Change Without Pain: How Managers Can Overcome Initiative Overload, Organizational Chaos, and Employee Burnout. Eric Abrahamson. Harvard Business School Press.

Change Without Pain: How Managers Can Overcome Initiative Overload, Organizational Chaos, and Employee Burnout Book Cover Change Without Pain: How Managers Can Overcome Initiative Overload, Organizational Chaos, and Employee Burnout
Eric Abrahamson
Harvard Business School Press
2004
Hardcover
218
9781578518272

How many change initiatives has your company been through? How many CEOs have come and gone? How many new IT systems have been introduced? Most important: Have any of these changes actually improved profits and performance? If your company is like most, the relentless push for change has done more harm than good – levying a tremendous financial and human toll on your organization.

Columbia Business School professor Erik Abrahamson argues that while change is necessary for companies to grow and prosper, the pain that accompanies it is not. In Change without Pain, Abrahamson outlines a new approach to change – creative recombination – that stands in sharp contrast to the “creative destruction” advocated by change champions for the last two decades. Rather than obliterating and inventing anew, creative recombination achieves change by putting already existing organizational assets to new uses. Rather than forcing through radical, sweeping change, this approach calls for smaller-scale, well-based changes that can be done more cheaply, more quickly – and with far less pain.

Drawing on a decade of research – and illustrated with compelling examples from the author’s extensive consulting work with companies undergoing change in many industries – Change without Pain presents a range of hands-on tools and techniques for identifying and reusing five key organizational assets:

  • People: How to redeploy rather than downsize talent
  • Processes: How to salvage rather than reengineering “how we do things around here”
  • Structures: How to re-combine rather than reorganize organizational parts
  • Culture: How to revive rather than reinvent core values
  • Social networks: How to leverage rather than automate human networks

In addition, Abraham’s and guides managers in determining when, and how often, to initiate change to ensure the greatest chance for long-term success.

A refreshing paradigm for change has arrived – and companies don’t need anything new, revolutionary, or radical to make it happen. The inspiring results: Change will actually work, for a change.

Erik Abrahamson is Professor of Management at Columbia Business School in New York City and an internationally recognized expert on change management.

For more information about the book, please visit www.changewithoutpain.com.