Organisational Change Management Volume 2

Different Styles of Executive Leadership

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. Strategic approach: these executives believe that it is important to design and implement long-term strategies. As they oversee all areas of the organisation, they allocate resources and decide the organisation's optimal direction by consolidating the organisation's position ‐ now and for the future. They devote most of their time to external operations such as customers, competitors, technological advances and market trends. They like staff who have finely tuned analytical and planning skills

. Human asset approach: these executives perceive their role to involve imparting certain values, behaviors and attitudes by closely managing growth and development of individuals. They spend most of their time in personnel-related activities such as recruiting, performance reviews and career mapping. They like to create a universe of satellite CEOs. They prefer the long-term employees who demonstrate the company way and are opposed to "maverick" type behaviour

. Expertise approach: these executives attach importance to selecting and disseminating an area of expertise within an organisation. They devote most of their time to activities related to the cultivation and continual improvement of expertise such as research. They like staff who are trained, or have a willingness to be trained, in the field of expertise required.

. Box approach: these executives hold a belief that their primary role involves creating, communicating and monitoring an explicit set of controls that ensure uniform, predictable behaviors and experiences. They stress the importance of providing customers with a consistent and risk-free experience. They devote most of their time to developing detailed, prescriptive policies, procedures and rewards to reinforce desired behaviours. They value and promote on seniority

. Change approach: these executives believe that their most critical role is to create an environment of continual re-invention, irrespective of short-term performance. They spend most of their time communicating and motivating staff in the organisation to embrace the pattern of change

(source: HBR, 1998c)

Three examples of successful organisations with proven leadership in the change process:

. ABB use hypothetical scenarios to stimulate thinking and to generate fresh initiatives

. Intel and 3M use challenges to conventional wisdom as the norm (constructive confrontation)

. Canon uses a renewal process similar to ecdysis (biological process in which certain animals shed their shells so they can take on new forms) and has a commitment to self-obsolescence (creative destruction so that it makes its products obsolete before competition does, eg despite having a market share of 80% for laser printers, they supported the bubble jet technology to create a new product)

(source: HBR, 1998a)


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