Creating leaders for successful change management

Publication Date08 April 2014
AuthorEddie Kilkelly
SubjectHR & organizational behaviour,Employee behaviour
Creating leaders for successful change
Eddie Kilkelly
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explain why change programs fail in spite of best practice
processes and procedures and to examinethe improvements that can be made by developing effective
change leaders.
Design/methodology/approach – The paper is based upon the author’s expert knowledge and
includes a case study of an organization that is an exemplar for successful change management, having
been censured for its lack of success only a few years ago. The paper identifies the actions that helped
this organization improve its capability for change.
Findings – Change initiatives are more likely to be successful when change leaders are developed and
mentored through an organization-wide, structured, aspirational career development program, which
encourages change leaders to focus on the big picture, to use their network, to engage with
stakeholders and to develop their own emotional intelligence and resilience.
Practical implications The paper explains that organizations need to change their thinking and
practices around change management to do more to address the skills, attitudes, capabilities and
relationships of the people involved – particularly change leaders.
Originality/value – This paper examines the often-overlooked topic of developing, coaching and
mentoring change leaders and includes a previously unpublishedcase study. It provides a blueprint for
action for other organizations struggling to deliver successful change programs.
Keywords Emotional intelligence, Mentoring, Change management, Coaching, Empowerment,
Business objectives
Paper type Case study
Organizational change is a constant feature of modern organizations and the
dependence upon successful project and program delivery has never been higher.
Traditionally, best practice has reflected the engineering and IT roots of most
change management theory. There is a focus on process, reporting and assigned areas of
responsibility that is helpful for managing clearly defined, discrete projects, but today’s
organizations operate in constantly changing global markets, driven by competition and
social and technological change.
Senior executives must continually refine the organization’s objectives and operations to
anticipate or respond to those challenges and typically increase the number of projects – or
programs or projects – to cope with the volume of change needed. High levels of failure,
even among projects led by experienced change professionals, indicate that traditional
models do not provide the full answer to the problems faced by modern organizations.
What is going wrong?
The Office of Government Commerce identified common reasons for project failure,
including a lack of agreed measures of success; a lack of skills; a lack of team integration;
and a failure to break the project into manageable steps (Office of Government Commerce,
DOI 10.1108/SHR-01-2014-0004 VOL. 13 NO. 3 2014, pp. 127-129, QEmerald Group Publishing Limited, ISSN 1475-4398
PAGE 127
Eddie Kilkelly is based at
insynergi, London, UK.

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