doing so. The company...
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