Leading Change Takes More Than Just a Great Leader

Dateline: April 5, 2013

Welcome to our Friday WRAP – one thought-provoking idea to think about over the weekend.

A recent blog on the HBR Blog Network (published by Harvard Business Review) featured a thought piece entitled, “Change Management is Bigger than Leadership” by Wharton Adjunct Professor Gregory Shea and his associate, Cassie Solomon (they are authors of a new book, Leading Successful Change: 8 Keys to Making Change Work).   They suggest that leaders of change not only “need to craft compelling elevator speeches, relentlessly deliver the message of change, and above all, walk the talk,” but they also need to change the entire work system in which the organization work.

How, then, does one lead the changing of an organization, whether it is a company, business unit, service line, department, or work unit? By changing the work systems that comprise the work environment around the people whose behavior is supposed to change. Therein lies the key to successful, embedded, and sustained change: alter the environment, and people will adapt to it.

They continue with a summary of how Hyundai’s leader transformed the car company into a highly competitive participant in the auto industry.  They then apply their framework to the Roman Catholic Church, concluding with,

Watch the Roman Catholic Church. The more that it approaches the need for change strictly as a need to “get a different leader,” the less real change will occur, let alone endure. The more that it approaches change as a concerted, coordinated, and sustained reworking of multiple work systems, the more real change will occur…and endure, as it has at Hyundai, and as it would for your organization.

How are you managing change in your organization?  What changes must you make in the work environment to insure that necessary transformation takes place at all levels of the organization?

That’s a WRAP.  Have a wonderful weekend.

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