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Book Review: Choosing Change

by Walter McFarland and Susan Goldsworthy
by Walter McFarland and Susan Goldsworthy

Change is a business topic that generates both fear and excitement among readers. Executives are being constantly reminded that the pace of change is ever increasing. The business impact of not being able to stay ahead of change is sometimes described as catastrophic. What’s missing from many books on change is a by-the-numbers approach to making change a repeatable process. In Choosing Change: How Leaders and Organizations Drive Results One Person at a Time, Walter McFarland and Susan Goldsworthy provide a model that helps leaders focus on the personal and organizational dimensions of change. This book is now available as a Soundview Executive Book Summary.

The authors created a framework called the Five Ds to provide an overarching set of guidelines to create change. Readers are given detailed steps to become a change-focused leader through the lenses of disruption, desire, discipline, determination and development. Once a leader understands the principles that create change in an individual, the focus turns to the organization. This section will prove helpful to any leader who, while personally full of fire to lead a change effort, encounters a tepid or resistant response from employees.

Choosing Change delivers its principles in a tight, research-dense package. McFarland and Goldsworthy are timely in their combination of findings from neuroscience and psychology. They use a level of restraint that prevents their book from falling into the “deep dive” trend that can derail books that lean heavily on the science side of management science. It is one of the most balanced, impactful books on change that executives can read today.

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