Show your true colour to master the art of leading change

Ahead of the Henley MBA Preview Day on 21 October, Dr Stephen Simister talks about the way in which the Colour Paradigm model is helping senior leaders to be more effective in leading change.

As the lead tutor on the Leadership and Change module on Henley’s MBA programme, I’ve noticed that never has the need for effective leadership been so acute, nor has the organisational environment ever been quite so changeable.

One of the most impactful elements of the Henley MBA programme addresses individual leadership styles, utilising a model first developed by Dutch psychologists and academics, Léon de Caluwé and Hans Vermaak.

The process identifies five distinct belief and behaviour systems each one based on a family of theories about change, and each being identified with a colour.  By understanding which colour dominates your own leadership style, and being able to identify and recognise the colour inclinations of those you wish to influence – such as team members or business partners – you are better placed to communicate and engage effectively about change.

At the Preview Day, I will be demonstrating this as part of a two-hour taster session, ahead of which, participants will complete an assessment to identify their own colour.  On the day, we go through a series of videos and discussions to highlight the key characteristics of each colour and demonstrate how it has helped leaders to manage change.

It’s a simple but very effective way of improving cohesion within a team, and when our MBA students carry out real-life assignments, they often uncover reasons why techniques they previously used may have hit stumbling blocks and how this colour analysis could have helped them to achieve better outcomes.  In addition, whilst the model is about leading change it transfers very easily across to general leadership allowing for a richer conceptualisation of your own leadership capabilities.


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