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The Harvard Business Review (HBR) has recently published an article that really resonated with what we at OrgMapper believe in, as it focused on how “leadership development and change management tend to be top priorities for many organizations.” But then again, we all know that over two thirds of all change initiatives fail (approx. 70%). It’s somewhat of a Catch-22 situation, because even though more and more organizations are putting greater emphasis on change management, they are still falling short.

According to the HBR, these failures spring from the fact leadership development and change management are often treated separately, rather than as interrelated challenges. Approaching them as one and the same could potentially bring better results, because “true leadership involves deviating from cultural expectations in ways that inspire others to choose to follow… and leadership is not the sole responsibility of the C-suite”. We could not agree more with this statement, because leaders (or as we like to call them: influencers) can be found at any level of an organization.


The HBR recommends a combination of both the top-down and bottom-up approaches, as the former ensures that executives clarify the desired results, while the latter enables potential leaders (influencers) throughout the organization to engage in a process of learning how to enact a desired change. “Once the goal is clear and accepted, executives can identify potential leaders throughout the organization to engage in the leadership development/change management process.”

But how will you recognize your potential leaders? Because they are not always the busiest and loudest employees.

We recommend network-based organizational diagnostics to map out peer-to-peer interactions and identify who your employees think have the most influence over the workforce. Peer-nominated influencers are the most central, motivated and organic cultural assets your organization can possess.



“Selected leaders should be given structure, accountability, support, and motivation as they engage this process” and as a result, you will be able to:

  • speed up the process of aligning the entire workforce to the new strategies
  • gain employee trust and appreciation through effective and open communication
  • use the power of personal networks to design and implement real change

Identifying your influencers is only half the task though. Managers must have a plan to involve them in the creation or execution of the new strategies from the beginning. So keeping leadership development and change management under the same roof can definitely be a winning strategy, but managers will have to make sure that they identify the right influencers to work with.

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Are you interested in influencer identification and network-based organizational diagnostics? Get in touch with us at so we can show you more.