What is Change Leadership? - Sherie Hickman

Talking Trends
3 min readJan 15, 2023
Image from Unsplash by Suzanne D. Williams

“Change management is a common term among business leaders. A successful change management process requires efficient, effective execution and disrupting leadership methods.”

With my leadership experience in the healthcare industry, I have been challenged by all aspects of the healthcare continuum and can see organizations from a holistic perspective. Being a result-driven individual, I have firsthand often seen teams and organizations make tough decisions. That being said, I recently read an article on Harvard Business School, What is Change Leadership? by Kelli Anderson. The article echoed my beliefs about what needed to be done to achieve maximum efficiency and productivity.

“Change leadership helps organizations during transitional periods by using the power of vision — translating a mission from paper to daily business operations.”

Change is never an easy transition. There could be different leadership methods but what is most important is how it is being implemented. Oftentimes, leaders miss the opportunities to play their cards right during the transition and because of this, the team comes to a bottleneck position. Members are confused, misguided, and lost in what they are responsible for. Depending on the situation, leaders must know where they stand as change leaders.

The article lists three roles that leaders can choose to be in organizational change;

1. Agitator

“Serves as a disrupter, acknowledging challenges and committing to action toward change that leads to solutions.”

Leaders are often faced with challenges including complaints and grievances which can prevent work from being done but it is the agitator’s responsibility to focus on the bigger picture while being aware of the issues.

2. Innovator

“Creates actionable solutions to address them. This role also serves as a planner.”

While agitators are aware of problems, innovators, however, make sure something is done about it. It is their responsibility to make sure the solution they come up with is the most efficient and effective way.

3. Orchestrator

“Takes the innovator’s plan and coordinates actions across groups, organizations, and sectors to scale the proposed solution.”

The orchestrators are the leaders that make sure change is being implemented. The implementation progress usually requires an in-depth understanding of timelines, milestones, task ownership, and setbacks. They often experience snags with change initiatives but keeping the power of vision alive can ensure an orchestrator stays on track.

“Real, successful change is the result of collective action.”

Although these may seem like three different roles, they actually align together to make a functioning team. A successful leader needs to be able to play three of these creatively. Today’s business leaders must have a clear understanding of the various roles they have to take on to ensure a successful, productive, efficient, and sustainable team. Companies also need the right leader to ensure change happens and keep up with the ever-changing market.

Connect with Sherie on LinkedIn.


Sherie Hickman is a positive change agent, strategic thinker, and devoted community leader. Throughout her 25-year career as a health care industry executive, she has taken a structured approach to dealing with challenges and disruption — and designing and executing concrete action steps for enduring improvements.



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