Changing and succeeding under any conditions is something that all of us are currently experiencing as we adapt to the daily challenges of Covid-19 world pandemic. Since 23rd March 2020, I’ve had the opportunity to revisit books that I enjoyed reading as part of my journey to become a qualified Executive Coach and over the coming weeks I’ll share with you my learning and views on the books.
Who is the book for?
This book was written by John Kotter and Holger Rathgeber and tells the fable of a penguin colony in Antartica. The book is for anyone who works in a business from a CEO to a secondary school pupil going through and experiencing change whether that be in their personal or work life. The fable takes you through Kotter’s 8 steps to change in a fun and creative manner enabling you to put real life change into a storyboard whereby penguins go through the same process when one of them realises the iceberg is melting and they have choices to make.
What did I like about the book?
I read this book in an hour. It was easy to read and made the 8 steps of change simple through the use of storytelling.
I could relate to each of the penguins and the process they went through to get the leadership team, middle managers and workforce on board with the unknown element of change. The biggest learning I took away was when the leadership Council birds, the middle management penguins and the chicks are all on the same page with regards to change, it is amazing what can happen, despite adverse conditions.
Towards the end of the book is a section about the role of thinking and feeling. This can lead to better results by thinking differently which can help to change behaviour. Feeling differently can change behaviour more, which can then lead to even better results.
How have I used my learning?
When I was a Team Manager in 2015, I used my knowledge of this book to share with other team managers in a presentation all about cultural change. This led me to taking a team of disengaged employees on a journey of self discovery and helping them understand that change is part of life, it’s what we do in those situations that make a difference. This opportunity led me to use all of my coaching skills and tools to re-ignite the team to improve their performance.
I also shared my experience with Senior Leaders across 4 other contact centres to encourage them to take a similar approach to improve performance and change the contact centre culture.
How will I use this learning to grow my business further?
I am not naturally an analytic person and it’s a skill I’m still developing, however there is an exercise in the back of the book which I’m going to use for my own business and then use with my clients as and when appropriate. The exercise is a formal analysis in four columns – the eight steps, what the birds did, what you and your groups have been doing, what you might do. I believe this will be a powerful reflection.
I have put the 8 steps of change on an A4 sheet of paper which is now on my vision board to help me remember and reflect where I and teams currently are in the change process.
Claire Cahill is an Executive Confidence and Leadership Coach specialising in Employee Engagement. This book review has been written as part of her Continuous Personal Development.