10 Change Management Influencers for 2019

Change management influencers, thought leaders, and authorities wield real influence in the industry.

Below, we’ve collected 10 of the real change management influencers in 2019.

You’ll find:

  • Change management consultants
  • Executives
  • Business leaders

And more.

To make it easy for you to access their work, each profile below has links to:

  • Websites
  • Social media profiles, where relevant
  • Books and publications

Let’s get started.

10 Top Change Management Influencers for 2019

In no particular order…

1. Michael Fullan

Michael Fullan is an educational consultant, speaker, and author.

He is a prolific speaker and writer who focuses on change in education.

Milestones in Life

Fullan is a Canadian educational researcher who specializes in educational reform.

  • In 1969, he earned a doctorate in sociology from the University of Toronto
  • In 1988 he became the dean of Toronto’s Faculty of Education
  • From 2003 to 2014, Fullan served as Special Policy Advisor in Education to the Premier of Ontario
  • Since 1963, he has published over two dozen books on change, leadership, education, educational reform, and other topics

Fullan has also received multiple honorary doctorates from universities around the world.

Influence

His books on change and change management include:

  • Change Leader: Learning to Do What Matters Most
  • The Six Secrets of Change: What the Best Leaders Do to Help Their Organizations Survive and Thrive
  • Change Wars
  • Leading in a Culture of Change

To name a few.

Fullan’s reach has spread far and wide.

In addition to his accolades and professional accomplishments:

  • His top blog posts have earned over 15,000 views a piece
  • His Twitter account has nearly 50,000 followers
  • He has written many, many articles for publications in Canada and around the world

Notable quotes include:

“Your best source of learning is day-to-day practice because it is only experience that can engage and reshape the brain.”

“The effective change leader actively participates as a learner in helping the organization improve.”

“Change really isn’t as hard as we thought if we capture people’s interest and give them enjoyable, worthwhile experiences.”

 

More information can be found on his website.

2. John Kotter

Everyone familiar with change management knows the name John Kotter.

Kotter’s work has helped shape the discipline of change management.

Milestones in Life

John Kotter’s career began decades ago:

  • In 1968, he graduated MIT with a BS in engineering
  • In 1970, he obtained his MS in Management
  • In 1981, he became a tenured professor at Harvard
  • In 2008, he founded Kotter International, a consultancy that applies his research to large-scale change, leadership, and more

Of course, most people know Kotter for his published works and thought leadership.

Influence

Over the course of his career, Kotter’s accomplishments have made him famous:

  • Leading Change, a seminal work in change management, was published in 1996
  • In total, he has written 20 books and contributed to many other published articles and works
  • He has nearly 14,000 followers on LinkedIn
  • His Twitter account has over 6,000 followers

These examples hardly do justice to John Kotter, whose works are often compulsory reading in change management courses around the world.

Notable quotes include:

“A great change leader creates other change leaders.”

“Leaders establish the vision for the future and set the strategy for getting there.”

“Transformation is a process, not an event.”

3. Dean Anderson & 4. Linda Ackerman Anderson

  

Dean Anderson and Linda Ackerman Anderson run Being First. Their consultancy specializes in organizational transformation for Fortune 1000 companies, the government, and non-profits, among others.

Milestones in Life

Dean Anderson’s career began decades ago:

  • In his early years, he earned recognition as a champion swimmer, breaking two world records
  • He earned his BA and MA from Stanford
  • In 1980, he founded the Optimal Training Institute
  • In 1988, he merged this company with Linda S. Ackerman, Inc., to form Being First

Linda Ackerman’s list of accomplishments is just as impressive:

  • She earned her BA from Boston University and her MA from Columbia University Teacher’s College
  • In the 1970s, she began her career as a management and marketing consultant
  • In 1981, she founded Linda S. Ackerman, Inc.
  • She was a pioneer and founder in the field of organizational transformation

Together, they have had a deep impact on the field of change management.

Influence

Their influence can be seen in a variety of areas:

  • They co-authored books, such as Beyond Change Management and The Change Leader’s Roadmap
  • Both have written many articles and blog posts, for other publications as well as their own website
  • Dean Anderson is active on LinkedIn with 1,500 followers
  • Linda Ackerman Anderson’s LinkedIn account has nearly 1,200 followers
  • Being First, Inc., has nearly 3,600 Twitter followers

More information about them can be found at the Being First website.

