The Change Leader

The Change Leader

In their terrific book, Plugging Into Passions, the authors Myron Radio and Wendy Mack explore the new role of the organisational "change leader," and how they are able to leverage others' passions to mobilise the energy to make change happen.

From the Book:

Whether you are a director, vice-president, functional leader, or program or project lead, one of the most powerful and pivotal roles you can play in your organisation is that of a change leader.

In their bestselling book, The Leadership Challenge, Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner suggest that the study of leadership is in fact “the study of how men and women guide us through adversity, uncertainty, hardship, disruption, transformation, and transition.”

In other words, leadership is all about change, and change requires leadership.

You know that changing will help your organisation gain a competitive advantage, enter new markets, improve the productivity and effectiveness of your workforce, and so on. Yet, when your employees and stakeholders hear about a new change effort, most will shudder and roll their eyes. In fact, when we interviewed leaders about change efforts, they repeatedly cited resistance as the primary obstacle to transformation. These leaders were often surprised and perplexed by people’s reactions to change. Yet most change efforts reportedly fail precisely because leaders fail to take the human side of transition into account.

All change requires energy. The key to leading change starts with your ability to energise others.

Being an energising leader is not about delivering motivational speeches and holding pizza parties at work. While the ability to inspire is important, effective leaders recognise that being an energiser is not about “projecting” energy as much as it about uncovering and unleashing energy to achieve a specific result.

Employee motivation is a perennial hot topic for leaders at all levels. Hundreds of thousands of books on motivational methods and tools are purchased every year. Advice on motivation covers topics ranging from the design of pay systems to creating a great place to work to giving people time off. None of this advice is wrong, but none of it is right either. Motivation is highly personal and largely internal. What matters to one person may mean nothing to his or her colleagues.

Thanks to new developments, we can actually predict with great certainty how individuals will react and adapt to change.

Passion is the term we use to describe what moves and motivates us to take action. Researchers have identified six culture-neutral, gender-neutral core motivators.

Passion for Knowledge Passion for Results Passion for Creativity Passion for People Passion for Leading Passion for Tradition

When you interact with each person, you have the opportunity to connect your message to their own sources of energy.


“The only way on earth to influence the other fellow is to talk about what he wants and show him how to get it.”

— Dale Carnegie


A great deal of resistance is rooted in distrust. It is highly unlikely that we will generate commitment from people who don’t like or trust us. While there are many factors that build and destroy trust, a key component is the alignment of values between two people. As we discussed earlier, there are six primary values (we call them passions) and people vary widely in terms of their prioritisation of each. When you share a value/passion with someone, you feel confident that he/she will make the same decisions you would. Therefore you trust that person more.

So does this mean that people never trust those who have passions that are different from their own? No. In these cases, we have found that trust can still be formed as long as both people’s actions are still predictable. I may value people and my boss may value results. It is still possible for me to trust my boss because at some level I know I can count on him to make decisions to put results first. So the key here is not to pretend to be someone you are not, or to try to “fake” your style or passion. The best route is to be authentic, honest, and consistent and to take the time to build relationships with others before attempting to engage them in change.


Read More — Buy the Book on Amazon: Plugging Into Passions by Myron Radio and Wendy Mack

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