Inclusive Leadership - Lead

Who Makes Change Happen?

Build a group of sponsors / champions from across the business.  This is key for two reasons – influencing change in leadership is beyond the scope of any one individual, and it requires many different areas of expertise. Building a wider group of change agents for inclusive leadership helps to protect its long-term success.

Change efforts often falter because individuals overlook the need to make fundamental changes in themselves

- Change leader, change thyself’, Nate Boaz and Erica Ariel Fox.,
McKinsey & Company, March 2014

Embedding inclusive leadership behaviours takes time – this is likely to be a two to three year programme. Inevitably, in the fast moving world of business, the people involved in the programme can change in that time.  In our action research, over just 12 months, the projects were affected by job changes, promotions and redundancies. Ensuring the success of this work needs the support of the CEO or equivalent and a senior business sponsor. But what happens if that single sponsor moves on?  A sustainable change programme requires a network of change agents advocating for inclusive leadership.
Developing and embedding new leadership behaviours requires many different areas of expertise and operational influence. These span leadership and management development, communications, performance management and reward, business partners, recruitment and promotion as well as organisational development. This is not something one lone individual can achieve. Leaders also help to get the language and approach right.

Senior core business sponsor(s)

  • Line managers
  • Talent development lead
  • HR leader and business partners
  • Learning and development lead
  • Culture / organisational development lead
  • Diversity and inclusion lead
  • Employee network representatives
  • Communications lead


Case Study Spotlight

HMRC ran a change agents workshop in order to:

  • Build change agents’ understanding of the importance of inclusive leadership for HMRC
  • Identify HMRC’s current inclusive leadership strengths and challenges going forward
  • Explore how change agents can work together and embed inclusive leadership into their wider work
  • Develop an outline action plan

Continue reading the HMRC case study on building change agents