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“A long journey begins with a small step” – Lao Tzu


According to the literature1, 2, the commitment of management is an essential condition for successful change. Management has a “leverage effect” which reduces or even wipes out the resistance. Individuals, in their assessment of the situation that leads them to accept or refuse change, are influenced by the opinion and actions of management.

The direction must embody the change, for that :

  • It has irrefutable arguments 
  • It involves the other actors of change and empowers them. 
  • It creates the dynamics of change by analyzing the situation and identifying deviations from expectations. 
  • It provides all the necessary resources to best support the staff in the process. It can be material, human resources, the establishment of training

The Kotter Leader of Change model

Kotter4 based on his theory that changes are not made via projects but by the attitude and posture of managers on a daily basis. He says that the change is built by two-thirds in the relationship that the manager has with his collaborators and thinks that the communication, training and support devices led by the projects are only one-third high.

It proposes a change management model for managers to embody change.

Prepare for change

Engaging change

1. Create a sense of urgency by developing the argument “Why change now?”

2 .Identify change relay groups.

3. Develop a vision and deployment strategy.

4. Communicate vision, strategy and generate a volunteer “army”.

Make the change

Fix the change

5. Deal with the obstacles of change.

6. Have quick results to show.

7. Consolidate gains (ensuring skills and attitudes) to amplify change.

8. Institute change by ensuring the link between work and daily life.

” Leadership is the ability to influence others through a dynamic, a contract that aims to identify and accomplish goals together. ” – E. Parisi Carew

Kotter proposes a comparison between what is a “traditional” manager in acts and a Leader. Here is the detail of this distinction.



Create and follow a schedule

The steps are detailed with deadlines, budget, resources and different indicators.

He establishes, develops and shares a vision to establish change.

Develop human relationships

He organizes the resources of the structure to achieve the results. He delegates the responsibilities and creates the implementation plan.

He aligns the teams, he communicates with simple words and understood by all. It influences to create teams and federate them around the vision.


He controls and solves problems. It controls the actions and results.

It motivates and inspires to create energy for teams to overcome barriers and implement change.


It achieves the predicted results to achieve customer and shareholder satisfaction.

It produces change and goes further than the expectations identified by customers and shareholders.

The qualities of the Leader according to Maxwell

A recognized author in the management lists the human qualities that a Leader must have to implement the change in the company. It summarizes the following characteristics :

  • Have a recognized natural charisma
  • Is a committed and courageous person.
  • Know how to communicate and share ideas.
  • Demonstrates skills and knows how to train if necessary.
  • Demonstrates discernment, initiative and knows how to focus.
  • Has a positive attitude, is generous and knows how to listen.
  • Gives the feeling of security and knows how to take responsibility.

Manage change according to cultures

Richard. D. Lewis in his 1996 book, “When Cultures Collide”, defined 3 large families of culture from which 24 types of management flow. One learns in particular that the English are diplomats, in search of the consensus, whereas conversely the Americans are aggressive and oriented results. On our side, France is autocratic, very top-down, where Swedes are democratic and decentralized decisions. For their part, the Japanese respond to their culture of Ringiseido.

The 3 big families of culture




Cool, factual, plans

Hot, Emotional, Impulsive, Loquaceous

Courteous, Friendly, Accommodating, Conciliator

Speak half the time

Do one thing at a time

Plan step by step

Polite but direct

Partially conceals feelings

Confront with logic

Do not lose face

rarely interrupts

Work oriented 

Mostly based on facts 

Privilege truth to diplomacy

Sometimes impatient

Limited body language 

Respect the bureaucracy 

Separates the staff from the professional

Speaks most of the time

Do several things at once

Plan the outlines


Show his feelings

Confronted emotionally

Have a good excuse

Interruption often

Person oriented

Focus on feelings to the facts

Flexible around the truth


Use a lot of body language

Seek not to go through key people

Blend staff and professional

Listen most of the time

Reacted to the actions of others 

Look at the general principles 

Polite and indirect 

Hide your feelings 

Never confronts 

Must not lose face

Never stop 

Very person oriented 

Declarations are promises

Diplomacy is a priority to the truth


Use subtle body language

Uses connections

Connect the staff and the professional

The 24 types of management


1 – R. Beckhard, R. T. Harris (1977) – Organizationnal transitions : managing complex change

2 – R. Romanelli (1992) – Review of the new institutionalism in organizational analysis

3 – C. Michaud, J. C. Thoening (2001) – Stratégie et sociologie de l’entreprise

4 – J. Kotter (1996) – Leading change

J. Gidley (2010) – L’évolution de la conscience et le changement de paradigme

P. Jouannel, A. Murcia, P. Servant (2012) – Peut-on planifier le changement organisationnel

M. Audet, V. Larouche (1988) – Paradigmes, écoles de pensée et théorie en relations industrielles

C. Heath, D. Heath (2010) – Osez le changement

J. M. Perreti (2012) – Tous DRH : les meilleures pratiques par 51 professionnels

D. Autissier, F. Bensebaa, J. M. Moutot (2012) – Les stratégies de changement

D. Autissier, J. M. Moutot (2013) – La boite à outils de la conduite du changement

NF X 06-091 : norme relative aux exigences des compétences des chefs de projets d”amélioration et des animateurs d”ateliers

D. Autissier, I. Vandangeon, A. Vas (2012) – Conduite du changement, concepts clés

J. C. Maxwell (2007) – The 21 indispensable qualities of a leader

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