The Grey Chronicles


Best Practices in Leadership and Organization Change

Best Practices in Leadership Development and Organization ChangeBest Practices in Leadership Development and Organization Change edited by Louis Carter, David Ulrich and Marshall Goldsmith (2005) offers 18 case studies of the world’s best organizations in various industries and sizes with emphasis on the key elements of leading successful and results-driven change and leadership development; tools, models, instruments, and strategies for leading change and development; practical “how-to” approaches to diagnosing, assessing, designing, implementing, coaching, following up on, and evaluating change and development; and critical success factors and critical failure factors, among others. They provide invaluable lessons in succeeding during crisis or growth modes and economies.

These organizations have a strong financial history, formal human resource management programs that integrate company strategy with its program’s objectives, a strong pool of talent, passion for positive change, and proven results from their initiatives.

The major findings of the case studies are:

Commitment to Organizational Objectives and Culture

“Most of the initiatives made a commitment to the strategic objectives or culture of the organization. Almost all of these initiatives have a message or vision upon which change or development was built.”

Changing Behaviors, Cultures, and Perceptions

“Sometimes leadership development and change programs transformed perceptions, behaviors, and culture(s) within a company.”

Competency or Organization Effectiveness Models

“Virtually all of these programs have some sort of explicit model, usually using behavioral competencies or organization assessment metrics.”

Strong Top Management Leadership Support and Passion

“Top leaders at the organization must not only budget for the change and leadership development initiative, they must also strongly believe in the initiative and model this behavior throughout the organization. Support from senior management has been identified by 88 percent of the contributors as a critical step in overcoming resistance to change.”

The Best Practices Institute has defined a six-phase system to leadership and organization change, and these are:

Business Diagnosis is usually a diagnostic step in which the business drivers and rationale for creating the initiative are identified. Critical to this stage is enabling consensus and a sense of urgency regarding the need for the initiative. . . Assessment has become a norm for business. The question is how we use the assessment to drive change in our businesses and ourselves. . . Program Design is done through coaching, selection of participants, action learning, leveraging multiple tools, use of current practices, connection to core organizational purpose. . . Implementation of almost all of the initiatives have a formalized training and development program or workshops to propel the change or development process into action. . . On-the-Job Support defines the follow-up support that determines whether change and development will transfer on the job. . . Evaluation is the capstone—the point at which the organization can gain insights on how to revise and strengthen a program, eliminate barriers to its reinforcement and use in the field, and connect the intervention back to the original goals to measure success”

The book concludes:

“All of our data suggest that the more involvement, understanding, and respect given to the diverse needs and styles of employees at all levels, the lower the resistance to change. In addition, there seems to be increased value derived from building on existing systems and involving all levels of employees in the development of new processes, both of which help truly integrate change initiatives into the organization’s culture.”

There is one passage that said:

“From considering the employee as customer to being more aware of client input into internal systems, there appears to be a new emphasis on people-centered initiatives.”

Should the so-called management initiatives such as Six Sigma and TPM, be instead called people-centered initiatives to garner more support and less resistance to change? Just asking!


Louis Carter, David Ulrich and Marshall Goldsmith [eds] (2005). Best Practices in Leadership Development and Organization Change: How the Best Companies Ensure Meaningful Change and Sustainable Leadership. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer, John Wiley & Sons, 2005. 514pp. back to text

Disclaimer: The posts on this site does not necessarily represent any organization’s positions, strategies or opinions; and unless otherwise expressly stated, are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Philippines License.


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