Real Leaders Embrace Continuous Change
Kotter’s Change Management Model Starts with Change Leadership
When people talk about change, they usually talk about change management. What they don’t consider is change leadership. The two roles are very different. Without change leadership, change management would not exist, because there would be no impetus for change. In a VUCA world, leaders must embrace continuous change and be the driving force behind it.
What Is the Difference between Change Leadership and Change Management?
Change management is a hot topic. The pace of change today is incredible. Advances in technology are pushing organizations to embrace innovation in the digital world and embrace new production methods that incorporate AI and robotics. This changing environment must be managed, with tools and techniques that ensure smooth transitions from the current state to the future state.
The objective of change management is to ensure that change happens without complication, and that the goals of the proposed change are reached in a controlled fashion with employees engaged in it. Organizations do not want change to initiate an exodus of skilled and talented staff. The processes employed during change management seek to ensure that this doesn’t happen.
Change leadership, on the other hand, does not concern itself with the detail of how change is made. Change leadership is the fuel behind change. It is the vision that compels change. It is the big-picture thinking that organizations must have to exist and grow. In a rapidly-changing world, change leadership is the fuel that energizes the advance from A to Z, via B, C, D, and so on.
Where Does Change Leadership Fit into Kotter’s Change Model?
John Kotter’s 8-step change model is usually quoted as a change management process. It provides a proven method for executing change more effectively. However, by examining the model closely, it can be seen that the model encompasses both change management and change leadership.
In Kotter’s model, the first step is to create a sense of urgency. This is the fuel that drives change. It is urgency that creates a desire in the masses to change. Without this energy, change management is difficult – perhaps impossible.
Organizational change is like driving a car. If you don’t put gas in the tank, you won’t get far. All the mechanics in play – the gear shift, engine, brakes, accelerator, and so on – are no use without fuel. This is the real difference between change management and change leadership. Change management is the mechanics of smoothing the process of change. Change leadership is the fuel that allows change management to work.
Successful Change Management Needs Constant Change Leadership
When you are on a long journey, you must continually top up your tank with gas. That journey is like a roadmap of change; you know your destination, but you must react to the changing environment.
You may take turns you weren’t expecting. You drive highways and country roads. You’ll switch lanes. Sometimes you’ll be driving fast, other times you’ll be crawling along. You’ll need to remain observant, react to roadblocks, and navigate detours.
Unless you keep re-energizing your motor with extra gas, all the effort you put into making the journey will be wasted. You won’t reach your destination. You won’t even get as far as the next gas station.
Putting gas in the tank – change leadership – is critical. And it must be done often, otherwise your organization will run out of the fuel it needs to reach its goals. Real leaders embrace change. They energize their people to make change constantly.
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