Organizational Change in “The Heart of Change” Book


Successes in organizations come out because of their qualities which are intangible. The world of today is experiencing a variety of changes politically, socially, technologically and economically. The changes occur on a worldwide basis leading to improved communication among people. It has brought about the availability of readily shared information all the time in history. Change has brought about the opening of new world markets, it has also created new countries and it has invented new industries. The world of today is purely business.

These are the areas where education is vital to a person who wants to be associated with current information. Change is simply transformation. Kotter and Cohen (2012, p. 173) illustrate the process of change implementations in systematic steps. The steps are effective in an organization and as a result disruptions are minimized. The writers have compared the eight steps for successful change in the organization. The heart of change book is a presentation method of organizational change in eight steps. Kotter and Cohen (2012, p.173) describe change as an appeal to our emotions. The pressure behind the need of change in an organization is totally different from the pressure witnessed in the spreadsheet.

Organizations gain competition advantage over other companies if only they strongly support the implementations which bring change. Most leaders in an organization fail to understand change despite the fact that there are many approaches of theories and models of change. They also fail to make commitments on the eight steps that are vital when making implementations on change. Resistance to change is one way of making an organization fail to achieve its goals. Kotter and Cohen (2012, p.173) suggest that understanding of change in an organization involves carrying out research on various types of change in the firm.

Change needs to be viewed on transitional and transformational perspective for easy definition. Transformational change is disruptive although it has a successful outcome which earns an organization stand a competition. Change developments disambiguate changes that are of large scale by endlessly making investigations on internal and external environments. Kotter and Cohen (2012, p.174) “developments in change escape large scale changes by endlessly scanning internal and external environments” this indicate change as endless. Continuous change never decreases (Farris, 2002, p.77).

Change models

Change models enables leaders get an understanding of change. Therefore it acts as guidance to their organizations. Kotter and Cohen (2012, p.174) discover many models that are meant to clarify phases and steps towards change. Cohen describes how people accept change rates in a number of ways that varies. An individual’s attitude is influenced by his/her reaction on a first site of change. Communication therefore is required to influence change adoption in an individual.

Change models have three processes which are; evaluating an organization, preparing a firm to change and changing employees’ engagements towards change. There are various types of classical movements. The assessment of the current state and preparing employees to accept change is called unfreezing. Freezing happens when individuals contribute in the process of change. Refreezing is an entry to firm’s culture. In 1969 models by Kotter outlines the usefulness of leadership that looks for new ways of approaching the firm’s culture. Kotter provides eight steps model. The steps are

  • A sense of urgency establishment
  • A guidance coalition form
  • Vision communication
  • Action empowerment to others
  • Planning and creating wins that are short term
  • Improvement and change production consolidation
  • New approaches institutionalization.

Kotter and Cohen critics on these models suggest that the models have failed to note the change complexity (Schurr, 2006, p. 45).

Teamwork contribution

Kotter and Cohen (2012, p.174) discover that involving employees contributes to employees input during decision making process. The decisions have influence on the performance in the organization. Involving employees is a way of teamwork contribution. Programs of Employee involvement in organizations creates positive ways that contributes to their endless contribution in the program.

Kotter and Cohen (2012, p.174) discover that employee involvement has great positive effect on implementations of change. Giving employees’ freedom is a way of encouraging teamwork contribution. This makes them make their own decisions that deliver positive results. Creative ideas from employees are an outcome of involving employees’ contributions. The style of a management that is facilitative ensures that effective communication skills are in their respective position in order to bring successful change.

The ability of a leader to influence employees to change so as to work in one direction depends on his/her talent of motivation (Kotter & Cohen p. 7). Team contribution needs motivation. Motivation determines job satisfaction and employees commitment in the organization (Nissen, 2014, p.5). Barriers of change to success are brought about by failure to understand the implementation techniques of change. Barriers are also caused by failure to upgrade an individual’s way of management.

