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Lub-Dub

Change can be business CPR, but you have to do it right.

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This story appears in the September 2002 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

In The Heart of Change: Real-Life Stories of How People Change Their Organizations (Harvard Business School Press), John P. Kotter and Dan S. Cohen build on the eight-step change process from Kotter's 1996 Leading Change (Harvard Business School Press). The book relies on hundreds of interviews of senior managers at companies undergoing major change. Cohen's employer, Deloitte Consulting; did the interviewing. Kotter analyzed the results. His key finding: People change when their feelings change, not when their thoughts change.

If you're leading a company through change, say the authors, make employees feel differently by appealing to their emotions rather than making them think differently by appealing to their rational side. In practice, that means using stories, pictures, roleplaying and personal contact rather than spreadsheets, mission statements and other analytical, rational tools. For instance, one company tells how it got its employees energized to focus on customers by playing a videotape of an important customer complaining about problems with its products. Other ideas are equally specific and easy to use, in companies of any size.

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