Book Review: EPIC Change — How to Lead Change in the Global Age

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Once in a while, a great book comes along that provides a unique, actionable and powerful viewpoint in business. EPIC Change: How to Lead Change in the Global Age by Timothy R. Clark is such a book.

Book Description

EPIC Change describes the strategies and offers great tactics to execute a successful change.

“Change fails less often for the poor strategy or technical difficulty,” Clark notes. “Rather, it is a leader’s inability to draw out the discretionary efforts of people that usually signals failure.”

Dr. Clark specifically works with the different types of energy a leader needs to be producing to implement the change. He utilizes the the four phases of change — Evaluate, Prepare, Execute, and Consolidate: EPIC — to describe the different types of energy a leader must provide to people making the change so they are willing to provide the discretionary efforts to make change work.

The book then is broken down into the four EPIC change phases and well researched information is provided to show the pitfalls of the phase, how to overcome them, and the importance of utilizing the different types of energy for the phase the change is in at the moment.

The Good

There is a tremendous amount of good advice in the book. Let me describe a mere few:

  • The energy viewpoint as it relates to change is a great leap forward in change management practice. Dr. Clark talks about seven different types of energy needed to successfully complete the “power curve” of the change phases. The energy types: Agility, Urgency, Credibility, Coalition, Vision, Early Results and Sustained Results are shown to each be useful in only certain phases of the change itself.
  • This great concept: “The capacity of an organization to perform change work is based directly on the motivation of people to offer “discretionary effort” above and beyond their every day work. And their discretionary effort can be lost at any phase of the change.
  • Attacking “typical” change management as being one of technical competency when, in fact, an organization’s technical and emotional competency needs to be performing at it’s best for the change to succeed.
  • The research supporting the process from 53 different organizations.
  • The ability of Dr. Clark to gracefully provide strategy for change while effortlessly providing example after concrete example of how to go about working the change into reality.
  • The ability to shine the spotlight on both strategy and tactics in a readable, understandable matter that each of us can implement.
  • The important job skill of a manager (or Cubicle Warrior, in my opinion) of duality: providing stability while at the same time undermining that stability to produce change.
  • Twenty-three pages of footnotes and commentary about the specific article noted — there is some additional juicy insight just from these notes.
  • There is much more — but I’d suggest reading the book!

The Bad

Very little. If I had to put something here, it is that the book focuses, necessarily, on how to make a single change. Most of us work on several changes at once, so how that is integrated into your work is still left open.

Of course, I can say that about virtually any book about making a change whether personal or business. There is so much great insight in this book that you will struggle to find anything poor to say about it.

Cube Rules Rating

When I look at a book to review here on the site, I want to see practical, implementation-capable, and results-oriented writing that will help my readers. Many, if not most, books fail using this criteria.

Epic Change: How to Lead Change in the Global Age meets this criteria hands down. Plus, it extends the discussion for change management in new and insightful ways that we just haven’t seen before.

You’ll learn more about change and how it is successfully implemented in this one book than whatever you have learned in the last five years.

Plus, many of these same principles hold true in our own career management. I plan on writing a few of these comparisons over the next several weeks and show how they apply to all of us working in cubes.

Rating: 5 of 5 cubes.

  • Scot Herrick says:

    Hi Paul,

    No, I haven’t. I’m currently reading a different book on PowerPoint, but you bringing it up brought the idea to my head that I should get Garr’s book and then do review of both. I’ll order it today. Garr really rocks when it comes to presentations.

  • Hi Scot,
    Thanks for a new book recommendation, sounds very useful and enlightening. Along the same line of book recommendations, I was wondering if you have checked out Garr Reynolds’ new book on Presentation Zen, yet?

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