Book Review: True Change – Janice Klein

Categories: Book Reviews

We have all got our favorite consulting jokes (I am sure there is one about a watch…). In this age of cost reduction, many firms have lost their spare capacity to work on new projects, develop deep insights into a market or technology, or they lack the skills and brainpower to solve intractable problems. In this respect, the need for consultants in the corporate world has never been greater.

At the same time, there is a growing movement of people who believe that the solution to major corporate problems is right under the nose of the CEO: their staff. Employees are close to customers, close to suppliers, close to their internal processes. At the same time, companies only get value from innovation when change is embraced by staff, and clearly change imposed from on-high (with a dose of consultancy) is harder to implement that change driven from within.

‘True Change’ occurs, according to Klein, when ideas or concepts become embedded in the organization, and does not rely on an individual or group who initiated the original change. Klein describes a concept of Outsider-Insider, employees who are either outsiders to the business process but who can provide compelling ‘inside’ viewpoints, or insiders who deliberately look outside the business problem for advice and inspiration.

Intriguingly the notion of challenge is strong in True Change. People need to be motivated to think creatively about problems, and the best way is for management to challenge their staff to work on specific problem areas. This, and the outsider-insider concept, maps closely onto the Idea Management process increasingly used in companies. This book provides critical support to these initiatives, and provides practical advice for those embarking on implementations.

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