Leadership and the Art of Change: Book Review
Leading Organizational Change
Professor Sandra Bryant
July 15th, 2013
Leadership and the Art of Change by Lee Roy Beach is a text that focuses on how to be a leader and implement change within an organization successfully. The reading begins with an example of a young executive by the name of Wayne getting his first chance at enacting change in a struggling organization. In this example the author outlined Wayne’s process to implement change in the organization and the responses/results that arose from his decision making and leadership style. After some time and much opposition, Wayne decided to leave the company despite his feeling of failure and lack of understanding to the cause of his failure. Following this example, the author begins to highlight the six prime responsibilities that he feels are necessary for leaders with the goal of implementing change within an organization. The six responsibilities are as follows: Assessment; the leader’s ability to work with others in the organization to assess the environment and identify areas where change is necessary. Culture; the leader’s ability to work with others in the organization to understand the organizational culture and determine if change in that area is necessary; if so, working with others to act accordingly. Vision; the leader’s ability to work with others in the organization to create a vision for the future, while also promoting organization-wide acceptance of that vision. Plans; the leader’s ability to work with others in the organization to design a plan for the organization moving forward towards its envisioned future. The leader is also responsible for articulating how the plan will accomplish the goals in place to reaching their vision. Implementation; the leader’s ability to work with others to maintain momentum and discover weaknesses in the plan that needs to be corrected. Follow-through; the leader’s ability to work with others to institutionalize changes made and promote change as a normal characteristic of the organization. (Beach, 2006; pg. xvii) In the author’s conclusion he addresses the subtle but significant differences in organizations size, organizational focus (For-profit or Not-for-profit), or the leader’s role within the organization, and how these differences can adjust the leader’s approach to implement change within the organization. In order to determine the appropriate approach Beach created a matrix system for generalizing the analysis of change leadership for individuals other than Executives of large organizations. Within his matrix are eight cells that identify the type of organization, size of organization, and role of leader trying to enact change in the organization. Each cell contains a detailed description of how the leaders should approach change within their organization. Beach followed this matrix with a cautionary warning to leaders that change within an organization is not cut and dried. “There’s nothing cut-and-dried about leadership at any time, least of all during major organizational change” (Beach, 2006; pg. 138). Beach recommends that leaders take heed to his words while also incorporating “your own good sense” to help navigate through change within an organization. The Metaphor of Poor Wayne
As mentioned earlier, Wayne was in the top spot at a new organization with the hopes of implementing major change in an organization that was struggling. Wayne had all of the classic intangibles that he believed would lead him to success in his efforts to implement change and improve the organization. Despite the advantages and momentum that Wayne had in his corner upon starting his position, there were major flaws in his approach that led to his downfall and feeling of failure. None being more detrimental than his failure to include others in the organization in his...
Cited: Beach, L. R. (2006). Leadership and the Art of Change, A Practical Guide to Organizational Transformation. Sage Publications, Inc.
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