In my last post, I offered the concept of Situational Change Management. If you conduct a Google search on this topic, the results are limited. There are many sites that talk about Situational Leadership, which was first discussed by Hersey and Blanchard (1969) based on Reddin´s (1967) 3-D management style theory. This theory, the situational approach, uses the basic premise that different situations demand different types of leadership. For a more comprehensive understanding of the situational approach, I have provided additional resources.
In addition to the theory of situational leadership, there is another theory in which the situation determines how we respond called Situational Personality Trait Theory. This theory, based on the work of Walter Mischel (1968) challenged the assumption that personality determined behavior, and instead claimed that people’s behavior varies from situation to situation and depended on situational circumstances. Walter Mischel`s work is explained in more detail below…
After I learned about those two theories, I began to think about organizational change and the leadership needed to lead the change. My thought process lead me to ask several questions.
- Is there one model of change that fits all organizations?
- Why do so many change initiatives fail?
- Do organization fundamentally fight any change?
- Is it fear that contributes to the high failure rate?
- Do leaders not understand the change process?
- Is there such a thing as lasting change?
My experience with lasting change made me think about the concept of Situational Change. Is it better to use a change process that fits the organization or bring the same change process to any organization? Given my experience with implementing change, I have come to believe there is no “one size fits all.” While I have no research to back up this belief I think that using bits and pieces of many models is more effective and can produce lasting change more times than not.
When a leader is given the mandate to change the organization, the leader has to first understand the organization and be knowledgeable of the various change models. Once the system has been analyzed only then can the leader know how to bring about lasting change. Having studied various change models, I have not found one model that fits every change in each organization. Kotter, Fullan, Nudge Theory, to name a few, all have aspects that could be used to bring about lasting change but may not be used in their entirety. During my preparation to become a school leader I was given instruction in the change process but never once told that the models do not fit every situation. In fact, I am not sure any model fits every situation. I have come to this conclusion from personal experience making change in many organizations. My conclusions are not as yet research based but only derived from anecdotal experiences…my experiences.
Another aspect driving lasting change is leadership succession. I will look at this in my next posting. As always, thanks for reading.