The Change Cycle: How People Can Survive and Thrive in Organizational Change

by Ann Salerno and Lillie Brock, Berrett-Koehler Pub-lishers, San Francisco, Calif., 2008, 199 pp., $19.95 -softcover

In 1969, Elizabeth Kübler-Ross defined the five stages of grief and helped people realize that denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance were natural, if not mandatory, stages that people move through in dealing with major losses in their lives.



Now, in The Change Cycle, Ann Salerno and Lillie Brock are bringing the same clarity and simplicity to the stages of organizational change. Whether the stages of loss, doubt, discomfort, discovery, understanding and integration are just as inevitable as the stages of grief, I found this approach to be useful as the school district I recently led moved through a major reorganization.

The pragmatic approach describes how both managers and employees are likely to feel, think and behave at each stage and gives readers alerts about things to watch out for or avoid as well as advice on what to pursue and nurture along the way.

The book is written in a deceptively simple and straightforward style, with plenty of wit woven into the descriptions and practical examples used to illustrate key points. To illustrate their insights, the authors move beyond cold facts and categories to the image of herding frogs and the strong emotions that can paralyze or sabotage the change process. “The change cycle meets people where their emotions are,” Salerno and Brock write, and that may be its key value in helping both managers and employees to navigate the change process.

The inevitability of change is a reality for all organizations that hope to remain viable and will be especially critical for education institutions that hope to thrive in the future.

Reviewed by Bob Schultz, educational consultant, Davis, Calif.