Change Management, in my perception, often entails showing step-by-step models by American authors on how to persuade people to accept change. The more scientific and tested, the better, and if they have been listed in the Harvard Business Review, even better. These models can be helpful, but often the change management literature is a bit dry and academic. Change is an emotional journey for many, and all the models in the world can’t help people see more clearly. They need a sense of owning their destiny no matter what happens.
The company I work for, Haldex, has been subject to great change the last years. Some of it has been driven by ourselves, such as a new cultural framework with our 5Cs and our updated strategy for the coming years. Some of the change is caused by outside conditions, such as another company wanting to acquire us. Here, we don’t know what will happen, since the European and US rules and processes for acquisitions are long and complex. Meanwhile, media is writing like crazy about the potential merger, while we have a daily job to handle professionally.
Two books that can be helpful for dealing with change on a personal level are Ryan Holiday’s The obstacle is the way and Katie Byron’s Loving what is. They are very different from each other but both focus on concrete actions to overcome fear and doubt, and find a way forward. Ryan is more focused on the Stoics and their way of turning obstacles into a way forward, with modern examples of people doing this. Katie draws spiritual lessons from Zen and Socratic inquiry and more, to help us stop arguing with reality and instead create the life we want. I found both books helpful on a more personal level, and as a great complement to the more strict, academic literature on change.
The next step after reading Ryan’s book could be Ryan’s book The Daily Stoic, which helps you practice the Stoic mindset every day. Of course, any book by Marcus Aurelius or the like also helps.
The next step after reading Katie’s book could be Eckhardt Tolle’s The Power of Now where you can leave our analytical mind and ego at least some of the time.
So, if you work with change management, or you are subject to changes too big for you to influence, the above books might help you and your colleagues. Don’t just throw academic books with 8 steps at them, saying we are at step one now so buckle up! Don’t forget that change management is an art and that it also includes winning the hearts of people. Once we are reminded about the fact that we are in charge of our own destiny, it gets easier to succeed in our daily jobs no matter what happens.