A few quotes that illustrate their thoughts on change management:

“Because mindset is the foundation of action and outcome, achieving breakthrough results usually requires a transformation of mindset. This transformation enables new possibilities as expanded perspectives fuel greater courage for action, creativity, and innovation. -Dean Anderson”

“It takes courage and a bold stance to establish a vision that is truly extraordinary. Most leaders don’t reach far enough because they don’t see the true capabilities of their people and organization. -Dean Anderson”

“In today’s marketplace, change is a requirement for continued success, and competent change leadership is a most coveted executive skill. -Beyond Change Management”

“Leaders need to understand what transformation requires and recognize that they need an approach to leading organizational change that will deliver their transformational outcomes. To be blunt—fast and simple fails. -Linda Ackerman Anderson”

“Our brains are hardwired to resist change. When change (especially organizational change) is mentioned or introduced, it often triggers a fear response, which is why most of us are so darn resistant to our familiar world deviating from what we know, even by the smallest degree. -Linda Ackerman Anderson”

 

5. Jack Martin Leith

Jack Martin Leith is a generative intervention specialist.

His business focuses on innovation, whole systems change, and more.

Milestones in Life

Throughout his career, Leith has accomplished many things:

  • In his early years, he worked in publishing, retail, fashion, and advertising
  • In the early 1980s, he built Leith & Price, a business development consultancy
  • Ten years later, he transformed himself into the consultant that he is today

There are several places you can find Leith’s material online.

Influence

Though active on LinkedIn, Leith’s biggest contributions come from his career history.

Over the years, he has made a number of contributions to the fields he practices in.

A few examples include:

  • Group intervention and conversational methods, papers, and resources
  • Tools and techniques for groupwork and facilitation
  • Articles and research on organizational change and generative intervention

To name a few.

Here are a few of his thoughts on change management and generative intervention:

“Generative individuals, workgroups and organizations shun the status quo and show disdain for mediocrity, seeking instead to create that which improves people’s lives and makes the world a better place.”

“Value does not rest inside a product, waiting to be delivered as if by FedEx. Value is generated through an interaction between the user and the value generator … products, services, facilities, establishments, and events.”

“Vision is an imagined scenario of realised potential; a depiction of how the world (customers, other stakeholders and wider society) will be enriched when the enterprise is deploying its value generation capability without constraint and living its purpose to the full.”

 

More information can be found on Leith’s website.

6. Jason Little

Jason Little is an agile change management expert.

He works as a coach and consultant, teaching companies how to apply Agile, Lean, and Lean Startup practices to organizational change.

Milestones in Life

Little’s professional accomplishments include:

  • Working as a web developer and designer (15+ years), managing professional service teams (17+ years), then as an Agile coach and consultant
  • Since 2002, he has been practicing Agile methods and since around 2007, he has become more heavily involved in the Agile community
  • Since 2008, he has been helping organizations manage organizational change more effectively

He currently speaks, writes, and teaches about his methods to businesses around the world.

Influence

Little is an active participant in the Agile and change management communities:

  • He wrote a book that applies lean thinking to organizational change, Lean Change Management
  • His blog posts get thousands of views a piece
  • He maintains an active speaking schedule
  • Little has almost 5,000 LinkedIn followers
  • He has more than 7,000 Twitter followers

When discussing change management, Little says:

“What you do as a change agent is the same, but how you do it if you’re applying agile/lean thinking is drastically different.”

“Change resistance and the “70% of changes fail stat” are both nonsense and useless to talk about because neither help you move forward, they anchor you.”

“Great leaders know their context, look around internally and externally, try small experiments, get feedback, inspire others to action, and deal with the s**t when it comes raining down.”

 

For more information on Jason Little, visit his website.

7. Torbin Rick

Torbin Rick is a thought leader in the change management industry, with one of the most-read blogs on the web.

He is a senior executive with a track record of implementing organizational change, business development, and turn-around.

Milestones in Life

Throughout his career, Rick has had a history of successful accomplishments:

  • In the 1980s and 1990s, he rose from the role of marketing coordinator to working as the heads of multiple departments in different companies
  • In 2001, he became the COO of Talkline, a mobile telecommunications company, in Germany
  • Since 2007, he has worked in senior management roles, advisory roles, and consulting positions
  • Since 2009, Rick has been the division director for Verdo Tele A/S, responsible for sales, marketing, IT, and other functions

Rick’s decorated career history is complemented by his powerful online influence.

Influence

Rick has written extensively about leadership, strategy, change management, and other business topics.

Online, he has a wide following:

  • His blog was named among the Top 30 Leadership Blogs for 2018 by Arielle Executive
  • The Center for Organization Management and Effectiveness recognized it as among the Top 100 most socially-shared leadership blogs
  • Blog posts on his site regularly receive thousands of shares each
  • He has over 4,400 followers on Twitter
  • His LinkedIn account has over 26,000 followers

On top of these accomplishments, Rick has written articles for a variety of business-related publications across Europe.

