Management vs. Leadership: What Do You Turn To For Transformational Change?

When a company seeks to make transformational change – the type of change that is defined as an organization-wide cultural shift that takes place over time as the result of a change in the organization’s underlying strategy and processes. How to successfully transform an organization is a topic of much interest and debate and what we’re talking about here is the difference between management and leadership and which is more likely to be the driving force behind successful transformation.

What is Management?

Management is a set of processes that can keep a complicated system of people and technology running smoothly is referred to as management.

The role of management typically involves:

  • Planning and Budgeting
  • Organizing and Staffing
  • Controlling and Problem Solving
These managerial functions offer a degree of predictability and order that leads to consistency in producing expected results. This predictability and consistently is most definitely important when it comes to sustaining the direction of the organization. But what about making transformational changes?

Let’s contrast this with the definition of leadership.

Management vs LeadershipWhat is Leadership?

Leadership is the process of defining a vision and then guiding and inspiring others to reach that vision. Leaders establish direction, align people, and motivate and inspire people to complete the vision despite any obstacles they may face along the way.

The answer to which is more important in transformational change is clear, but you may not realize just how critical the leadership component is. According to Harvard University research a successful transformation program will be 70-90% leadership and 10-30% management.

Think of it as the 80/20 rule of change management. 80% comes as a result of leadership and 20% comes through management. The fact is, effective leadership produces extremely effective and often dramatic change to make an organization more competitive.

So who are these leaders?

Certainly, the CEO is a most likely candidate for the main leadership role. But we also argue that organizations should appoint change agents within their organizations to act as additional leaders in the process. Learn more about change agents in our recent blog post, “Change Agents: The Power Behind Effective Change Management” or get more information about our organizational transformation and transition services. * * *

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Joe Evans serves as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Method Frameworks.  

Method Frameworks provides management consulting services to commercial enterprises with strategic and operational planning solutions using the firm’s proprietary Plan4 process. Visit Meth...

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