"Change is so pervasive in our lives that it almost defeats description and analysis" -- (Mortensen, 2008)
Change at any level, individual or collective (communal/familial, societal, or organizational), is a complex and challenging process that requires time, energy, commitment, and often some level of distinct intention and sacrifice, on both the front and back ends of the process. Change describes both the action(s) and the result(s) of any type of alteration, modification, transformation, or exchange of one behavior/idea for another from smaller-scale individual changes to large-scale organizational (or social systems) changes.
At any level, the process of change needs to be managed to some degree. Generally, individuals can manage their own processes of change and in many individual cases, change may happen more spontaneously. Change that occurs in systems, like organizational change, requires a more strategic (or structured) approach to move through the transformation/modification process both efficiently and effectively and ultimately achieve the desired result.
It is this approach that leadership is necessary to keep the process on track and moving forward no matter how slowly or quickly. The speed of the process may change at different times, and it may appear to move backwards, which is fine, as long as everyone stays engaged and work is done to get back on track.
Underestimating the significance and challenging nature of change for any individual or organization is generally a mistake. Change is about implementing new ideas, processes, and/or behaviors. Change can happen without preparation in the lives of individuals and some collectives (i.e. families, communities) as part of a larger developmental/evolutionary reality but healthy (positive) change at the organizational level rarely happens without intention, preparation, and management.
A variety of theories and models exist for creating change management strategies, each with its own set of strengths and weaknesses. The following change management plan has been created specifically for RI, as a result of the preparation process undertaken over the last several months. The three lead facilitators of this charistmatic transformation plan for RI, as nominated and confirmed by the team, are Jaelyn, Kent, and Carson. In Section II, a brief summary will be presented, followed by a survey of the current landscape of the RI organization in Section III. Section IV contains an explanation for the choice of a charistmatic transformation and a description of this specific model of change, followed by a clarification of the specific goals for RI in Section V. Section VI clarifies the roles of individuals and the team in the implementation process, followed by a discussion of anticipated challenges and expectations in Section VII. Section VIII presents the timeline for implementation and evaluation followed by a discussion of evaluation strategies in Section IX.
II. Summary of preparation
"Change is challenging because people generally misinterpret the value and safety of the status quo and often find it too difficult to accurately project/assess the value of what they stand to gain with any such transformation." -- (Melissa Anderson-Hinn, 2011)
In the beginning of our consulting process, we talked about the way things (generally) change and the specific goals for transformation for RI. As a small organization, your early conceptions were as follows: (1) That change would be easy to plan; and (2) That change would happen instantly once the goals were established. In the early weeks of our preparation; however, you realized that commitment to the process was equally as important as commitment to the goals. Further, you also realized that within smaller organizations, there is a greater need for everyone to take ownership of the new direction; thus, it was important to build a much higher level of trust for each other and for engaging the process together than in larger organizations where leadership is far more hierarchical and decisions are may occur much differently.
From the beginning, as Founder and CEO of your organization, you made it clear that you did not want to hand down decisions or micro-manage your personnel. First, we built the process around your own personal leadership and management goals. Second, we engaged a team process of trust building, goal setting, and outcome predictions. Third, we talked about processes of integrating the new ideas for direction and purpose with each person's role in the organization and with the organization as a whole. Fourth, we created and signed contracts as a sign of commitment to one another. Finally, we are ready to launch into the transformation process with this change management plan created as your reference.
The decision to pursue an entirely new direction is one that evolved from structured processes of discernment and planning among all stakeholders in the RI organization, which includes Mike, Founder and CEO, as well as all 12 employees, and all 7 members of the Board of Directors. The seeds of this process were planted more than a year ago (per your assessment) with pursuance of an outside consultant to provide substantial leadership shortly after those seed were planted.
In our first meeting together, we discussed the purpose of consulting as well as your earliest thoughts on the type of transformation you hoped could come to pass for RI as an organization. You told me the story of the organization and your desire to move into more of a team leadership structure with less micromanagement and more ownership for your team. Moreover, you expressed your desire to see the entire focus, purpose, and direction of the RI organization change at the same time. We discussed the nature of such charismatic transformation and the significance of such a process as well as the resources required to make it both actionable and sustainable. We discussed this model of change as a radical type of change. Even with a small organization, organizational change requires an intentional, strategic, and highly energized management process.
At the end of our first meeting, we agreed to pursue this process. We established a timeline as represented in Section IX that began with 6 months of leadership and management development that involved working with you, as Founder and CEO, as well as the Board of Directors, followed by almost 6 months of team development and planning for change.
Any change process first requires a foundational understanding of your story, where you have been and where you are right now.
III. Current organizational condition of RI
"We are chameleons, and our partialities and prejudices change place with an easy and blesses facility, and we are soon wonted to the change and happy in it." -- Mark Twain
RI is a small organization with 1 Founder/CEO, 12 employees, and 7 Board members. It is a faith-based nonprofit organization based in an urban location in the United States. RI was incorporated nearly 12 years ago as an organization with a community focus. In its present condition, RI is the largest it has ever been with 20 stakeholders in the organization and a community of about 50 participants and a larger-community of about 150 supporters plus a newly forming community layer of readers (of Mike's new book).
For the last 12 years, Mike, as Founder and CEO of RI has been heavily involved in the ongoing direction and management of the organization. For some time, Mike (along with his wife) was the only "employee" of RI. Slowly it evolved to incorporate more staff leaders and eventually into the structure that exists today. Over time, the nature of the organization has been one of constant incremental change. In fact, upon founding the organization, Mike intended for this to be the case.
Existing literature suggests that incremental change is often integrated in the startup phase or when an organization is in its most mature and stable condition. Mike always wanted to remain open to the evolutionary processes and the consistent ebb-and-flow of new ideas and creativity. Incremental change; however, still requires some consistency of leadership and management development, or more accurately, a willingness and ability to evolve at the same pace in leadership and management. In the last 4-6 years, RI has attracted a different type of leader and participant than Mike ever intended or than he was prepared to manage.
For a while, the founding principles of Mike's organization were somewhat unique but over the last decade these same principles have become more mainstream in faith-based culture and have been advanced far passed RI. Thus, for a while Mike attracted young "intern types" who helped him implement his agenda, which still evolved incrementally, but the larger cultural and global contexts changed radically, and continue to do so (it seems). More recently, Mike started attracting emerging leaders with their own unique and innovative ideas and potential and a willingness/ability to pursue their own funding as well as manage part-time jobs to supplement this fundraising (as everyone, including Mike, at RI is self-funded through fundraising).
Mike consistently met with his Board of Directors, which evolved from 3 members in the first 7 years to 5 members in the 10th year…