“The simple insight that management is not leadership is better understood today, but not nearly as well as is needed. Management makes a system work. It helps you do what you know how to do. Leadership builds systems or transforms old ones.” (Kotter, 1996)
Kotter's 8 step process
Kotter (1996) suggests that there is an 8 step process for leading change.
Create a sense of urgency
Build a guiding team
Develop a vision and strategy
Communicate the vision
Enable action by removing barriers
Sustain change by building on gains
Embed the change in culture
There is a useful diagram that summarises Kotter's process on the Leading Change course blog
Effective leadership, rather than focusing primarily on a specific aspect of change, focuses on creating the conditions in which everyone in the group is able to envision and enact cohesion:
“Coherence consists of the shared depth of understanding about the purpose and nature of the work” (Fullan & Quinn, 2016, p.1).
In challenging situations, people are motivated primarily by intrinsic factors: having a sense of purpose, solving difficult problems, and working with peers on issues that are of critical importance to the group (Fullan & Quinn, 2016, p.4).
Fullan & Quinn identify the elements contained in the diagram below (from Michael Fullen's website) as the ‘right drivers to bring about system change’ - as opposed to the ‘wrong drivers’ (such as rewarding individual teachers, national standards).
Why are these wrong drivers still being implemented? Here are some of their suggestions:Our wrong driver analysis showed how politicians were making matters worse by imposing solutions that were crude and demotivating for the very people who have to help lead the solution … You might ask why politicians endorse solutions that don’t work. The answer is not complicated: because they can legislate them; because they are in a hurry; because the remedies can be made to appeal superficially to the public; because (and unkindly on our part) some of them really don’t care about the public education system, preferring that education to be taken over by the private sector; and (more kindly) because they do not know what else to do (Fullan & Quinn, 2016, p. 3).
Simplexity means that you take a difficult problem and identify a small number of key factors (about four to six) – this is the simple part. And then you make these factors gel under the reality of action with its pressures, politics, and personalities in the situation – this is the complex part (Fullan & Quinn, 2016, p. 127).
Leaders build coherence when they combine the four components of our Coherence Framework to meet the varied needs of the complex organizations they lead. Coherence making is a forever job because people come and go, and the situational dynamics are always in flux …The main threat to coherence is turnover at the top with new leaders who come in with their own agenda. It is not turnover per se that is the problem, but rather discontinuity of direction (Fullan & Quinn, 2016, p.128).