Top 3 Change Management Books

After recommending several models, and looking at the bigger challenges in change management, we’ve also looked at some blogs and learning sources to come to grips with this science a little better. Unfortunately, this is a science that can often get pushed on people who haven’t been trained in this professionally, because companies assume anyone in management can actually handle this just fine. So, they figure, cut a few corners and save a buck by not hiring a skilled professional in change management. Well, you try convincing them you’re not trained for it. Your funeral, right? Today, we’ll give you yet more good learning sources in the form of change management books.

It may seem surprising that such a niche field of expertise would have so much literature available for it. But, there are a ton of change management books out there, of varied levels of quality and aptitude, so you have your pick of quite a few choices.

Who has time to read everything? Why not let me make it a little simpler, and give you a few recommendations to narrow down that overwhelming bulk of choices just a bit?

#1 – Leading Change (John Kotter)

Ok, this guy actually designed one of the most popular modern models of change management out there, the Kotter eight step model. You may recall in our reviews of popular models and methodologies, we praised this model as the best of the “boxed” models out there.

Well, if you want to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth, and have this model fleshed out to you in a sure fire way, then this is where to go to get precisely that. Kotter knows his psychology and his leadership dynamics, so if you can only read one book on the topic, then I’d say go with this one.

#2 – 20 Change Exercises for Group Workshops (David Williams)

This is a little different, but you probably know we’re big fans of gamification wherever possible. The engagement this concept brings in, along with the motivation and adhesiveness of learned behavior that it allows is making a lot of waves in the workplace, in training and yes, in change management.

Williams shows you some simple, to the point exercises that help cement change and organically overcome those hurdles of apprehension and insecurity that comes with bringing change to an established organization. But, this is pretty supplementary, so if you go with this one, you might want to include Kotter’s book, or the next one along with it.

#3 – Change Management (Jeff Hiatt)

If you’re looking for a more textbook look at the organizational sociology and logistical dynamics of change management independent of specific models, or free of gimmicks, then this is probably going to work well for you. While it’s not clinical and dry, Hiatt takes you on a tour of this science from both sides of the fence – the human element and the technical aspect of handling implementing change in a timely way that won’t stall the system.

I’m a bigger fan of Kotter’s offering despite its model dependence, but not all tastes in this are the same, and Hiatt’s book would be a close second, and they both work well with the exercises in Williams’ unique volume.

These are only three of the good change management books – there are in fact several, so if you don’t like these, or they don’t give you all you need to cover your bases, then there are plenty more to pick up the slack.

Christopher Smith
Chris is the Lead Author & Editor of Change Blog. Chris established the Change blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Change Management.
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