Book Review: From Breakdown to Breakthrough by Michael Papanek and Liz Alexander

Any book on ‘change’ that is written by the Grandson of the modern pioneer of organisational psychology, Kurt Lewin, is anticipated to be a solid text. And From Breakdown to Breakthrough: Forging Resilient Business Relationships in the Heat of Change does not disappoint.

Papanek has exploited his knowledge and experience of some 30 years in the industry to develop a set of strategies and tools that help people build resilient business relationships and leverage those relationships to deliver on change.

Papanek’s key model addresses the 3 features of building resilient business relationships. They should be:
Strong – built on honesty and trust and adding value to all parties
Flexible – Responding to changes and requirements on all sides, particularly tension and stressors.
Fair – Balanced sp that everyone feels as though the are gaining value.

Papanek expands on Lewin’s 3 phase model for change moving from:

Unfreezing – where motivations are assessed

Changing / Reforming – where decisions lead to new practises and processes

Re-freezing – making the change permanent.

The steps to undertaken such change form the meat of the book and explores taking people from Ignorance to Knowledge from Doubt to Trust and for Discussion to Action

key chapter for me was Chapter 10 on Building Resilient Relationships across an organisation. In brief, this means looking to:

Focus on intent – Begin with a why and it helps you understand a person’s internal motivation.

Don’t sweat the small stuff – it is rarely important and detracts from the main effort.

Show you care – Talking about it is meanless unless you act as though you care.

Full of insight, From Breakdown to Breakthrough offers the change agent and executive or senior manager a great set of tools and practical advice to facilitate change, and how to build and leverage robust relationship. A germane and thoughtful book that builds on Lewin’s legacy.

Dare to Aspire


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