The Science of Successful Organizational Change

The Science of Successful Organizational Change

The Science of Successful Organizational Change: Re-read Week 1, Introduction

Today we will begin the next book in the Re-read Saturday Series, The Science of Successful Organizational Change. Steven Adams (SPaMCAST 437, SPaMCAST 412 and nearly every entry in the Re-read Saturday series) will lead this re-read.   Remember to use the link to buy a copy to support the podcast and blog.  In the first installment, Steven will introduce the book, his plan for the re-read, and tackle the introduction.  I will add comments after each installment has been published.  Please share your comments!

The Science of Successful Organizational Change: Re-read led by Steven Adams


I stumbled into Paul Gibbons’ book “The Science of Successful Organizational Change” (get your copy).  I was searching Amazon for “Agile Change Management”.  The book’s sub-title “How Leaders Set Strategy, Change Behavior, and Create an Agile Culture” helped reveal this title to me in the search results.

The book’s title and subtitle are a forewarning that the reader that the author goes wide, very wide, on the topic of Change Management.

I was looking for a book about Agile transformation.  This book did help me, but not in the way I originally thought.  This book is about Change Management.  And agile here is about business agility, organizational agility.  Scrum or Kanban are never mentioned.  However, the concept of self-managed work teams (SMWT) is mentioned.  As are so many other topics and concepts.

Change as Opportunity

In this book, Gibbons makes a strong case for being able to successfully manage change in our business environments — Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity (VUCA).

Donald Sull makes a profound statement about change and reinforces Gibbson’s ideas about the importance of change management to organizations.

“Companies do not pass through life cycles, opportunities do” (Donald Sull, The Upside of Turbulence)

Past Re-reads

Some of those topics Gibbson writes about we know from our own past re-reads.
Including …

  1. Carol Dweck’s book Mindset is discussed and referenced.
  2. The topic of Holacracy is discussed – our last re-read topic. (Begin here)
  3. Estimation and predictions is another topic, so we are reminded of the re-read of “How To Measure Anything” by Douglas Hubbard
  4. John P. Kotter’s “Leading Change” is well discussed.

Even though Gibbons discusses a wide-range of topics, they all are connected to Change Management, which is Gibbons’ expertise.

Timeline for this Re-read

The expected timeline for this re-read is 14 weeks (counting this week).

  1. Intro to the re-read (+1, and you are reading it now)
  2. Introduction – mind the gap (+1)
  3. A chapter on Failed change (+1)
  4. Part I – Change Agility (+2)
  5. Part II – Change Strategy (+4)
  6. Part III – Change Tactics (+4)
  7. Final Thoughts (+1)

So hold on, this re-read series, because “The Science of Successful Organizational Change” covers many topics under the theme of “Change Management, from an author who has been there, done that, and has some interesting ideas and research to share.

Note:  find out more about the author Paul Gibbons at

Steven Adams