Kotter - Overview

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Played by Erik

Hi. My name is John Kotter.

Thirty years ago - management theory was all about scientific management, time-motion studies, organizational charts and systems analysis. And in 1977, a guy named Abraham Zaleznik wrote a paper pointing out that this all well and good, but it was only half the story. It ignored the human side of running an organization: vision, inspiration and human motivation. Leadership, quite simply, is different from management.

Thirteen years later, in 1990, I wrote a paper, pointing out that these two systems were complementary - both were necessary and the same person can do both. I took the three things required in running organizations - deciding what needs to be done, organizing people to do them, and ensuring they get done - and tried to describe the differences in approach between managing and leading...

- Planning and budgeting vs Setting direction;
- Organizing and staffing vs Aligning people;
- Controlling activities and solving problems vs motivating and inspiring.

How does this play out in the day-to-day world? The common theme is that managers promote stability, while leaders promote change.

We all wear our comfortable managerial hats - those skills have served us well and may even be ingrained and routine. We plan and budget, we organize our staff under those plans and budgets, and then we monitor all the activity and help people solve problems.

It's all important. And it's not enough. Because it's all about methodically heading toward the same place as last year - and that may no longer be the right target. *Change* may be necessary - either in direction, or in how the organization moves toward its goals - new OR old.

When we do our planning, are the objections that we plan for the same as before? In other words, is the previous direction still the right one? How do you examine that? Where do the new ideas come from? And how does the organization move toward them?

Let's take a brief look at issues confronting the IT organizations of three universities, and the traditional managerial approach, and consider putting on a new hat - perhaps even wearing both the leaderful approaches...