One of my favourite lyrics of all time is in the song “Tom Sawyer” by the classic Canadian rock band Rush. In it, Geddy Lee sings the line “changes aren’t permanent… but change is“. So wise, and so true.
Not only is change inevitable, but it’s coming at us faster and faster all the time. Being able to adapt to a changing world has become a survival skill.
In the workplaces of today, people often find themselves assigned a role on an important change project at work. These new, extra accountabilities are usually expected to be performed in addition to managing their “regular day job”. And frequently, these folks have little or no experience in leading or managing change, little or no formal training on how to do it, and limited time for learning these new skills.
As a project manager, business transformation leader and strategic advisor, I spent most of my career leading corporate change initiatives. Although I did have some training along the way, I mainly got better through multiple projects and years of experience, including lessons learned from successes and mistakes I made along the way.
“Change On The Run” by Phil Buckley is the book I *wish* I’d had thirty years ago! This book is small enough to read in one sitting, but it’s definitely not a “read it once and move on” kind of book. Instead, think of it as an essential, everyday “cheat sheet” for anyone leading or participating in a change initiative. When speed is of the essence and the 80/20 rule is the guiding principle, moving forward means making the best possible decision based on the information you have available. You don’t have the luxury of waiting to make “perfect” decisions… that’s a recipe for delay and failure.
In this book, the author outlines 44 very specific tasks — laser-focused, action-oriented “change hacks” — that you can perform to help make better-informed decisions, move forward with confidence, and continue to build momentum on your change project. The tasks are divided into three sections: Managing Me, Managing the Work, and Managing Others.
For each task, the author identifies what you need to do, provides practical tools to help you do it, suggests how best to communicate the task and rationale with others, and shares useful tips and data to provide valuable perspective. And you don’t need to read the book or follow the tasks in sequential order — just flip directly to the corresponding section to help you address your most immediate priority. Feel free to bounce back and forth between tasks as required.
This book is a “must-have” for ALL leaders and managers. It will quickly become your handy daily reference manual for effective change management. If you’re looking for a book about change management theory, look elsewhere. If you’re looking for a simple, pragmatic, everyday guide to help your change initiative (and you!) be more successful, then Phil Buckley’s “Change On The Run” is the one book you will turn to time and time again.