Tuesday, August 14, 2007

John Kotter

An amazing session with an amazing man. I would love to crawl inside John Kotter's head and download all the information stored there.
Prof Kotter is dean at Harvard Business School and has some great insights into leadership and what makes change work in an organisation. He is emphatic that there is a difference between management and leadership, with both skills sets being equally needed. Management is all about planning, budgeting, organising, staffing, controlling and problem-solving - anything that makes an organisation run efficiently.
Visionary leadership on the other hand is about creating strategy and ensuring buy-in to that vision; motivating for action and helping an organisation to grow and evolve and adapt to changing circumstances.
Leadership is needed at all levels and no great CEO can do the job on their own.
Kotter's latest book is a parable on change and how penguins cope when the iceberg around them starts melting. This is the time we need a team - not a committee! This is the time to get complacency down - not by leaving anxious people behind - but by really talking and influencing people. It is not simply a case of throwing data at people and hoping they will read it.
When we empower others to act, we ensure that people do not become cynical when barriers appear. Instead we change the systems and structures that are creating the blockages.
Kotter used 2 Australian case studies of change leadership in action - one was the ANZ story of the breakout program and the other case study was on Centrelink and how they reacted in the hurricane disaster relief work.
Kotter's final message was, "Don't over-complicate things" - we all can make a difference.
What was also interesting was Kotter's facilitation style. He only uses videos, stories and discussion - nothing else. Something that we could follow as an example

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