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This chapter is from the book

From Change Management to Change Leadership

Following that line of reasoning, I believe that it is time to euthanize change management as we now think about it, and replace it with change-agile organizations and change-capable leaders at every level. There will still be a need for change management skills and knowledge, but those will be widespread, and not concentrated in a few hands.

Table 1.3 proposes some principal differences between change management and change leadership (though there is more overlap than the split suggests).

Table 1.3 Change Leadership Versus Change Management



There must be an internal leader; this cannot be outsourced to consultants.

Change management teams are often external consultant-experts, especially on big projects.

Engaging with change and leading change is what I do every day, constantly.

Engaging people with change is done through “set-pieces,” workshops, “town halls,” coaching, and communication.

The main foci are change strategy and building change-agility (removing the need for rearguard change fire-fighting).

The primary focus is change tactics and, more rarely developing change-agility.

“Being” is important (hard to reduce leadership to tasks): day-to-day engagement, inspiration, and challenge (“the happy warrior” metaphor) are key.

Change management is largely process, event, and tool based.

There is a proactive focus on building local change-agility and on business-wide issues.

Change management is often reactive and more narrowly focused.

Modeling leadership behaviors and personal change is critical.

Change manager behavior has less symbolic meaning, and is less important than the behavior of key sponsors.

The critical role is before and during launch (and throughout, but uniquely before).

The critical role is from launch onward (and generally this is a mistake).

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