BPM Success: The difference between Leadership and Influence ?

Recently read an interesting blog post by Mike Gammage of Nimbus talking about Leadership and how it’s crucial to BPM adoption and success.

‘Best Practice Process Leadership? Here’s How…’


Here’s a thought: What’s the difference between Leadership and Influence ?

Can the two be separate factors in contributing to BPM adoption and success ? Can you be a leader in your organisation but exercise little influence, and vice-versa can you be an influencer but command no leadership ?

There’s a difference in my mind and the two need to work together.

Given the collaborative and connected enterprise which is starting to emerge from the dark thanks to the social network integration with BPM(S) tools I think we need to look to those with the largest ‘Sphere of Influence’ as well as the traditional (and old) hierarchical leadership model for BPM success.

Agree ?
Disagree ?
Let me know….


2 responses to “BPM Success: The difference between Leadership and Influence ?

  1. Theo -I think you can be in a position where people expect leadership (manager of a team, for example) without actually exercising leadership. I think leadership and influence go hand-in-hand. Management and leadership, or management and influence, do not necessarily occur together. But it is hard for me to think of too many effective leaders who don’t exert influence outside of their core circle of control. Leadership and the ability to influence others (inspire, educate, convince, persuade) are essential for producing successful BPM projects. (And, successful projects of any scale within enterprises – just more obvious with BPM because of the cross- departmental nature of so many of the projects).

  2. The comment on the article’s page, which you refer to, may answer your question.

    — An interesting explanation of Leadership in this video : “Leadership Lessons from Dancing Guy” http://sivers.org/ff

    It is well established that Leadership is required to support a transformational change.
    It is also recognised that anyone can lead (not necessarily from a leadership position).

    These 2 elements are very valuable in (BPM) adoption and success, and are also an integral part of Change Management.
    How could BPR initiatives be consistently successful without effective Change Management?

    Back to your question, Influence seems to involve championing and ‘socially’ leading the change. Executive leadership alone would not provide enough support. Champions are needed to promote the change, to be enthusiastic about it. Champions are individuals, who can influence their peers, in part by following the leader (just like the first follower in the dancing video).

    From a Change Management perspective, I view Leadership and Influence as 2 separate contributing factors:
    > Leadership offers vision and direction, and sets the ‘scene’ for the change.
    > Influence occurs all along the change effort, from the first awareness of the change through to positively reinforcing adopters and compliance.

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