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Organization Change Leaders. Essay

4360 words - 17 pages

Real change leaders are seldom found in executive suites. Though top-level involvement is essential to organizational change, the real change leaders (RCLs) who affect how the majority of people perform come from the ranks of middle and frontline managers. A recent study of nearly 150 mid-level change leaders in 29 different change efforts explored what makes RCLs stand out from traditional middle managers, and what top management can do to ensure a critical mass of this emerging new leadership capacity.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------Wrenching change programs are today engulfing company after company with their relentless demands on change leaders--------------------------------------------------------------------------------Wrenching change programs are today engulfing company after company with their relentless demands on change leaders. Since such individuals are invariably in short supply, it is no coincidence that most of these efforts stall part way through. They simply become bogged down in the middle, even when they have been well thought through and are driven by enlightened top management groups.The most difficult aspect of major change has little to do with getting the right concept, core process redesign, or even a team at the top. It lies in changing the people system -- the skills and behavior of hundreds of employees down the line. And it relies on the ability and attitudes of mid-level and frontline managers.WHAT DISTINGUISHES REAL CHANGE LEADERSUnfortunately, traditional managers seldom make good change leaders. The reason is in the mindset. Good managers try to keep things under control; RCLs are determined to shake things up. Good managers drive results via budgets and quotas; RCLs achieve objectives by mobilizing a broad base of people. Good managers are often motivated by personal success; RCLs want to make a difference in performance. Good managers like to delegate; RCLs enjoy getting their hands dirty.Good managers can probably learn RCL skills if they acquire the right mindset, but few seem to be doing so. The critical gaps are in four areas:* Linchpin linkages, or forging rock-solid connections among marketplace realities, and top leadership aspirations, and workforce capabilities.* 360-degree impact achieved by influencing people all around -- superiors, subordinates, and peers -- to change.* An expandable toolkit with a diverse range of approaches that is constantly being revised and improved.* Switch-hitting leadership. Like baseball players who bat from both sides of the plate, RCLs have the capacity to employ more than one style of leadership.Linchpin linkagesRCLs connect top management aspirations and strategic intent with fresh market insights and responsive workforce actions. They hunger for marketplace reality; denial is not in their vocabulary. Nor do they take anyone else's word for that reality. They regularly talk with customers and find out at first hand what...

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