Effective managers and leaders comprise people who lead their employees successfully through change initiatives. In essence, change directly affects all employees and so a manager needs to gain enthusiastic support of their employees to institute successful change processes. In this assignment, I intend to discuss how a manager can prepare for change and ways that he or she can enhance employees’ readiness for imminent change.
Q1: 1. Discuss the importance of preparing the organization for change. Use references and actual anecdotes where possible.
It is significant to prepare an organization in the wake of imminent change. I believe that preparing an organization for change is significant because it helps identify essential information and employee competencies. Per Neal (2008), it is paramount to company managers to analyze information and create awareness of the general mission and intention of change. It essence, preparing for change help managers to make other employees comprehend why the change is necessary. Prior planning and preparation help the change agents to identify present staff, resources and the time frame required to completely implement the upcoming change. Holten & Brenner (2015) declare that prior preparation for change is important to decentralize the planning and implementation processes by identifying and delegating certain tasks to key personnel and team members. In the consequence, a company can only navigate the murky change process if it is well-prepared.
Moreover, preparing an organization for change is critical to anticipate obstacles and risk associated with a proposed change. The anticipation would help develop strategic initiatives on how a manager can deliver a successful change in organizational culture (Neal, 2008). I believe that preparing an organization for change may help prevent previous mistakes. I worked in a logistics company that attempted to introduce new methods of managing the overall supply chain. Prior preparation before the introduction of automated processes was the core reason we succeeded. We were able to make proactive moves and even encouraged our staff to own the change process. The actual execution of the change was seamless because we adequately prepared for it.
Q 2: Describe managerial/leadership roles, skills, and strategies facilitating positive change outcomes in relation to assisting the organization to prepare for change.
Ideally, leaders and managers fulfill fundamental roles, possess varied skills and initiate strategies meant to facilitate positive change outcome. Leaders and managers are expected to identify actions needed to implement a change initiative by accurately analyzing existing organizational principles before the actual change process. Leaders carry out critical roles of steering people and process towards change. Per Crawford et al. (2010), leaders should possess effective communication skills to explain the purpose of change and how the unified organization should be remodeled to accommodate the proposed change. Furthermore, collaborative skills are required for successful planning and preparedness. People need to collaborate because supporting the process of change is not a one person affair. There is need for people to utilize their collaborative skills to execute change. Gareis (2010) reports that managers should focus on involving employees in the process of making decisions early on to reinforce their commitment towards the proposed change. The role of leading the process requires managers to initiate and agree on the desired change. The managers accomplish the role by evaluating the business context, the purpose of change, desired outcome, and identification of the established goal. Therefore, managers must demonstrate impeccable organizational skills to dissect business requirements and how the proposed change is likely to fit the organizational goals and objectives.
Q3: Describe five areas you would assess to prepare the organization for change.
It is paramount for managers to identify the functional and capability areas to assess. I will assess the following areas in preparing the organization for change.
- Leadership: The assessment attempts to establish the general direction of leadership, existing role models, style of leadership utilized, and the perception of employees towards their leaders. In preparing an organization for change, the assessment will seek to identify any existing communication problem that may directly affect the process of implementing change. A more thorough look at leadership functions can reveal the willingness of managers to support change by availing funding and resources for the change initiative.
- Current organizational culture: The assessment entails looking at how people utilize organizational process and tools to accomplish tasks and responsibilities. Armenakis & Harris (2009) mention that the key issue under the organizational culture is to establish whether the work methods are consistent with organizational values and if there is need for change. In addition, the assessment process would also take into account the functioning of the organizational units and how they work together to achieve set goals.
- Organizational structure: The assessment seeks to identify how people and functions are organized within the organization. For instance, the assessment will evaluate the number of supervisors and if there is need to reduce the levels for a lean structure. The assessments also attempt to examine the decision-making process, whether all employees are included or a few.
- Systems: The assessment examines the existing organizational policies and procedures including performance appraisal methods, reward systems, information management, and human resource practices. Armenakis & Harris (2009) exemplify that an assessment may reveal rigidity of systems that may ultimately affect the execution of proposed change. Resistance to change is common in organization with rigid system.
- External environment: The external environment always impacts on the operations of a company. For example, activities of competitors often define the nature of change and transformation that an organization desires to gain a competitive advantage. Therefore, change agents are expected to examine the key external drivers prompting a change and the likelihood of addressing these key factors to positively impact on an organization’s performance.
