Why Leadership and Change Management Must Go Hand-in-Hand

Change is a constant in the business world. What creates the difference in outcomes is how organizations handle change. A career in change management means overseeing the transitions that businesses must make to remain competitive.

This skill is in demand in organizations where they know change management can give their operation an edge.

There’s no one path to entering change management. However, colleges and universities have recognized the need for more change management experts – including those in executive positions – and devised programs that prepare graduates for the challenge.

Leadership and Change Management

Handling change is especially important for those who currently hold or aspire to  leadership positions.

At one time, leadership and change management were treated separately, which led many organizations to struggle, according to the Harvard Business Review (HBR).

“For better results, organizations should coordinate their leadership development and change management efforts, approaching them as one and the same,” according to HBR. “True leadership involves deviating from cultural expectations in ways that inspire others to choose to follow.”

Leaders who understand this often choose to earn an MBA that concentrates on leadership and change management. It’s a degree program that gives students skills in both advanced business and the intricacies of managing change.

What Is Change Management?

Change management involves a systematic approach to overseeing the implementation of changes in how an organization handles a part of its business. Change management tends to focus on the people side of the equation, using tools and techniques to engage employees in learning a new process and adapting to changes in how they approach work.

Overall, well-handled change management leads to organizational success.

Change in an organization is driven by many factors. They can include:

  • A competitive environment that requires change for businesses to keep pace
  • Evolving consumer demands that lead to changes in how products and services are manufactured and delivered
  • Changes in technology that require retraining and new job duties for employees
  • A data-driven environment where analytics could determine changes that need to be made that will make a business more efficient and give an organization an edge in the market

Of course, change can also come in the old-fashioned way: executives decide to move in a different direction.

Why Earn a Degree in Change Management?

Because it’s relatively new to have someone focusing on change management, the job has often been filled by people who didn’t have expertise in the area.

Today, degree programs focus specifically on the issue of change management and how it interlocks with a company’s long-term strategy goals.

The MBA in Leadership and Change Management Specialization degree from Concordia University-Chicago, for example, offer students a chance to strengthen business fundamentals while also developing leadership skills.

Graduates learn:

  • The value of leadership theories
  • The intercultural impact of leadership practice
  • The details of facilitating strategic change.
  • The development of servant leadership, interpersonal and influencing skills that can effectively shape group change
  • How to champion systemic change that leads to success for the entire organization

Clearly, it goes beyond what is learned in a traditional MBA program. Graduates from an MBA program with a concentration in leadership and change management have expertise in how to be a creative, resourceful leader – as well as one who can foster and guide effective change. Those are crucial skills in the modern business world.

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