Jack and Suzy Welch discuss questions of leadership and change in their article from the recent issue of Business Week. Welch & Welch (2008) suggest that change managers are responsible for encouraging change in numerous organizational environments. The authors make a clear distinction between change agents and leaders, but it is very probable that leadership is integrally linked to the ability to emotionally engage people into the process of organizational change.
Leadership Article Summary
Do true leaders drive organizational change? Can we call leaders change agents who determine the direction of change in various organizational contexts? Jack and Suzy Welch discuss these questions in their article from the recent issue of Business Week. Welch & Welch (2008) suggest that change managers are responsible for encouraging change in numerous organizational environments, and contributing into the development of sound leadership practices in organizations.
Welch & Welch (2008) make a clear distinction between leadership and change: “change agents in business, in other words, have to be leaders. And yet, as you know, not all leaders are change agents”. That means that change agents represent the ultimate and the most perfect form of organizational leadership, combining the ability to look into the future, with the courage to bet their careers, and the ability to gather and galvanize people around them. Emotional engagement is one of the most effective drivers of change in small and large organizations (Welch & Welch, 2008). Welch & Welch (2008) state that change agents are fully rewarded for their attempts through organizational growth or organization’s survival; “in business, change agents with authority don’t have to wait. They just have to see the future and have the guts and the followers to go for it” (Welch & Welch, 2008).
I do not think that change agents are drastically different from those whom we usually call “leaders”. Moreover, I do not accept Welch’s practical view on leaders as those who are not able to manage organizational change. In reality, change is the integral element of leadership. Leadership is always connected to the leader’s ability to emotionally engage people into organizational change. It is doubtful that leaders are prepared to bet their careers; rather, leadership is the effective instrument for combining change with career growth. Ultimately, I suppose that true leaders are always prepared to facing organizational discontinuities, and are not scared off by the organization’s reluctance to implement change. True leadership is expressed through the leader’s ability to develop organization’s preparedness to organizational change and the ability to become a change agent whenever the change determines the success of organizational performance.
Welch, J. & Welch, S. (2008). What change agents are made of. Business Week. Retrieved
October 23, 2008 from