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Getting Change Right: How Leaders Transform Organizations from the Inside Out
Seth Kahan

Retail Price: $27.95
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Format: Hardcover, 256pp.
ISBN: 9780470550489
Publisher: Jossey-Bass
Pub. Date: May 17, 2010

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Description and Reviews
From The Publisher:

An innovative communication method for making change happen in any organization

Getting Change Right presents a new view of leadership communication that says change doesn't flow top-down, bottom-up, or sideways, but inside-out. This is how change spreads through a complex system successfully-the other options are force or failure. Based on years of experience with organizations around the world, change expert Kahan presents a new model of communication, one that moves from a transactional view of information exchange to a collaborative construction of shared understanding. When the right people are having the right conversations and interactions, then they act in concert even though the situations they confront independently are impossible to predict or coordinate. This dynamic practitioner's guide to implementing change
  • Presents the innovative co-creation communication model for creating change
  • Reveals how communicating with a company's most valuable players is at the heart of organizational change
  • Draws on the author's wealth of experience with Fortune 100 companies, leading government agencies, and associations
Getting Change Right offers business insights and field-tested, practical techniques that can be put to work immediately.

"Calling on expertise and insight honed by years of top-tier management consulting and thought leadership, (Kahan) writes with warm savvy and a rare technical expertise that informs leaders on how they can strategically and logistically enact change the first time around." -from the Foreword by Bill George

Change doesn't flow top down, bottom up, or sideways, but inside out. Real change happens only when people want it to happen, when they feel engaged. Without engagement, you are left with two alternatives: force and failure.

In Getting Change Right, Seth Kahan challenges you to approach change in a whole new way. Based on years of experience with organizations around the world, Kahan presents a new model of leadership communication-one that moves from top-down dictums to the collaborative construction of shared understanding.

Filled with techniques, templates, and guidelines, Getting Change Right is, first and foremost, a practitioner's guide to implementing change. Presenting a critical shift from the old mind-set of coming up with a good idea and then pushing it through with mandates, Kahan shows how the way to successful, authentic change is through engagement-the need to connect to people, to listen as much as to share ideas, and to involve as many key people as possible in the realization of their goals. When the right people are having the right conversations and interactions, they act in concert, even when the situations they confront are unpredictable.

This hands-on guide offers sample dialogues, questions, assessments, and all-new "Expert Input" from leading change authorities John Kotter, Stephen Denning, and James Wolfensohn, among others.

Getting Change Right goes beyond mere suppositions and hypotheses. It offers business insights and field-tested, practical techniques that you can put to work immediately. This is your guidebook to making change happen in any organization.


"What an exciting read! Every page explodes with cutting-edge ideas, practical advice, and the wisdom of experience. Today, so many speak about fear of our rapidly changing conditions. However, as Seth Kahan convincingly demonstrates, by harnessing the power of collaborative relationships, positive transformation is possible everywhere. And he shows us the way!"
—Kenneth J. Gergen, president, the Taos Institute and author, Relational Being

"Organizations recognize the need for change and the relative speed and accuracy that is required for effective execution. The challenge is 'how' to do it. People are the secret ingredient and Seth Kahan clearly offers the path to get you there. This is a must-read 'NOW' for any leader or organization looking to make bold moves in order to stay competitive."
—George A. Castineiras, senior vice president, Prudential Financial, Inc.

"Break through the standard paraphernalia of most change programs-budgets, mandates, plans, PowerPoint, top-down directives, and roll-out. Getting Change Right reveals how big change happens fast by engaging with people and creating conversations that cascade through the organization, igniting widespread energy and enthusiasm."
—Stephen Denning, author, The Leader's Guide to Storytelling and The Secret Language of Leadership

"In Getting Change Right, Seth Kahn provides practical advice supported by real-life examples that every leader can use to lead effective change. Seth emphasizes that people, their diverse viewpoints, and their relationships and connections are the real keys to successful change. All leaders transforming their industries and professions can benefit from keeping these important tenets in mind."
—Chris McEntee, CEO, American Institute of Architects

"Seth Kahan delivers that rare blend of wisdom and practicality in an engaging and entertaining read that is at once both blueprint and playbook. If Getting Change Right isn't in your arsenal, odds are you'll get change wrong."
—Matthew E. May, author, In Pursuit of Elegance and The Elegant Solution

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About the Author

Seth Kahan is an international speaker, trainer, and consultant who has worked with CEOs and senior leaders responsible for large-scale change around the world. He is the author of Fast Company's expert blog "Leading Change" (SethFast.com), and a regular contributor to the Washington Post column "On Success" (SethPost.com). He is an Associate of the Taos Institute. Kahan received the designation Visionary by the Center for Association Leadership, and The Society for the Advancement of Consulting has recognized him as a Thought-leader and Exemplar in the field of Change Leadership.

Table of Contents

List of Figures
Foreword by Bill George
1Creating Rapid Widespread Engagement
Expert Input: Ken and Mary Gergen on Social Construction and Leading Change
Expert Input: Steve Denning on Operating Without Budget or Authority
2Communicating So People Get It and Spread It
Expert Input: Rick Stone on the Power of Story
3Energizing Your Most Valuable Players
Expert Input: Jim Wolfensohn on Talking to Everyone
4Understanding the of Change
Expert Input: Madelyn Blair on Storylistening for Reconnaissance
5Accelerating Change Through Performance Communities
Expert Input: Etienne Wenger on Communities of Practice
6Generating Dramatic Surges in Progress
Expert Input: Lesley Shneier on the World Bank's Knowledge Fairs
Breaking Through Logjams
Expert Input: Larry Forster on the Competency for Collaboration
WorkLifeSuccess in the Midst of Change
Expert Input: John Kotter on the Greatest Positive Impact
Appendix A: Sample Strategic Engagement Plan
Appendix B: JumpStart Storytelling
About the Author

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