According to Kotter and Cohen, character and behavior are key traits of leader (Zaleski, Gold, Rotella, & Andriani, 2002, p.77). Most studies have been done to proof the required traits of an effective leader. Theories behind behavior suggest different styles used by effective leaders. Kotter and Cohen (2012, p.174) vary on their ideas on perception as one of the factors that influence change. One of the biggest challenges faced by leaders toward change is negative perception (Kotter and Cohen, 2012, p. 175). Perception towards change is a disability that varies from one community to another (Ivancevich, Konopaske, and Matteson, 2011, p. 185).

Kotter and Cohen (2012, p.174) view leaders as transformers and developers. Coaching is another vital element of change that encourages teamwork contribution. Feedback and good communication skills determine a successful coaching. It increases strengths and reduces weakness of employees. This contributes to a heightened performance because of information awareness to the employees in an organization. Kotter and Cohen (2012, p.176) puts it clear that the main aim for coaching is to bring change.

They further say that skills of coaching enable employees to view situation from new perspectives. Coaching also allows employees learn from their mistakes. Kotter and Cohen (2012, p.174) believe that employees who are coached by their leaders are helped to improve their power of resilience which in return will have positive influence on the firm’s success. Coaching provides inspirations to people to do their best, and have focus on the future. Coaching also enables people to acquire networks that promote cooperation (Vasilah, 2002, p. 45).

Proper communication skills should be used by leaders to bring change. Communication enables leaders deliver messages so as to acquire feedback, and prepare employees for change. Effective communication in an organization is a leader’s responsibility. The creditability of leadership is minimized by disappointing results that are caused by inaccurate predictions and empty promises. This might lead to negative perceptions in employees. They might also have misinterpretations and develop trust violations. Kotter and Cohen (2012, p. 175) reveal that employees who feel that they been fairly treated perceive attitudes that is linked to change. Information discovers the truth when things are done incorrectly.

This helps people accept outcomes that are undesirable. Leaders are agents of change and they have the responsibility of providing employees with plenty of information that are relevant regarding to change impediments. They also have the responsibility of addressing questions provided by employees. They also have a responsibility in exploring ways where change might have impact on the employees’ acceptance and participation increments. Employees’ perception on personal benefits which is related to change is greatly influenced by the employees’ acceptance. Strength and weaknesses determination in an organization is done when employees ask questions, evaluate them and measure the arguments against change. As an outcome, of the argument, well rationalized developments get acceptance by the employees while weaknesses are declined by the employees.

Effective communication is a motivation to employees who take commitments towards change. Relevant communication is a source of feedback and a backup for change in employees. Vision is created by effective communication. Vision is a motivator to employees and enables them take action in a right way. Vision can be put across quickly and clearly. It can also help in coordinating action in an efficient way. The vision should include current situation realities at the same time put ambitious goals in the right place. Good leaders have the knowledge of making ambitious goals attainable and achievable.

During communication a leader should make sure that they communicate to their employees about their vision by using a strong strategy. This will assist them in seeing vision achievement in employees. Vision creation depends on the size of the suggested change. This factor enables them to come up with good decisions that prepare those merits and demerits that revolve around change (Nissen, 2014, p. 13). Kotter and Cohen (2012, p.174) emphasized that motivation requires experienced leaders with organizational skills on providing motivational environment.

Motivation environment includes effective communication, addressing questions of employees, creative ideas generation, planning actions of employees and employees’ action commitment. Motivation may include giving employees time to solve complex solutions. Also giving employees’ freedom and resources are part of motivating them. Motivation makes things to be on the move (Benjamin, Naimi, & Lopez, 2012, p. 55-56).

Teamwork benefits

Kotter and Cohen (2012, p.174) identified teamwork benefits enable workers to work in unity with one another in order to achieve more goals that is better than working independently. Kotter and Cohen (2012, p.176) views influence is an outcome of teamwork and in the design of group work. Teamwork can be designed in a manner that it enables workers with diverse skills that empowers them to socialize constructively so as to challenge one another’s ideas. Social sites have crucial effects on organizational performance (Bloch, & Erbe, 2010, p.72).

