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The Change Monster


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A powerful look at corporate change and why mergers, reorganizations, and transformations succeed or fail

About the Author

Jeanie Daniel Duck is a senior vice-president with the Boston Consulting Group and has been published in the Harvard Business Review.


Although the concept of managing the implementation of major changes in business has existed for at least two decades, Duck contends that senior management often overlooks or underestimates the emotional impact of fundamental changes such as mergers, reengineering and strategic initiatives on employees. While "emotional data" (e.g., fear of job elimination, the sense that senior management doesn't know what it's doing) may not be easy to define, it's as critical to executing strategic change as financial data. In her work as a senior vice-president of the Boston Consulting Group, Duck came to the conclusion that while every company's experience with strategic change is unique, each will go through the same five phases of a model she calls the "change curve" (stagnation, preparation, implementation, determination and fruition). Understanding these components is what makes the difference between success and failure, she contends, offering countless anecdotes to support her claim. She stresses that leaders must help "institutionalize the proclivity for change," which, she maintains, can be "their most important legacy." Eschewing a formal business tone (she assumes her audience knows how to execute strategy), Duck frames her argument well, and even includes elements from her personal life to explain the emotional components of change. While the ultimate responsibility for managing change lies with those with the most authority, her message is pertinent to managers at all levels. Refreshing and to the point, Duck offers corporate leaders uncommon business advice in this evolving age of bricks, clicks and bricks-and-clicks. (May 1) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

"Since any change effort--from merger to corporate reorganization--inevitably involves people, it's hard to believe that no book has ever addressed this issue head-on. The Change Monster is all about the 'hard part' of strategy--getting the organization to internalize, commit to, and follow through with change. As Jeanie Duck well knows, even organizations that know they need to change often can't get up the head of steam needed. The Change Monster not only talks intelligently about the social dynamics and emotions of people, it does so with wisdom, insight, and practicality. With Jeanie Duck's book, managers now have a creative, powerful tool for understanding and dealing with this crucial subject."
-- Daniel Leemon, executive vice president and chief strategy officer, The Charles Schwab Corporation

"Where else can you explore companies like Sisyphus Systems and FastMovingGoods or learn why Ennui International is mired in the past and Worldwide Frenzy is going nowhere fast? With scores of such tales from the consultant's trenches, Jeanie Duck offers a practitioner's primer on revitalization. She puts you in the shoes of some who have failed and others who have succeeded, and in doing so graphically delivers her main message to management: Learn to master the emotions and obsessions of those who stand in the way of change, including your own, and once you do, you have your hands on a miraculous engine for change."
-- Michael Useem, professor of management and director of the Center for Leadership and Change at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, and author of The Leadership Moment

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