A model for change inspired by nature.
A model for change inspired by nature.

Book Review | Listen to the Dolphins

A story of change by Clive Bevan

Set in the Firths around the Black Isle in Scotland, Listen to the Dolphins is an easy, insightful and entertaining read about organizational change. The easy to understand metaphors make this book valuable to anyone interested in leading change in big organizations, regardless of the industry, as there are no industry-specific buzzwords or references.

The writing style

The story is told as a dialogue between Jess, a bright young girl, and emerging change leader, and Flipper, a pod leader from a school of dolphins who has witnessed many changes — from ancient battles to modern industrialization as well as the despair left after the industry turned. It contains valuable nuggets of wisdom as passed on through the generations and draws on the wisdom of the collective history.

It highlights the importance of learning from the past while balancing it and recognizing the need for new information and methods to deal with our current and future issues.

Weaved in the story — perfect for a busy professional to double as a bedtime story for their children — are lessons learned from experience, making this book a practical toolkit for anyone new or well versed in leading organizational change.

The humoristic writing style makes even the most serious and sensitive topics a pleasure to read. Organizational politics and what is usually considered the elephant in the room is tackled head-on, yet in a light and fun way.

The message is reinforced by the different viewpoints, making it easy to remember, while broadening the perspective. Each chapter is concluded with a retrospective evaluating what Jess has learned during the day. The method and writing style models the message, giving practical examples in an objective environment.

About the author

Clive Bevan is an experienced change practitioner who has worked with more than 15,000 delegates with a wealth of information and wisdom to share on the subject of change and leadership.

The book is a collection of concepts and strategies that worked from his magnitude of past training and implementation programs and is based on feedback from delegates and colleagues. Written from practical experience, it’s a tried and tested recipe for success. It feels like speaking to an elder when reading, filled with wisdom and nuggets of gold on each page. The book is packed with all the answers imaginable when it comes to organizational change by a trusted and down-to-earth industry specialist.

It feels like speaking to an elder when reading, filled with wisdom and nuggets of gold on each page. The book is packed with all the answers imaginable when it comes to organizational change by a trusted and down-to-earth industry specialist.

The contents

Some of the topics and concepts include a detailed view on communication within teams, politics that sabotage change — or as the author calls it, the games that are played — a practical process for change and the importance of team participation in the change process. It continues to cover the need for trust when embarking on a change process and the role of the leadership team.

It touches on the concept of a followership leadership style, where self-organizing teams know when to lead and when to follow — a ground-breaking topic which I would love to read more of. It breaks down the hierarchies and silo’s and focuses on the success and safety of everyone in the team.

In a nutshell, it is a comprehensive handbook of organizational change, written in an easy-to-read and easy-to-remember practical style.

I like, I wish, I wonder…

What I liked best about the book is the tone of the message. It’s an up-beat, fun book filled with humor, conveying a powerful message in an easy read. A fresh alternative with as much substance than the more serious and scientific academic reads.

Other than that, the practicality of the advice makes the book a definite favorite for me, as my main interest is how to use knowledge. Many books contain wonderful concepts, yet lack the practical tools of how to implement this change. This book, on the other hand, focuses on the practical side of change.

For the more scientific audience that is looking for a more serious read, this is probably not the book for you. There are no references to scientific research and studies, and is purely based on years of practical experience and real-life success stories.


A must read for anyone who is passionate about people and looking for a practical toolkit on leadership and change to a future work environment where each person is supported to fulfill their potential and personal aspirations.

Perfect for busy professionals, the book doubles as time spent with your children reading a bed-time story, while enhancing your own personal skill set.

The book is available in hardcover on Amazon and is planned to soon be released in electronic format.

Originally published on Medium: https://funficient.medium.com/book-review-listen-to-the-dolphins-bd642fb252f2