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The Urgency of Change in Today`s Environment

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Module 5 DQ 1: The Urgency of Change in Today`s Environment


Module 5 DQ 1

Based on this week`s reading and two articles from 2003 or later, select two contemporary change leadership models. Compare them. Explain why they would be appropriate for today`s chaotic, fast-paced global environment.



To realize an organization`s purpose and vision in today`s chaotic global environment requires leaders to continuously initiate change within their organizations. Leaders must be able to clearly communicate their vision in a way that motivates and inspires their employees and stakeholders. They must select from among the various models of change leadership and change management that have been used by leaders in organizations to realize needed changes. Successful realization of these changes will result in their organization realizing their purpose and making a significant contribution.

The Urgency of Change in Today`s Environment

Change has been a focus of leadership for more than two decades. However, with today`s chaotic global environment, change has become a strategic priority for leaders, trustees, and organizations. The models developed by academicians, researchers, and leaders in the past focused on change from the perspective of ensuring continuous improvement, creation of new products, or entry into new markets. Today`s environment has changed dramatically with dramatic downturns in markets for the second time in a decade. Companies are fighting for their very survival. The nature of change in today`s environment is being questioned. Changes are more dramatic and happen at a far faster pace. A sense of chaos on a global perspective has become the norm. Today`s leaders must operate in an environment with greater uncertainty, bigger unknowns, increasing numbers of unexpected impacts, and wonderment as to whether the global economy as they know it will survive (Bryan and Farrell, 2008).The challenge for today`s leaders is to select, adapt, and implement change models appropriate for today`s new environment and realities.

Awareness, Flexibility, and Resiliency for Change Leadership

Leadership requires selecting the best approaches to envision and craft a new and better future. Crafting a vision for the future begins by having clarity around the current organization and its capabilities. Then, based on the current situation and the organization`s capabilities, the leader needs to develop a vision for the future. This vision must incorporate the changes needed for their organization to survive and prosper in the future. Leaders with awareness, flexibility, and resiliency are more likely to be able to craft a promising vision and realize the changes needed to achieve the vision. In the past, the leaders who were successful in times of chaos had the awareness, flexibility, and resiliency to leverage the chaos and transform it into an opportunity to change their leadership capability. Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller transformed the oil and steel industries by changing the refining and steel production technologies in the late 1800s. Warren Buffett transformed a failing textile company called Berkshire Hathaway into a source of funds for a broad range of innovative investments focused on the future nearly 100 later (Bryan and Farrell, 2008).

The Strategic Game Plan: A Metaphor for Today`s Realities and Tomorrow`s Changes

Strategic planning in the past was a complex and often labor intensive and time-consuming process. Many large corporations had internal organizations devoted to managing this process. The binders and plans they produced; however, were often so complex and so difficult that they remained on the shelves of executive officers collecting dust as leaders identified totally different courses of action they considered more doable. Traditional strategic planning and the associated change management models in the past did not provide the flexibility and speed needed for today. Thus the metaphor of a "strategic game plan" or "strategic response" provides a concept that better fits today`s reality of chaos, accelerating change, and globalization. The change leadership and change management models must also provide speed and flexibility. Today`s challenges make it imperative that organizations and leaders are as quick and flexible as the nature of change itself. These new organizations will be able to craft clear, simple, and focused change plans to ensure their organizations and people thrive in any future they may face (Hamel, 2007). New models of change emerge based on the reality of our more complex systems (Ford, 2008) as older models (Kotter, 1995) that have survived the test of time evolve to adapt to the near realities of today.

Evolving Change Leadership Role

The very nature of the leadership role changes as leaders focus on ensuring learning, change, and adaptability as opposed to focusing on creating the next new product or entering the next new market. This new change of leadership model needs to focus on creating an organizational culture that will enable the realization of the strategy. And this culture must be one of learning, change, and adaptation. The change leader must live these values and demonstrate them through their actions and behaviors. "Every aspect of their performance, every conversation they hold, and every action they take demonstrates what values they believe are important to the organization" (Senge, 1994, p. 66). Leaders no longer have the time to manage all of the changes needed in any organization today. They must instead create a culture where change is a norm for all employees, and all employees help to identify and realize needed changes.

Change leaders can create a culture of change and adaptability by establishing a culture of learning often called a learning organization. Learning organizations are one way to create the flexibility and adaptation needed in today`s organizations, leaders, and employees (Englehardt and Simmons, 2002). The leader who wants to achieve success understands the organizational challenges and the opportunities for flexibility as well as the requirements for creating a new structure to enable a learning organization. Flexibility and adaptation require flattening the organization and empowering workers (Englehardt and Simmons, 2002). Using dialogue to engage their employees helps to develop a shared understanding for the critical aspects of the organization such as its cultural values, strategies, and need for change. These new approaches can help manage the chaos. Managing chaos is all about "keeping people and teams in constant motion, allowing order to emerge out of disorderly messes and changes" (Englehardt and Simmons, 2002, p. 117). According to Englehardt and Simmons (2002), there are five roles for leaders to successfully lead change in today`s chaotic environment:

Managing the worker transitions through the change process, building resilience to change by adjusting expectations, destabilizing the system for innovation in a state of bounded instability, providing workplace balance when managing present and future and order and disorder, and creating and maintaining a learning organization with synchronous learning and doing. (p. 118)

Today`s leaders must create organizational cultures and structures to support organizational and individual improvisation and as well as continual organic adaptation. They must create organizations that not only quickly change, but also learn through the change process (Worley and Lawler, 2006).


The nature of today`s chaotic global environment is requiring leaders to go beyond leading and managing change to creating organizations with a culture that enables change through all of its employees and leaders. In order to have organizations that are aware, flexible, and resilient, leaders must take on a role very different than their traditional change management role of the past. Leaders need to understand the requirements for learning organizations, which are flexible and quick to adapt to the rapidly changing global environment in which all organizations must operate. They also need to create new, more flexible organizational structures to ensure adaptation and long term survival. They must focus on creating a culture of change where all employees and all leaders will make successful change a reality. Through this successful change the organization will not only survive, but it will have the capability to thrive as the future continues to evolve.


Module 5 DQ 1 Student’s Name: University Affiliation Module 5 DQ 1 The contemporary change leadership models are numerous, but most organization prefers one of the three common models that are Lewin’s change leadership model, McKinsey 7-S leadership model, and Kotter’s 8 step change model. Focusing on McKinsey 7-S le


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