Creating and leading a culture of "readiness for change"
In this section we are going to look at leadership qualities in the very specific context of creating and leading an organisational culture that is "change ready" or "adaptive".
If you are looking for material on leadership theory, leadership styles and related areas, then you will find many other pages and extensive resources on this site via these 2 links:
Leadership versus management
Setting the scene
"Understanding Your Organisation’s Change Readiness"
As John Kotter has said:
"The rate of change is exponential. Not only do we have political uncertainties, but technology keeps spiraling, and globalisation creates interesting ties between countries. That means that something that affects one is felt by others along way away."
As previously discussed, in Change Management Risk Assessment, we now live in a "horizontal world" with information available to all and a technology infrastructure and social media channels and tools that facilitate this.
The effect of this access to information is that people want and expect to be involved and they will resist "top down" change that is imposed upon them.
A first step in developing "change ready" leadership qualities lies in the recognition that the issues influencing people's acceptance of change is not only predictable but manageable.
In "Controlling the Perils of Change" Merry Lee Olson explores, compares and discusses the three expert approaches of John Kotter, William Bridges and Pat Zigarmi & Hudd Hoekstra of Blanchard Group of Companies:
Controlling the Perils of Change
Given the rate of change referred to by Kotter where change is becoming "business as usual" it becomes increasingly necessary for organisations to build the change management competencies that will facilitate their capacity to handle and positively and successfully negotiate change.
A further practical step in demonstrating "change ready" leadership qualities is for change leaders to look carefully at a change management maturity model and instigate an organisational assessment of the current level of maturity and to initiate discussions and plans to move towards a level 4 or 5 where change management competency is evident across the whole organisation.
Prosci Change Management Maturity Model
Leadership qualities for change readiness embody facilitative leadership
If people are not engaged with the proposed change, and more specifically it you do not have the engagement and support of the "natural leaders" in your organisation, it will fail.
The level of engagement is a direct reflection and consequence of the organisation's style of leadership.
A pre-requisite for creating and leading a culture of "readiness for change" is facilitative leadership. This is the opposite style of leadership from the centralised command-control transactional leadership style that is fairly typical of many organisations. It is particularly well suited to the context and environment of change management initiatives.
2 brief introductory articles on the leadership qualitities of facilitative leadership
Further Resources: Facilitative Leadership
Leadership qualities for a "readiness for change culture"
According to Dr. Edwin T. Cornelius, in order for change to "emerge" naturally in an organisation, leadership must figure out how to put in place four specific cultural elements. Once these elements are in place, the more likely it will be for change to emerge easily on its own and the less likely there will be substantial resistance to the change.
There are four cultural elements that must be installed in order to create a "readiness for change" organization. These are:
(1) A workforce that is business literate
(2) A workforce that has permission to act
(3) A workforce that will challenge the status quo
(4) Leadership that encourages a "readiness for change" culture
Leading a "Readiness for Change" Culture
8 FREE Introductory Lessons from Practitioners Masterclass - HERE
The "renewable leader"
In his book "Culture and Performance" John Kotter defines an adaptive organisation:
A risk raking, trusting, and proactive approach to organizational as well as individual life. Members actively support one another's efforts to identify all problems and implement workable solutions, and there is a strong receptivity to change and innovation."
Corporate culture experts Lisa Jackson and Gerry Schmidt define a Renewable Leader as:
"One who enacts strategic advantage by building people and teams who are friendly to change, who adapt quickly and appropriately to opportunity and crisis".
The Renewable Leader - How to lead effectively in fast-changing times
Small changes: Natural shifts for transforming your culture
Change Management Risk Assessment - Change Readiness Assessments
Change Management Implementation - Assessing Change Readiness
Change Equation - INPACT Assessment
Return to top of "Leadership Qualities"