2a: planning and implementing change
Three reflection papers from Issues in Leadership Theory; Required papers/coursework for Issues in Leadership Foundations; The foundational underpinnings of the philosophy behind a leader being a change agent will be documented through reading, understanding, and quoting experts in the area of leadership at it relates to planning, organizing, and implementing change. Additional information will be included as I read, take more classes, and interact with my RG and cohort.
Leaders are at their core change agents. Every book I have read, skimmed, or perused tells this story in one way or another. Posner lists five things every leader does: Challenge the process, Inspire a shared vision, Enable others to act, Model the way, Encourage the heart (The Leadership Challenge, 9). These are all steps to produce change. Yukl often uses the word "influence" to describe what a leader does, but when you influence someone, you often set the stage for change. He also says, "Leading change is one of the most important and difficult leadership responsibilities. For some theorists, it is the essence of leadership and everything else is secondary" (273, emphasis mine). Wren's multiple contributing authors talk about transactional and transforming leadership (both of which produce change) among other types of leadership (heroic, minority and women, etc.), and gives many stories of leaders who inspired and led change. Wheatly discusses leadership in light of quantum physics and believes that leaders themselves should change based on the new science (which by the way is a very fascinating thought process). Kotter has an eight-stage process whereby leaders can create change: Establishing a sense of urgency; creating the guiding coalition; developing a vision and strategy; communicating the change vision; empowering employees for broad-based action; generating short-term wins; consolidating gains and producing more change; anchoring new approaches in the culture.
Primal Leadership, in a chapter called "The Motivation to Change," talks about getting to the truth about the current state of any organization, or the feelings the subordinates have about the one in charge of initiating change (the LEADER). Goleman regularly mentions the 360 degree format for gathering information from bosses, peers, and subordinates, and discusses using this tool (among others, such as self-awareness) to determine what the prevailing attitudes are about change and/or the leader. In the next chapter and elsewhere, he talks about the leader modeling the change expected of the followers. This excellent book is full of stories about actual leaders who have first accurately assessed themselves, determined to make changes in themselves that will impact their leadership, formed a plan for change in themselves, implemented that change, and then expand the same vision of change for their followers. Once the leader is modeling the change from the top, the vision can broaden and become a bottom up model because it is modeled from the top down first.
Powel agrees with Goleman about the importance of getting to the truth of perceptions about the leader who wants to make change happen. He has a special phone line in his office that only he answers. The number is given only to a few trusted friends who he knows WILL tell him the truth about perceptions about him in the public arena. These friends are instructed to call him when he messes up, or when they sense something amiss in his leadership. Powel is a model of change himself, and reading about his leadership helps me see how leaders actually implement the changes they wish to see in their organizations.
Covey writes about leaders affecting change in a very different kind of organization: the family. While business leaders write fancy plans for change and may have all kinds of staff to implement the change, family leaders - the mom and dad - should implement change in their own families by forming a family mission statement, and then by molding all their interactions and decisions based on that mission statement. Change is just as important in families as it is in business.
Clearly, change is at the heart of leadership.
For additional reflections related to this competency, see the following:
CVJA Work Study
LEAD638 Reflection paper 1
LEAD638 Reflection paper 2
LEAD638 Reflection paper 3
LEAD690: Managing Public Awareness