Some useful if not revolutionary tips for transition, says Liz Hedgecock

We are often told the only constant is change, which seems particularly true in today’s NHS. So what better than a pocket guide to managing change?

I was initially sceptical that 107 small pages would do more than skip over a few theories. This assumption was backed up by rather a slow start. However, eight pages in I found I was pausing to think, apply a model and take notes.

The book is divided into four main sections: what change is, preparing for change, making change happen and communicating change, and the two middle sections are the strongest.

It uses a range of approaches; bullet pointed lists, examples from business, summaries of academic thinking, mnemonics and, most usefully, diagrams. Some of these represent a theory or a model in a way that makes it click immediately, and this exemplifies the book’s practical approach. In addition, there are short exercise sections which encourage reflection and application of key concepts.

This book states in its introduction that it “will not make you into a change expert” and that is true. What it does do is present several change management concepts in a fresh and accessible way. It gives you practical tools to manage change, and it is also realistic about the amount of work and potential difficulty involved.

The book has faults. Some of its referencing is poor and sometimes it oversimplifies. However, I would recommend it in a variety of contexts: as an introduction to the topic, as a refresher, or as a practical overview for people who need the main points and a way forward. For one small book that is quite impressive.

Liz Hedgecock is a workforce improvement manager for NHS North West.

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