¶ … Managing Change
Models, processes, and techniques of implementing change
Most businesses understand and know that there is a need for change, but few actually know where to start when it comes the implementing change. Change is vital to ensure that a business manages to keep up with the changes taking place in the business world. The businesses that manage change well will thrive, while those that fail struggle to survive. The success of any change within a business is determined by how well people understand the change process. There are three main models that businesses across the world prefer when implementing change. The models are Lewin's change management model, McKinsey 7-S model, and Kotter's 8-step change model.
Kurt Lewin developed Lewin's change management model in the 1950s. Lewin noted that many people prefer to operate within certain safety zones. In order to implement change, he proposed three stages to change. The stages were unfreeze, transition (change), and refreeze. The majority of people do not prefer change, and they will actively resist change (Hayes, 2014). To reduce resistance to change Lewin proposed that people should be given a thawing period by using motivation. This way they would embrace change and become change champions. The second stage was transition, where once the change has begun the business would implement the requisite changes. This stage may last some time to ensure that all employees are on board and have fully adapted to the changes. In order for the process to succeed, there is a need for adequate reassurance and leadership. The final stage is refreeze. During this stage, the business has successfully implemented the change and the operations have been stabilized. The employees now continue operating under the new guidelines or changes.
McKinsey's 7-S model offers a more holistic approach to business. Robert Waterman, Anthony Athos, Richard Pascale, and Tom Peters created the model in 1978. The model has seven factors that all operate as collective agents of change. The factors are shared values, strategy, structure, systems, style, staff, and skills (Cummings & Worley, 2014). By making use of the seven factors, it becomes easy to diagnose and understand the business. Guidance is also offered on how best the business should implement the change. Since all parts of the model are integral to the success of the change, it is vital that each part be addressed in a unified manner. The model can combine emotional and rational components, which is beneficial to the business during the change process. Some of the disadvantages of the models are that if one part changes all other parts change. The change occurs because all the seven factors are interrelated. The 7-S model is not an easy model to use, and businesses that use this model have a higher incidence of failure.
Harvard professor John Kotter created Kotter's 8-step change model. The model cause change within a business to become a campaign. The employees have to buy into the change after the business leaders convince them of the need for change. The model has eight steps namely create urgency, form a powerful coalition, create a vision for change, communicate the vision, remove obstacles, create short-term wins, stay persistent, and make the change permanent. The process proposed by this model is an easy systematic model that makes it easy to implement the change within the business. Kotter's model mainly focuses on preparing and acceptance of the change, not the actual change (Baldwin, Bommer, & Rubin, 2012). This way the employees can understand and buy into the change before it actually begins, which ensures they will embrace the change. Since the model is easy, there are chances that some steps might be skipped in favor of others, which might lead to change failure. The amount of time taken to convince and get the employees to accept the changes might take longer than expected, which might defeat the reason for the business change.
Peter Browning and Continental White Cap case
a) What was Browning's predicament at White Cap?
Peter Browning had managed to overhaul the failing Bondware Division of Continental Group, which gave him an excellent reputation as a leader and manager. In a period of five years, he had managed to execute radical changes to transform the Bondware Division business model and made it profitable again. It was because of this excellent performance that he was appointed to lead White Cap, which was one of the nine...
White Cao was a traditional and successful division that had a unique organizational culture and leadership style. White Cap had started to lose it market position and Mr. Browning was appointed to help the division regain its market leadership position. When he arrived at White Cap, Mr. Browning soon discovered that he would have to deal with a paternalistic management approach and a passive business model that had been in place since the origin of the company. Furthermore, the division did not have competitors for decades until recently when plastic containers had started becoming hot commodities. Also, the senior managers of White Cap were unwilling to accept the need for change in the business model after the businesses decades of success. The business had never had to react to the market forces or to consumer trends because it had dominated both areas for decades. When he was appointed VP and Operating Officer, Peter Browning discovered that there were five competitors to White Cap in the domestic market. The research and development department of the business was continuously enhancing products that did not satisfy consumer needs anymore. This resulted in the business lagging behind in the ongoing containers technology. Browning had to revitalize the business by implementing changes that would enhance the business without causing any disruptions within the organization.
b) What should his change objectives and time frame be?
Continental Group recognized that the White Cap division required a person with a fresh perspective and Browning fitted the role perfectly. He had demonstrated his effectiveness in pushing for radical changes and applying new strategies with an extraordinary leadership style. Browning's main challenge this time would be revitalizing a business that has a successful history and a proud organizational culture. The first objective would be changing the business strategy and organizational culture. An assessment should also be carried out to determine the impact these changes would have on the business environment. The assessment would be performed using a customized survey that targets the concerns of the employees. In a period of 4-5 weeks, the survey should be completed. The survey would disclose factors and individuals that have the potential to affect the change strategies of the business. Communicating the current state of the business would be the second objective. Communication would ensure that the employees are aware of the competition currently taking place. Having become a national leader in the food industry, the company was no longer innovating to keep with the changing demands of the market, which gave room for competitors to thrive. Training should be offered to the employees that would allow them gain requisite technical knowledge and expose them to the latest technologies, which would enable them transition to the new way of operating. Training could be completed within a year after the assessments are completed. The training should also emphasize Continental Group culture. The amount of time required to change the organizational culture will vary based on the level of support that Browning would receive internally.
c) What should he do specifically in dealing with White and Lawson; Stark, and Green?
White heavily influenced the business since he was the original owner, and he had cultivated the current organizational culture. To cement the organizational culture, Art Lawson was appointed Vice President and Executive Officer, which assured the employees that the culture would continue. The two value employee loyalty more than anything else in the business. Therefore, Browning should take a pro-active approach to building trust with Lawson. Browning should listen to the proposals presented by Lawson and share the concerns of corporate in regards to the division current market status. Using this approach there would be an open model of communication and both of them could handle any friction easily. Having a cordial relationship with Lawson would ease the change process, and future proposals could move forward easily. It would be better to have Lawson deal with Mr. White to mediate for Browning and assure him that the changes taking place are beneficial for the business.
Jim Stark was the director of marketing, and he was effective in implementing the marketing strategies of the division. Stark was a people person, and he had a good rapport with the customers. Browning could leverage upon this in the future, and it would be best to keep Stark around. Since he was not able to motivate and lead the marketing employees, it would be better to perform an evaluation and determine the department that would require his skills the most. Stark needs a position that encourages him…
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