Masterspeak

"If your culture doesn't fit your strategy, it will create huge problems"

John Kotter, founder, Kotter International

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Published 9 years ago on Feb 02, 2013 13 minutes Read
Benjamin Cooper

As we enter the Boston office of Kotter International at Harvard Square, on an overcast Sunday morning, we notice a comfortably ensconced lifelike penguin by the glass facade. An internal voice intones, this guy advises companies on change, so should there not be a dinosaur here? As our interview with changemeister John Kotter progresses, we notice that the penguin is a permanent fixture. You see it on Kotter International’s logo, on the cover of bestselling books on change management and even in the conference room where Kotter and his associates brainstorm. “Is that some kind of lucky mascot?” we ask Kotter. It seems that the tuxedoed flapper and his ilk made it to The New York Times bestseller list on the cover of Our Iceberg is Melting, a parable where the survival of their community is dependent on change. While Kotter has penned and lectured about change management innumerable times, in that particular book, the push and pulls in an organisation trying to deal with change came across in a very simple manner. Kotter believes the only way organisations can cope with relentless change is by operating through a dual network focused on sustenance and innovation respectively. He and his penguin friend would certainly be much happier if companies at large start preparing for change rather than doggedly resist it.