Michael Fullan describes organisational change as rocket science. He says this because we are inundated with complex, unclear, and often contradictory advice.
Change is messy.
So, Michael Fullan created the pentagon leadership model, or framework for leadership, to deal with the often confused and difficult reality of leading change.
Charismatic leaders inadvertently often do more harm than good because, at best, they provide episodic improvement followed by frustrated or despondent dependency. – Michael Fullan
Fullan’s leadership model has five themes:
- moral purpose,
- understanding change,
- relationship building,
- knowledge creation and sharing, and
- coherence making.
Leading In a Culture of Change
Michael Fullan’s framework for leadership model describes the core values and practices of leaders responsible for change.
Now, in my book, that means managers and team leaders at all levels of the organisation.
1. Moral Purpose
What is moral purpose? And, of greater importance, why is it important when leading change?
Moral purpose is about ends and means. The effective change leader is driven by a sense of determination to do something beneficial and the means of getting to that end.
But moral purpose is not enough. What the business does in practice is also critical.
That is to say, moral purpose is about deeds and actions, not only words.
2. Understanding Change
People refer to gurus because they don’t know how to spell charlatan. – Michael Fullan quoting Peter Drucker
Fullan argues that many models for leading change are contradictory, and do not help leaders put their plans for change into action.
He concludes that change can neither be managed nor controlled.
But it can be led.
So, the purpose of the model, is to understand change so we may become better leaders. To have a better understanding and feeling for complex change.
So, we learn from the model that:
- the goal is not to innovate the most,
- it is not enough to have the best ideas,
- to appreciate the early difficulties of trying something new,
- to reframe resistance as a potential positive force,
- a transforming culture is always the name of the game, and
- change is never a checklist, but always complex.
3. Relationship Building
Quite simply, if relationships improve, things get better.
Need I say more?
It’s strong relationship that get things done. A good relationship balances personal competence and social competence.
Emotional intelligence is critical to successful change. When there are differences of opinion, emotions run high, and the leader who manages conflict rather than avoiding it altogether, is more likely to succeed.
4. Knowledge Creation and Sharing
Over a decade later, businesses are constrained by their inability to share information within and outside the organisation.
Knowledge creation and knowledge sharing is crucial for change to succeed.
Because sharing information is about collaboration, working together, and cooperation.
So, leaders must think inside the box, and stop squandering the information and knowledge already within their grasp.
5. Coherence Making
Change is the transformational leaders friend.
But, change is messy, and change creates ambiguity.
The competent project manager understands this and manages the dilemma. They accept uncertainty and complexity, and seek to make things logical and consistent.
The change leader needs to do the same. They need to forget elegance and achieve coherence by making progress, however clumsy this may seem.
Change leaders focus on outcomes. That is, the ends not the means.
A Leadership Mindset
Leading change calls for a new mindset. One where change is quick and learning slow.
More good things happen; fewer bad thing happen.
Your success is judged by what leadership you produce in others.
If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward. – Martin Luther King Jr.
What does this model offer you and your business?
Which part resonates with you? Why is this?
Creative Commons image courtesy Boston Public Library.