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Leading in a Culture of Change

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No recipe, but a new mind-set

By George Zee - August 28, 2001

In an increasingly complex and fast-changing world, we cannot just rely on charismatic leaders to solve our problems. We need to cultivate leadership at all levels of any organization, business or education, "to face problems for which there are no simple, painless solutions" (p.3). Instead of prescribing recipes of set steps for leaders, Fullan gives a framework or new mind-set of 5 themes or capacities. Figure 1.1 (p.4) gives a clear image of the non-linear interacting components: the inner pie of moral purpose (acting with the intention of making a positive difference), understanding change, relationship building, knowledge creation and sharing, and coherence making. It is surrounded by an outer rim of the personal characteristics of leaders: "energy-enthusiasm-hopefulness". Effective leaders thus mobilize commitment, both external (based on management policies) and internal (getting a job done is intrinsically rewarding). The aim or outcome of leadership is to... read more

Leading with Clarity

By Andrew A. Hoover - February 7, 2003

In this book, Fullan integrates theory, research, case studies, and anecdotes to flesh out the dynamics of effective leadership in this post-modern era of complexity, interconnectedness, and rapid (often transformational) technological and social change. He identifies and elaborates on the five components of leadership, which can affect sustainable change: Moral purpose, understanding change, relationship building, knowledge creation and sharing, and coherence making. Fullan sees leadership as a process that all organizational stakeholders, who strive for survival and improvement in a competitive and complex world, need to embrace. Drawing from Heifetz (Leadership Without Easy Answers, 1994), Fullan stakes out new territory for change agents: "Leadership, then, is not mobilizing others to solve problems we already know how to solve, but to help them confront problems that have never yet been successfully addressed." (p.3)In weaving a coherent tapestry of description and theory,... read more

A Framework for Leadership in Today�s World

By Matt J. Fuller - March 29, 2004

During a time of rapid change and so-called leadership gurus, Michael Fullan draws from a wealth of research, case study scenarios, and theory to present an interconnected framework of five capacities for leadership which are relevant in today's world. These five components include moral purpose, understanding change, relationship building, knowledge creation and sharing, and coherence making. When effective leaders possess characteristics of energy-enthusiasm-hopefulness and practice the five components, one can expect the outcome that "more good things happen" and "fewer bad things happen."The five capacities of leadership are interrelated. Moral purpose, both a leadership quality and a natural result of the other four leadership components, involves "doing the right thing" for your organization and the world while contending with the diverse interests of competing groups. Fullan analyzes the change models of Kotter (1996); Beer, Eisenstat, and Spector (1990); and Hamel (2000);... read more

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