There is something compelling about a bulleted or numbered list. It provides safety and a certain amount of psychological security. “Oh,” we think, “if I just do everything on the list then my…” and you get to complete the sentence — my employees will be engaged, my organizational change will be successful, my new career will be fulfilling, my team’s trust will be rebuilt. We all know it isn’t really that easy, but still we want to believe.
I have to admit I wasn’t too sure about this bookwhen I first picked it up. My experience in organizational change tells me that you can’t possibly have a simple seven-step process that is a) going to work and b) going to last. But I became enchanted by Shaner’s style and his insistence on the “art” of change. He is a big believer in organizational culture and although his comparison of change management to a spiritual discipline is a little extreme for me, I do appreciate his notion that change is inherently individual and personal — one size does not fit all. I also recommend this book
for anyone who thinks that change management is just about communication — this attitude and lack of understanding is a personal pet peeve of mine. Shaner’s first art is the “art of preparation: assessment” and therein lies the key to success of any change — do you know the current landscape and culture before you set out to make any changes? Most leaders do not. They think they do, but they do not. Shaner’s multi-cultural and spiritual background makes him an unlikely change management guru, yet it all works out quite well.