This article was authored by Mick Yates after a workshop as part of CCC1, with input from many participants
There is a real difference between Managers and Leaders (Peter Drucker, 1954; John Kotter, 1996). Leaders need to be great Managers, but Managers are not always great Leaders. Managers are essentially a 20th century concept, as complex, non-military work organizations grew. Managers run organizations, and Managers have a responsibility to perpetuate their Enterprise. However, whilst Managers can often institutionalize the “status quo”, Leaders are focused on change.
Managing was once defined as:
“Knowing exactly what you want men to do, and then seeing that they do it in the best and cheapest way”. (Frederick Taylor, 1903)
Kotter, in his book on “Leading Change” (1996), uses the lens of change to drive a very clear distinction between Management and Leadership. He says:
“Management is a set of processes that can keep a complicated system of people and technology running smoothly. The most important aspects of management include planning, budgeting, organizing, staffing, controlling, and problem solving.
Leadership is a set of processes that creates organizations in the first place or adapts them to significantly changing circumstances. Leadership defines what the future should look like, aligns people with that vision, and inspires them to make it happen despite the obstacles”.
Change is thus central to Leadership. Without a need for change, the concept of Leadership is meaningless. Leadership is not an abstract concept – it is a practical activity, with a specific goal in mind. And it depends on the environment and situation at the time. For example, the need for change in India pre-independence demanded that someone (Gandhi) arose to lead and organize the cause.
In this sense, Leadership varies by situation as a good Leader in one circumstance may not be successful in another (changed) circumstance. A classic example is Winston Churchill, who succeeded as a wartime Leader and then failed in peacetime by loosing a General Election. He was unable to reflect the change in people’s post-war needs and attitudes. By contrast, Charles De Gaulle was a strong wartime Leader, who seemingly was always able to reflect the changing needs of the populace from wartime to peacetime. He still held consistent views on the future role of France – but by reflecting the popular mood change he succeeded in both situations.
Kotter suggested that there is a sequence in any change activity.
- establish a sense of urgency
- create a guiding coalition
- develop a clear vision
- share the vision
- empower people to overcome obstacles
- secure short term wins
- consolidate and keep moving
- anchor the change
In this author’s view, “vision” should be transposed with Kotter’s “sense of urgency” – hurrying to shoot before deciding what to shoot is not a good strategic choice. Change efforts often fail because the real end state of the change is insufficiently thought through. Second, our learning suggests that the detailed execution of a change is usually where it succeeds or fails, and this must be added to Kotter’s list.
Research was also conducted by Keith Grint at Oxford University on the common characteristics of successful change processes (2003/4). Mick Yates and the Change Leaders group worked on the ideas, leading to a suggested Best Practice framework.
Our work shows that the sequence of change activities fits well within the 4E’s Leadership Framework. This framework (discussed in detail in another paper in this series, and referencing Envision – Enable – Empower – Energize) is focused on “actions in use” rather than “espoused” competencies or behaviours.
The first three Es are the collective “what” and “how”, whilst the last E is the individual “why”, for the Leader and the team.
- Envision – Values-driven setting of goals and strategies
- Enable – Identifying tools, technologies, organization structures & people
- Empower – Creating trust & interdependence between Leader & Follower
- Energize – The personal Leadership motor to drive the entire system
We suggest an eleven point Change Framework.
- an accepted need for change
- a viable vision of an alternative state
- change agents in place – with a guiding coalition
- sponsorship from above
- realistic scale & pace of change – with sense of urgency
- an integrated transition programme
- organization shape to show how tasks and people fit
- a symbolic end to the status quo
- a plan for likely resistance
- constant advocacy – maintain momentum of change
- a locally owned benefits plan
To explain each point in more detail, please see Part 2
For more details on the 4E’s Leadership Framework, which was Mick’s MSc work on CCC, link here