Leader in today's most successful organisations recognise that internal changes must keep pace with what is happening in the external environment. As Jack Welch, the former long-time chairman and CEO of General Electric, put it, "When the rate of change outside exceeds the rate of change inside, the end is in sight." Organizations must poise themselves to change, not only to prosper but to survive in today's world. Rapid technological changes, a globalized economy, changing markets, and the rise of e-business are creating more threats as well as more opportunities for organizational leaders.
A big problem for today's organizations is the failure to adapt to all these changes in the environment. Although there are many reasons for the failure to change and adapt, a primary solution to the problem is better change leadership. Leaders serve as the main role models for the change efforts moving forward. Strong, committed leadership is crucial to successful change, and research has identified some key characteristics of leaders who can accomplish successful change project. One leader who illustrates many of the characteristics of change leadership is Barbara Waugh of Hewlett-Package (HP). Change does not happen easily. Good leaders throughout the organisation can facilitate change and help their organisations adapt to external threats and new opportunities. When leading a major change project, it is important for leaders to recognise that the change process goes through stages, that each stage is important, and that each may require a significant amount of time. Leaders are responsible for guiding employees and the organisation through the change process.
Leaders establish a sense of urgency that change is really needed. Crises or threats will thaw resistance to change. In many cases, however there is no obvious crisis and leaders have to make others aware of the need for change. Leaders...