A few of his quotes on change management:

“Change readiness is the new change management – Change readiness is the ability to continuously initiate and respond to change in ways that create advantage, minimize risk, and sustain performance.”

“You can’t lead change if you don’t understand your employees. And the best way to do that is to start thinking like your employees.”

“When change initiatives fail, the culprit is often a lack of good communication from management. But that’s not always the whole story. Communication isn’t just about what management says – it’s also about how employees listen.”

 

For more information, visit Rick’s website.

8. Mark Murphy

Mark Murphy is the founder of LeadershipIQ, a New York Times bestseller, and Forbes contributor.

His areas of specialty include hiring, employee engagement, and leadership.

Milestones in Life

Murphy has a number of accomplishments to his name:

  • He founded LeadershipIQ in 2001
  • His research has been featured in major media outlets, such as CNBC, Fortune, and Harvard Business Review
  • He has lectured at the United Nations, Harvard Business School, Microsoft, and IBM, to name a few

His research and success have helped him build a considerable presence online.

Influence

Murphy has a large following, both online and off:

  • His books include Hard Goals, The Deadly Sins of Employee Retention, Hundred Percenters, and Hiring for Attitude
  • He is active on Facebook (LeadershipIQ has 4,000+ likes), Twitter (3,500+ followers), and LinkedIn (3,200+ followers)
  • He has written dozens of articles for Forbes and his work has been referenced in many business publications

A few of Murphy’s notable quotes include:

“The reason you deliver constructive criticism is to create positive change.”

“In tough times, there’s a natural tendency for leaders to shy away from employee interactions … But leaders need to push through this, because when people are scared, they need positive human interaction.”

“Most workplace disruptions are going to require some support to get off the ground. And that’s why we need to ensure that we’re seen as ‘positive disruptors’ and not merely disruptive.”

 

To learn more about Murphy’s work, visit his website.

9. W. Chan Kim

  1. Chan Kim is a professor and business theorist.

Milestones in Life

Kim was born in Korea, then went on to build a very successful career:

  • He studied at the Ross School of Business, at the University of Michigan, before becoming a professor
  • In 1992 he moved to France and became Professor of Strategy and Management at INSEAD
  • In 2008 he was awarded the Nobels Colloquia Prize for Leadership on Business and Economic Thinking

His ideas have become influential in a variety of business fields, including change management.

Influence

Over the course of his career, Kim has become well-known:

  • He co-authored HBR’s 10 Must Reads on Change Management, along with John Kotter and Renee Mauborgne
  • His most famous book, Blue Ocean Strategy, has received extensive praise
  • Kim’s written work has appeared in Harvard Business Review, Strategic Management Journal, Sloan Management Review, and many other publications

A few of his quotes on change include:

“In any organization, once the beliefs and energies of a critical mass of people are engaged, conversion to a new idea will spread like an epidemic.”

“Influencers act like kingpins in bowling: When you hit them just right, all the pins topple over. Getting the key influencers motivated frees an organization from having to motivate everyone, yet everyone in the end is touched and changed.”

“Even though value innovators do not set out to build advantages over the competition, they often end up achieving the greatest competitive advantages.”

 

For more information on Kim’s work, visit his faculty page at INSEAD.

10. Esther Cameron

Esther Cameron is a change consultant, facilitator, and coach.

Milestones in Life

Change management has been Cameron’s specialty for over 25 years:

  • She earned her BS from the University of St. Andrews in 1981
  • Since then, she has worked extensively as a change consultant, partnering with some of the world’s best  change consultancies
  • Recently, Cameron has spent several years as Co-Director at the change consulting agency Integral Change

For those interested in her ideas and writings, much of it can be found online.

Influence

Cameron’s influence can be found in several places:

  • Her books on change management include Making Sense of Change Management and Essential Leadership
  • Her website includes articles that focus on leadership and leadership skills
  • She has an active presence on Twitter and over 500 followers on Linkedin

A few of her insights on leadership and change management:

“Learning to lead is not a purely intellectual or cognitive pursuit, it is a whole-body experience involving the head, heart and belly. Leadership needs to be learned through practice in ‘live’, emotionally stretching situations, where outcomes really matter.”

“Conflict is experienced by almost everyone as a difficult disturbance, but it’s a necessary part of the process of being alive … The way an Executive Team deals with conflict is absolutely central to its ability to ride the waves of change and provide the creative forms of guidance and support their organisations need to succeed.”

“It takes considerable skill for a leader to remain detached enough to know, not only how, but also when, to act – especially when there is such pressure for tangible progress and focus on the bottom line.”

 

For more information, visit her website.

Chris is the Lead Author & Editor of Change Blog. Chris established the Change blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Change Management.