Sunday, 25 September 2022

In Governance

Change Leadership in Africa

African Society needs to learn, adopt, and adhere to Change Leadership in order to bring transformation that is more than just equality, but becomes equity to all. 

“Transformation is the new type of change that has emerged and it is by far the most prevalent and complex type occurring in organisations today.

Change management practitioners have attempted to provide solutions to overcome employee resistance and plan for better implementation. However, these components of change have not produced adequate positive results. It is now time to move beyond change management to conscious Change Leadership” – Anderson & Ackerman Anderson.

Immediately, we are alerted to the importance of fully digesting the sheer magnitude and power underlying these words, before even attempting to comprehend the scale of change that the future will bring. There is little doubt that the rapid pace of change and the growing complexity we face demand very different paradigms, mental models, principles, values, attitudes, and behaviours by all of us. 

No doubt this has a direct bearing on leaders across the world, who now need to make the cognitive, emotional, spiritual and behavioural shifts necessary in order to fulfil their leadership mandates actively.

Leaders and those involved with leadership support need to absorb the full impact of the pace of global change rapidly and actively work on developing the mindsets, competencies and skills that enable leaders and their people to make the transition to new ways of living, working and interacting, if they are to be successful. 

Perhaps, at this point, we may refer to this emergent style of leadership as “Change Leadership”.

“To accomplish great things we must first dream, then visualise, then plan … believe … act.” – Montapert

“Change requires creating a new system, which in turn always demands leadership.” – Kotter

When looking at these two quotes together, we have the underlying philosophy that speaks directly to the core of Change Leadership – the need to conceptualise fully, design/re-design, and configure our model of leadership, in order to emphasise Change Leadership. Underpinning these quotes is the ever-growing role of leadership in facilitating, enabling and guiding change, demanding new approaches and confirming the relevance of Change Leadership.

The purpose of my chapter is to argue the case for Change Leadership and what it takes competency-wise. This chapter will firstly contextualise the concept of Change Leadership by examining some of the critical drivers of change; outline the conceptual framework behind Change Leadership; and then look more pragmatically at the key competencies and skills that will be crucial if leaders are to evolve into effective Change Leaders. As such, I will aim to blend concept and technique, thereby igniting the reader’s desire to grasp the framework and simultaneously providing practical areas that can be designed, tested and applied.

Why has Change Leadership Become So Important?

Having briefly introduced the concept of Change Leadership, it is useful to look more closely at the global conditions that demand it, now more than ever. To begin the conversation regarding the centrality of Change Leadership to leadership as a discipline and practice, let us look at global trends, patterns and themes. Global trends reflect accelerating and ongoing shifts linked to geopolitical and socio-economic dynamics. Close scrutiny of such dynamics reveal that they are intricately intertwined and influence multi- and bilateral power relations and alliances among countries and cultures. These drivers of change exert both overt and subtle influences on how change actually unfolds everywhere.

Toffler has written extensively about the course of global human evolution and the pace of change that we can anticipate. In fact, his predictions have formed the foundation upon which significant first-world countries have based their national growth strategies. Toffler predicted critical global trends that influence how societies all over the world will function. Significant predictions include a phenomenon he calls the “Accelerative Thrust”. 

The accelerative thrust refers to the increasingly rapid pace at which innovation, production and society in general will function. Toffler cites specific trends in order to assist leaders and strategists to understand the full impact of such rapid, widespread change.

To be continued in the next issue.

Cabanga Media Group publishes of thoughtful economic and business commentary magazines and online media, in several African markets, that include South Africa, Botswana, East Africa Community, Ethiopia, Egypt, Nigeria, and Zambia.