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Democratizing Change Leadership

Kevin Nourse, PhD
April 11, 2019

Summarizing research since 2000, researchers Dumas and Beinecke* identified a meta-framework and supporting conclusions about successfully implementing change. Their article explored supporting literature associated with two views of change leadership. One of their critical findings in this review was the shift from focusing only on specific change initiatives and tactics to creating a broader change embracive organizational culture where all employees are equipped with abilities to initiate and navigate change.

This perspective resonates with my experience in building organizational and leadership resilience. Rather than viewing change as a periodic effort, many of the executives I’ve partnered with are interested in creating cultures where people throughout their organization can initiate and lead change even though they may not have a managerial title. In essence, organizational members are provided the requisite skills, access to information, and a level of autonomy to capitalize on change opportunities.

For example, I’ve delivered leadership development programs focused on strategic thinking and change leadership to organizations as a means for helping staff recognize and exploit untapped opportunities to create greater organizational value. Programs such as these help shift the mindset of people from feeling like a victim of their circumstance toward being an author of their experience. In psychological terms, their locus of control shifts from external to internally-driven. Employees that are empowered with this kind of training and support are far less likely to fear change even if it is initiated from above.

Organizations that democratize change leadership skills accrue substantial dividends in terms of greater agility, resilience, and sustainability over time.

*Dumas, C. & Beinecke, R.H. (2017). Change leadership in the 21st century. Journal of Organizational Change, 31(1), 867-876.

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Dr. Kevin Nourse has more than 25 years of experience developing resilient change leaders in the association sector. He is the founder of Nourse Leadership Strategies, a coaching and leadership development firm based in Southern California and Washington, DC. For more information, contact Kevin at 310.715.8315 or kevin@nourseleadership.com

(c) 2019 Kevin Nourse

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