In Leading in a Culture of Change, Michael Fullan identifies five core components of effective leadership – moral purpose, understanding change, relationship building, knowledge creation and sharing, and coherence making.
Leading in a Culture of Change
A chapter is devoted to each and is complemented by an introduction that provides an overview of the set, coupled with the claim that all effective leaders possess a set of more personal characteristics – energy, enthusiasm and hopefulness. Fullan’s suggestion is that there may be a dynamic, reciprocal relationship between the two sets. However, he avoids the debate on which is likely to exist first.
Overall, the book is easy to read and understand. Fullan offers some practical hints on understanding the change process and on which leadership styles tend to produce a significant, positive impact on cultural climate and performance. He also gives examples of how to build effective internal relationships to enhance the creation and sharing of business-focussed knowledge. At times, however, it appears to be more a collection of quotes and examples from the research of other authors than original thought.
Most of the case studies contained in the book relate to educational establishments, primarily in the US and Canada – Fullan is, after all, Dean of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto – and may therefore not appear to have an immediate practical application in the private sector.
I found the content of this book mildly interesting but not inspirational. It is somewhat insubstantial and certainly not likely to receive more than one reading. For that reason alone, I do not consider it represents value for money. Borrow it from the library rather than buy it.
Judith Kiely is principal consultant, Carpe Diem HR Solutions and chairwoman of the South East Wales CIPD Branch