January 16, 2008

Book Review - Leading Change Toward Sustainability

Leading Change Toward Sustainability: A Change-Management Guide for Business, Government and Civil Society
Bob Doppelt
HC 79 .E5 D66 2003

Doppelt is primarily concerned with why some sustainability efforts fail and how this can be avoided. The first part of this book is concerned with describing both successful and unsuccessful sustainability programs. In the process, Doppelt provides a definition of sustainability and describes its implications in socioeconomic terms and consequences for organizations. The second part of the book addresses individual components of sustainability programs. Doppelt asserts that these are like building blocks. One must be accomplished before another. However, he arranges them in a "wheel," signifying that even in a successful program, it is always possible to repeat steps taken earlier to move to a "higher level" of sustainability. Primarily concerned with organizations, these steps often have to do with organizational mind-set, structures, communication, feedback, strategic vision, and guiding principles. He is clear that these may represent significant changes for many organization, explaining the high failure rate among organizations who implement sustainability initiatives. This book is well grounded in the sustainability literature as well as in the experiences of organizations.