Change Lessons from the CEO #31 #cong21


This presentation will provide insights into the process of leading change effectively . Video clips from interviews with CEO’s and strategic leaders are used to illustrate the learning points.

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Key Takeaways:

  1. Leadership and Change are two sides of the same coin
  2. Change – if it is to be successful must be led successfully
  3. Developing a clear and well communicated change process is key
  4. Persuasion must address the emotions of change recipients as well as their needs for logic and evidence.

About Patrick Flood

Patrick C. Flood is Professor of Organizational Behaviour at Dublin City University. He received his PhD from the London School of Economics and completed post-doctoral work at London Business School. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences (UK) and a former Chevening Scholar, Fulbright scholar, EU HUMCAP Scholar, Erskine and CRH Scholar. He holds both teaching and research excellence awards from Dublin City University and University of Limerick. He has worked in Asia, Australia, China, Europe, UAE and USA on in company, executive and MBA programmes.

His research focuses on CEO leadership, high performance teams and organizational change and his research programme has attracted some E2m in research funding. Author of over 100 research publications including articles in journals such as the Strategic Management Journal, Journal of Management, Journal of Business Ethics, Human Relations and Human Resource Management. Co-Editor of the Blackwell Encyclopedia of Organizational Behaviour (2015, Blackwell), his 12 books include Outsider Leadership (2019, Palgrave Macmillan), Change Lessons from the CEO (2013, Jossey Bass); Persuasive leadership: Lessons from the Arts (2010, Jossey Bass), Managing Strategy Implementation (2000, Blackwell) and Effective Top Teams (Blackhall, 2000).

Contacting Patrick Flood

You can connect with Patrick on LinkedIn.

By Patrick Flood

In this presentation I introduce some leadership lessons for practice from our book, Change Lessons from the CEO (Coetsee and Flood, 2013). These are demonstrated using video clips of some well-known leaders. The importance of vision, participation and involvement are shown in several diverse industries. Take aways for practice are given and we hope to generate a conversation about leadership during challenging times.

In some ways these are the best of times and the worst of times for leadership. It is a more difficult time for leaders because the challenges of today are truly enormous. The term, ‘VUCA’ world is now common place reflecting the Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous world we live in. These changes included not only significant changes in our world-wide economic, technological, and political systems but in our social attitudes, relationships, and expectations as well. Knowledge rather than physical effort is increasingly important in today’s world. Obedience to authority can no longer be assumed. In fact, there is documentation of world-wide changes in reactions to authority by people everywhere. Nevertheless, in spite of all of these changes we do know a great deal more about managing some of the problems arising from such changes than we did before, which is not to say that we still face much uncertainty in this new world in which we all must live. Present research in human neurobiology illustrates that emotions and logic are in fact inseparable components within the information-processing system.

The need for persuasion during the change process is evident from our many interviews with CEOs and strategic leaders which can be found on our books: Change Lessons from the CEO (Coetsee and Flood :2013); Leadership in Ireland (Mc Dermott and Flood: 2010); Persuasive Leadership: Lessons from the Arts (Carroll and Flood, 2012) and Outsider Leadership (Kelliher, O’ Riordan, Flood and Higgs, 2019). During the process of organizational change, emotional sections of the brain tend to be active even while rational processes are functioning. Logic, science, and systematic analysis are still needed—however, emotions are a central facet of effective leadership in organizations today. Thus, leaders must emphasize both the rational and the emotional in their relationships with others. In our interviews with CEOS this finding emerged time and time again. Traditionally, leadership literature focuses primarily on the use of power and authority in leader–follower relationships. However, leadership relationships are often exposed to uncertainties in the environment in which the leadership relationship is embedded. Changing cultural and social norms have led to a variety of different leadership approaches are necessary to achieve effective leadership outcomes. In this presentation we argue that a progression towards adopting a persuasive approach rather than relying on the traditional authoritarian effort is necessary if we are to be successful in any leadership effort. These changes require adaptation of our leadership practices as well as addressing deeper changes needed to function more effectively, more so than we have done in the past.


Carroll, S.J. (2012) Persuasive Leadership: Lessons from the Arts, Jossey Bass: San Francisco
Coetsee, J. and Flood, P. (2013) Change Lessons from the CEO, Wiley: London
Kelliher, F, O Riordan, C., Flood, P. and Higgs, M. (2019) Outsider Leadership, Palgrave Macmillan: London
Mc Dermott, A. and Flood, P. (2010) Leadership in Ireland, Blackhall Publishing: Dublin

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