So which works for you in your experience or organisation? Which actually delivers sustainable change in a business – a strong leader with great attitude to the change or a robust process that everyone understands

Steve Sutton

Associate Programme Manager at Sapient

I think communication and engagement of everyone in the change process is more important that a single leader or even the process itself.

You can have an incredibly charismatic leader that everyone will look to for the answers and then blame when the processes fall flat. You can have an excellent process that people don’t buy into to and ultimately ends up falling apart. What you need is to have a continual open dialog with all levels of the organization. (and, no…weekly broadcasts from the CIO are *not* dialog)

The best way that I’ve found to lead change is to explain the goals, provide the people on the line with the tools, encouragement and recognition and then get the hell out of their way. The people doing the work are the ones in the best position to effect change. It takes a strong and open leader to keep everyone aligned to common goals, but the real success comes from that trust and empowerment of the individuals. That sense of ownership also lends significantly to the sustainability of the changes.

The most disastrous change initiatives that I’ve seen have been where a single leader or a small group of individuals determine the processes for the organization. The processes generally end up being very robust and well documented, but are poorly institutionalized. In many cases, the form is followed to meet some reporting or audit requirement, but the underlying foundation of the processes is something totally unrelated (ie: people find a way to work “around” the processes). The end result is like a beautiful 80-story building built on quicksand.