Organizations that work effectively in teams achieve goals and remain strong as a group for long. “Teamwork can be affected by hostile conditions environments, expectations that are unrealistic, poor communication skills, lack of skill of training” (Bloch, & Erbe, 2010, p.74). Open communication thrives teams. Short term achievements must be put clearly and fairly through clear communications of guidelines that brings out success. The efforts shown towards the success must balance. These successes are regarded as wins. The wins are an indication that the employees’ sacrifices towards change are bringing positive results.

When a leader is working with his/her team he/she should measure performance by choosing improvements that convince not vague ones. He has to ensure that people see realistic evidence that is a progress to change. He should be timely in a manner that results into positive evidence in a given period of time. He/she has to be relevant by ensuring that organizational improvement brings meaning to the majority (Benjamin, Naimi, & Lopez, 2012, p. 56).

Teams develop the correct vision, it provides information to a large group of people, it eliminates any key barriers, it brings about wins within a short period of time, it leads and manages a number of project changes and it brings new approaches into the culture of an organization. Teams should have the correct combination, trust and objectives that are shared among the team members. For effective leading of change, a leader has to unite people who are influential. Rewarding different levels of expertise can be of great assistance to change (Ashraf, & Khan, 2013 pg. 24).


Some people may resist change when they notice that talks are being transformed to actions. For a leader to overcome rejects, he/she has to understand why the employees are resisting change. After understanding the reasons why the employees have rejected change, he has to identify their reasons. Reasons might include fear, lack of acknowledgement, uncertainty of the gains he/she might earn as an outcome of change, disagreement on the need for change, lack of knowledge of how to change, a feeling that he is not being communicated to, if he strongly believes in his/her old ways and if he/she lacks trust.

Positive and negative short- term results provide important information on the change feasibility. Ways of identifying and understanding stakeholders is by developing messages that are of high level that captures the vision, using statements that are short and brief, using images to predict the organization future state, using the day-today activities of business throughout the process of change, providing people with real opportunities, making connections that are clear and are happening. Incorporating cultural changes are done by putting first not last, communicating and ensuring the visibility of success, empowering by promotions and reinforcing every new employee with the culture.

Leaders can promote results and performance by compensating and rewarding employees. Rewards are motivations that outline the importance of change. A leader can fail if he rewards an employee for what they are not willing to do or if he/she fails to reward an employee for work well done. Kotter and Cohen noted that effective change is an outcome of effective reward and compensation if only they are taken into the account of the organizational nature initiatives of change.

The effective compensations constantly change (Bloch, & Erbe, 2010, p.73). The cultures need to be strongly maintained. New employees joining successful organizations must be tuned according to culture. Employers have a responsibility of ensuring that the new employees adapt well to the culture to avoid unnecessary rejections.


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Benjamin, B.M., Naimi, L.L., & Lopez, J. P. (2012). Organizational Change Models in Human Resource Development. Insights to a Changing World Journal, 2, 55-66.

Bloch, B., & Erbe, N. (2010). The Organizational Ombudsman as Change Agent for Organizational and Social Capital. Journal of the International Ombudsman Association, 3(2), 72-75.

Farris, D. (2002). The Heart of Change (Book). Library Journal, 127(11), 77.

Ivancevich, J., Konopaske, R., & Matteson, M. (2011). Organizational behavior and management (9th ed.). Boston: McGraw-Hill.

Kotter, J.P., & Cohen, D.S. (2012). The Heart of Change. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.

Nissen, L.B. (2014). The Power of Organizational Readiness to Boost Success with the 2008 EPAS in Social Work Education. Journal of Social Work Education, 50(1), 5-18.

Schurr, A. (2006). What to read to get ahead. Network World, 23(43), 45-45.

Stenling, C. (2013). The Introduction of Drive-in Sport in Community Sport Organizations as an Example of Organizational Non-Change. Journal of Sport Management, 27(6), 497-509.

Vasilah, G.S. (2002). The heart not by-passed. Automotive Design & Production, 114(8), 45.

Zaleski, J., Gold, S. F., Rotella, M., Andriani, L. (2002). The Heart of Change (Book). Publishers Weekly, 249(22), 77.

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