Books Read: “On Leading Change”, F.Hesselbein, R.Johnston   Leave a comment


This book explores the challenges of transforming organisations. The themes that emerge are that change leaders encourage questions, innovation, experimentation and learning.

A key thought about change is that change is of necessity a planned abandonment. Its more about creating than problem solving, and its about being open to the new.

That change starts with the passionate few, and that framing is at the heart of the persuasive abilities of these change agents. The elements of framing are:
– what will appeal to hearer
– attractive advantages
– meaningful outcomes

And there are 7 essential steps to transforming a culture through a changed organisation:
1. environment scanning for trends that will impact organistaion
2. determine impact of the trends
3. re-examine & refine mission
4. drop old hierarchy & create flexible structures to release energy
5. challenge assumptions, policies, procedures (keep future relevant ones)
6. communicate compelling messages around mission, goals & values
7. disperse responsibility of leadership

And while change is external (different policies, practices, etc), transition is internal (psychological reorientation). Thus change timelines can, and are, affected by stakeholder’s mental state. That people need to say good-bye to the old, enter a neutral zone of confusion and preparation, and then finally begin to move forward. It can be tough. That’s why the “4 P’s” are important:
– purpose: why do we have to do this
– picture: what does the goal look & feel like
– plan: the steps ahead
– part: involvement in the plan

The research covered by this book highlights 3 key attributes of change-adept organisations:
– concepts: the imagination to innovate
– competence: the professionalism to perform
– connections: the openness to collaborate

Another approach to breaking free from the old & ushering in the change is to manage by committments:
– to a course of action
– to an ambitious goal
– to stretch relationships
– to an operating philosophy

Another facet of change is the operating environment we all face – the opposing tensions of interdependence & diversity. To lead in this connected world, leaders must:
– have ethical & political savviness
– be authentic & accountable
– fopcus on the politics of commonalities
– think long-term, act short-term
– exhibit leadership through expectation
– seek a a quest for meaning

For me, leading change is similar to infusing innovation. It requires transparency of motive, an openness to the new and a bias toward servant leadership

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Posted February 20, 2013 by terop in Books Read, Leadership, Organisational Development

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