Leadership

Lead with your heart and your head: Renowned HBS professor Dr. John Kotter on leading through change

September 1, 2021

Lead with your heart and your head: Renowned HBS professor Dr. John Kotter on leading through change

John Kotter

Harvard Business School Professor

Legendary Harvard Business School professor Dr. John Kotter discusses how leaders can and should approach organizational change.

If he had a magic wand, what would legendary Harvard Business School professor Dr. John Kotter ask that all CEOs do when they are implementing change within their organizations? On the latest Walker Webcast, Dr. Kotter answered this question and discussed how leaders can and should approach organizational change, from M&As to tech transformations. 

In this episode of Driven by Insight, Willy is joined by Dr. John Kotter to discuss his new book Change. Dr. Kotter is a best-selling author, award winning business and management thought leader, business entrepreneur and Harvard Professor, who is widely regarded as a leading expert on leadership and change. Their conversation begins with Dr. Kotter’s explanation of the problem of urgency in corporations. In his first book, he wrote that companies had too much anxious urgency and instead needed passionate urgency. 

Change of any significance comes from leadership, not management. It's not budgets and processes, rather it is vision and mobilizing to make extraordinary things happen. Traditional strategic planning is heartless, but it’s necessary to bring your heart and head to the table to make transformation smooth. In his book, Dr. Kotter discusses the difference between thriving and surviving. We’re built to survive in a world that no longer exists, a slower world that draws on fears and threats rather than opportunities and achievements. These are mutually exclusive concepts, but Dr. Kotter stresses that we should critically look at our strategic planning to evaluate where we’re evoking survival tactics rather than finding ways to thrive.

Willy and Dr. Kotter then cover leadership and politics. While there are similarities in political and business leadership, there are certainly key differences. Dr. Kotter believes that the private sector can learn things from the public sector. One thing that he stresses is that corporate changes should be viewed as social movements that involves many people rather than an elite few. 

Links:

Learn more about Dr. John Kotter.
Learn more about Willy Walker and connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Learn more about Walker & Dunlop and Driven by Insight.

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