Why I Disagree With Jack & Suzie Welch

In their BusinessWeek What Change Agents Are Made Of, Jack & Suzie Welch focus on four traits: power, vision, bravery, and support. The Welchway says that “…change is made by people with some sort of authority. It’s driven by managers who have a platform to advocate for a new direction and the ability to hire, promote, and reward those who embrace it. Change agents in business, in other words, have to be leaders.”

We agree that power, vision, bravery and support are key traits of change agents. We have three caveats.
First, authority is never the beginning of leadership power. Authority comes later, after you have been a leader without a title.

Second, being an adaptive learner is as critical as having vision and bravery. You have to be able to assimilate feedback, to change, course-correct and adapt.

Third, we need to redefine power. The greatest power in the world is not power over others – it is knowledge of self. True leaders and agents of change have deep self insight. They understand their strengths and vulnerabilities, and find their authentic voice. The foundation of power, charisma, vision, bravery, support and the ability to learn and adapt is the knowledge of self. It is also the key to renewal and the ability to see and lead oneself and others into a shape-shifting future.

© Aviv Shahar

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