Wednesday, May 26, 2010

developing change leaders book review – Ch 4 A Values Dialogue for Change Leaders

A book review of Paul Aitken and Malcolm Higgs, Developing Change Leaders: The principles and practices of change leadership development. Chapter one here. Chapter two is here. Chapter three is here.

The chapter starts by marshalling a wide range of evidence for the importance of values in change leadership. “The management focus for the first part of the twenty-first century will be the management of meaning through the demonstration of values in management behaviour.” (62) The authors urge that selection of change agents include values, as well as experience and competencies.

They suggest a diversity of values are at work and offer some categories (77-81) by which a leader can assess their organisation and how their individual values might mesh with that of their organisation. (Anyone like to locate their church, and their leadership training, in relation to the grid?)

  • Clan. Family type organisation, (often seen in Japanese companies). Key word is collaboration. Values commitment, communication, development. Leader type = facilitator, mentor, team builder.
  • Hierarchy. Key word is control. Values coordinator, monitor, organizer. Leader type = efficiency, timeliness, consistency.
  • Market. Key word is compete. Values hard-driver, competitor, producer. Leader type = market-share, goal achievement, profitability.
  • Adhocracy. Key word is create. Values innovation, transformation, agility. Leader type = entreprenuer, innovator, visionary.

And the implications for change leaders? “leaders have to learn to communicate purpose and direction with a whole culture made up of different personal values, concentrating on shaping informal organizational life (emphasis mine). We might call this ‘strategy by the coffee machine’, consisting of dialogue about what we are told we should be doing, what are leaders are actually doing and how we feel about joining them to make change happen.” (82) “Effective change leaders must continually check what their heart, head and hands communicate.” (83)

Posted by steve at 05:18 PM

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