Kotter, whose next book is tentatively titled The Leading Change Companion, is intrigued by a leader’s ability to thrive in the context of change. Effective leaders help others to understand the necessity of change and to accept a common vision of the desired outcome.

“People need to think honestly, Wow, this is a good idea,’ in order for them to be willing to change,” he says. Rosabeth Moss Kanter observes: “Personal passion and force of personality aren’t enough. Other people must become believers, too.”

Empowerment is also vital to managing the change process. For example, Kotter reasons, “if I’m under pressure from my boss, and the information technology doesn’t give me what I need in order to do my job, and every time I take a risk I get shot down by the performance appraisal system, obviously I’m not going to make any progress.”

“Individuals at all levels of an organization need to be able to take responsibility for their decisions,” Thomas elaborates. “They’ve got to feel they have a sphere of influence that allows them to have their own version of enacting the organization’s vision and strategy.” Kanter puts it this way: “Leaders must wake people out of inertia. They must get people excited about something they’ve never seen before, something that do not yet exist.”


Thomas asserts that there needs to be an alignment of the interests of the organization and the interests of the individuals: “It is crucial that the incentives are actually meaningful, whether they are monetary or intrinsic, such as projects that are designed to be satisfying to the worker in addition to taking the organization where it needs to go.”

Kanter, whose new book Evolve! Deals with leadership challenges when change is threatening, notes that it’s important to keep people’s “eyes on the prize.” She points out that “people often resist change for reasons that make good sense to them, even if those reasons don’t correspond to organizational goals. So it is crucial to recognize, reward, and celebrate accomplishments.” ‘