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Transforming Leadership

The complex challenges of today’s organizations are calling for a new kind of heroic leader. The unquestioned assumption that vision is a pre-requisite for successful change, and that leaders need to be visionaries who can show us the way, presumes that the future is predictable, organizations are controllable, and plans can be implemented. We argue that these assumptions are responsible for the abysmal failure rate of organizationchange programs. In this paper we will describe how our ongoing study of newer change practices (Bushe and Marshak, 2009, 2014, 2015) leads us to argue that successful leadership insituations of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA), which describe most transformational change scenarios, will require very different assumptions about organizing and leading from the prevailing ‘Performance Mindset’ that emphasizes instrumental and measurable goal-setting and achievement. Rather than identifying what the change...

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