The novel, The Change Artist, explores among other things the challenges of being an innovative leader that has integrity.
People attracted to leading change are often revolutionary types who have an axe to grind, who regularly break down old ways of being to create something new, who are brilliant at envisioning new ideas and have a charismatic way of expressing their ideas. Tied to integrity, accountability and sustainability, these kinds of people have brought forth important change throughout history. If that vision lacks integrity and sustainability, and there is no accountability in place, then invariably that change will be unsuccessful at best, or severely destructive at worst, as in the case of Enron or the Nazi regime.
Change Artist leaders such as Gandhi or Steve Jobs of Apple tend to have a softer but more sustainable approach. The difference could be likened to the tortoise versus the hare.
Revolutionary leaders tend to take a radical stance on change, demolishing the old status quo without buy in from stakeholders. Change Artist leaders tend to marry tradition with innovation to find the best of both worlds, including others in the decision-making.
Revolutionaries often act in covert ways to bring down the old status quo, whereas Change Artists keep lines of communication open so that the process is transparent to those who will be affected by the change.
Revolutionaries tend to get alienated or marginalized from the channels of power that could ultimately support them. Change Artists work to win people over to their ideas through including diverse points of view.
Revolutionaries tend to focus on concepts and visions to the exclusion of practicalities. Change Artists tend to ground their visionary concepts in case studies and practical terms appropriate for the context.
Revolutionaries are often driven by a desire to be recognized as the architect of a new vision. Change Artists are driven by the desire to let the vision grow organically in a way that bests serves all those concerned.
Revolutionaries want to see the change happen in a fast and exciting way. Change Artists want to see the change happen in a way that keeps stakeholders engaged and on board.
Revolutionaries are known to disrespect and diminish those who still value the existing status quo and will actually sabotage what they value. Change Artists explore diverse points of view to find the overlap of values between all those concerned. They also stick around to see the idea implemented, using persistence through the debugging phase.
In short, Change Artists bring forth the kind of change that has integrity and sustainability. Often you will find that a Change Artist is someone who has tried the Revolutionary approach and learned from it. They then used that experience to ground them into leading a change that is sustainable.