Innovative Leader’s Guide to Transforming Organizations
2013 International Book Awards: Winner Best Business Reference Book
According to Carla Paonessa, Accenture Managing Partner, Retired, “This guide is designed to organize the chaos that accompanies transformative and systemic change. Metcalf delineates the process into seven categories that are straightforward and easy to follow. She gives templates to help group the work. She offers examples and tells stories of how this method has worked. And, more importantly, she illustrates and integrates the personal “inside” work of the leader with the “outside” work of the organization. We’re introduced to Paul, an executive who takes his organization through transformative change, and are privy to the conversation Paul has with himself as he applies what he has learned about himself and what he learns about his organization: What do I do? What do I believe? How do we do this?”
Leading change starts with leadership and yet in many organizations the process of leading change often omits the idea that transforming leaders is part of the overall transformation process. This book starts with an approach to leadership that we call innovative leadership. It is a comprehensive model defining the five key elements required to successfully address adaptive challenges and transform organizations to solve these challenges.
Leveraging the focus of key researchers along with our change implementation experience, we focus on building innovative leadership as the foundation for transforming organizations. We define innovative leadership as the ability to influence by engaging equally across the four key dimensions: intention, behavior, culture, and systems. This ability is developed by addressing the five elements in the image to the left.
Because innovative leadership influences by engaging the four dimensions equally, innovative leaders are uniquely qualified to implement adaptive change with a much higher success rate. A primary reason for transformation failure is that leaders focus primarily on the systems, rather than the larger context that includes themselves as leader and the organizational culture.
Section I of this Guide focuses on individual leadership to help you build an understanding of what innovative leadership is and how you can apply it to transform your organization. We explore each of the five elements in detail and give examples of how you, as an innovative leader, can use these elements in your transformation effort.
Section II of this Guide focuses on the process of leading transformative change to address highly complex organizational challenges. This section puts innovative leadership to work by building on what we learned in Section I. It provides a change model and gives an example of how an innovative leader implements transformative change. It provides a change model and practical tools and steps that you can use to lead change.
Transforming organizations is the work of innovative leaders, leading a skilled team of people, to accomplish a goal that will become more finely tuned during the implementation process. To add to the complexity, these projects are more successful when implemented outside of the corporate hierarchy using networks of people and projects that are interdependent on one another. The purpose of this book is to give you—as an innovative leader—a high-level understanding of the change process and how to lead change; it is not intended to teach you the nuts and bolts of how to manage the project or the change effort as part of the project team.
By combining innovative leadership with a comprehensive change model where the leader equally considers the four dimensions, transformation initiatives will have a higher success rate because this new model accomplishes the following:
- Addresses adaptive problems by analyzing them and developing comprehensive solutions beyond those found in traditional problem-solving approaches;
- Addresses the four dimensions: a leader’s intention and behavior along with the organization’s culture and systems in a systematic manner that creates alignment between them;
- Includes the innovative leader in the change process: expecting the leader to innovate how they lead to keep pace with the challenges they are solving.
During this era of increased complexity, an accelerated need for change, and failed change initiatives, it is critical for organizations to identify new models that address these challenges while concurrently maintaining efficient and effective operations and have a higher likelihood of yielding successful and sustained change.