The Change Riders: Managing the Power of Change

The Change Riders: Managing the Power of Change

The Change Riders: Managing the Power of Change

The Change Riders: Managing the Power of Change


Your company has just announced a major change in its business direction. Even top performers are questioning their job security, and it's your responsibility to see that productivity and quality levels are not disturbed, or the consequences could be even greater. How do you manage this situation and keep it from snowballing our of control?Downsizing, acquisitions, mergers, and plant closings are examples of changes that impact employees. When change strikes your organization, you need to find a way to position your people to take advantage of the situation, rather than be overcome by it. A rider pits human intelligence against the superior strength of a wild horse, in this case, change. You will not try to master the animal, but rather exploit its strength to achieve your goals. This book shows how to become a successful "Change Rider."Gary Kissler, in his past work and in his current position providing Change Management Services for Andersen Consulting, has had the unique opportunity to see how change is handled in organizations. In The Change Riders, he offers these "was stories" so that others may learn from them and he provides insights to explain their success or failure. The Change Riders also presents practical tools to guide organizations in managing the impact of change. These tools include a "blueprint" showing major variables that need to be considered, and a "roadmap" to plan out the steps.


In addition to wandering through a good wine shop reading label after label in search of a fine chardonney, one of my favorite activities is bookstore browsing. When I get to the business and management section, however, my browsing pleasure often turns into despair. The books are either "This is how I did it and therefore you should" or one anecdote piled on top of yet another example of excellent vs. bad practice. The lessons to be learned from such books are usually trite and void of any evidence based on relevant data, much less linked to sound, appropriate theory.

And while I am at it, another beef of mine is the distinction between the so-called "real world" and other presumably "unreal" worlds, usually targeted as the academic one. I live and operate in both the business and academic worlds. Both are quite real to me. Different, to be sure, but real, nevertheless. Yes, there is theory and there is practice; sometimes they match, sometimes they do not. I tire and am quite intolerant of those who come from either extreme. What is important, certainly for me, is the bridge between the two; or, if no bridge exists, to begin the process of constructing one.

The objective of this Addison-Wesley series of books for managers is to build bridges between what we know to be sound and therefore what can be depended on in practice. For example, if you want ownership by your associates of a decision with subsequent implementation, then the more you involve them the greater the likelihood of commitment. You can count on it. This principle of behavior is grounded in research, theory, and in a myriad of people's experiences. Our intent in this series of books is to provide example after example of these linkages. Our intent is not to provide fluff, the latest rage in management, or overly academic or overly "practical" books.

The author of the book you are now holding has been there. He kept notes, at least mental ones, about what he observed and experienced there, reflected on these observations and experiences, and gradually began to see linkages to theory, models, and research (especially in the final chapter). Moreover, his linkages are invaluable in helping us to sort myth from reality, especially with respect to the effects of change on people in organizations and even more particularly with respect to the effects of downsizing (a euphemism for permanent layoffs).

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