Q4: Describe the methods of assessment you would use to assess each of the five areas you have identified in the previous question.
Some diverse methods can be utilized to gain insights, impression, and experiences of the functional areas identified. I intend to use the following methods to conduct assessment. First, case studies are used to conduct a comprehensive review of previous change, experiences and impression of the employees. It is significant to gain information why previous change initiatives failed or succeeded. Case study is a dominant method of portraying imminent change and its proposals aimed at improving the internal organizational processes. Second, questionnaires remain the most inexpensive method of conducting assessment. Information about style of leadership can be acquired from the employees because it assures anonymity. The employee may fear providing information about the inefficiencies of their managers and leaders. For this reason, this method collects information without revealing the identity of the respondents.
Third, interviews have been utilized by many organizations to identify areas that need to be transformed to enhance efficiency and promote productivity. Jamshed (2014) posits interviews are utilized to precisely understand some of the external influences, experiences and impression. Interview method is flexible and develops the relationship with respondents who are free to provide truthful information to define change. Fourth, observation is to be used to gather information about the functioning of organization systems such as policies, procedures, work methods, communication channels, and decision-making processes. Information collected about the working of the system can help change agents to incorporate new methods in the proposed change. Lastly, document reviews is a method used to understand how organizational processes work. Ioannidis et al. (2015) acknowledge that document review envisage critical evaluation of internal memos and minutes to track and examine internal organization processes. It is an essential tool that provides comprehensive historical account of events within an enterprise.
Q 5: Describe how you would use the information you collected from your assessment methods to determine if your organization is ready for change.
The information collected from the assessment process is used to identify organizational inefficiencies and needs currently unmet by the existing organizational processes, policies and procedures. In essence, the information is utilized to highlight on the need for change and persuade the employees and other organizational stakeholders to embrace change. The data help the managers and workers to anticipate what the proposed change can bring to the organization. The data collected are useful in planning for the proactive structural changes to enhance an organization’s productivity and efficiency. Al-Haddad & Kotnour (2015) exposes that data collected from cases studies and document analysis are used to prevent previous mistakes that led to the failure of a change intuitive in the past. I would use the data to encourage all stakeholders to be part of an organization’s change process.
I intend to use Force Field Analysis to identify the internal and external forces likely to impact on the proposed change. For example, a healthcare facility attempting to transform its record management from the manual processes to electronic will first use the Force Field Analysis tool to identify internal forces likely to impact the change. In this example, the internal forces include outdated computers, reduced staff morale, and the need to improve patient data capture. The external forces include the complex healthcare sector, disruptive technologies, and changing patient needs. Using the Force Field Analysis, I will strengthen staff morale and purchase new computers to support the enforcement of the electronic data management.
Q 6: Describe two strategies that would facilitate organization readiness for change.
- Provide effective training: Facilitate an organization’s readiness for change. It is important to provide employee training to pass on new skills and competencies necessary for the change. Beech & Macintosh (2012) recommend training workers to highlight how they will operate efficiently when the change is officially rolled out. Mixed training methods comprising face-to-face training, job coaching and mentoring can be used to pass on new knowledge.
- Implement change support structures: It is important to prepare employees and other stakeholders for the change by establishing structures to support them physically and emotionally. Per Al-Ali et al. (2017), employees need to be fully prepared for promotions, deployment and layoffs when a new organizational culture is implemented. They need to be helped on coping up with both positive and negative consequences of proposed change.
This assignment has made me understand that managers and leaders play essential roles in preparing an organization for change. The crucial skills and competencies of managers include communication, collaborative, and organizational skills. Notably, I have also discovered that appropriate change is defined by information collected during assessments. Results of organizational assessment indicate organizational needs and inefficiencies in management philosophy. Nonetheless, organizational change is a noble initiative for companies that must first prepare their employees to accept new work methods, policies, and procedures.
Al-Ali, A., Singh, S., Al-Nahyan, M. & Sohal, A. (2017). Change management through leadership: The mediating role of organizational culture. International Journal of Organizational Analysis, 25(4), 723-739.
Al-Haddad, S. & Kotnour, T. (2015). Integrating the organizational change literature: a model for successful change. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 28(2), 234-262.
Armenakis, A. & Harris, S. (2009). Reflections: our Journey in organizational change research and practice. Journal of Change Management, 9, 127–142.
Beech, N. & Macintosh, R. (2012). Managing change: Enquiry and action. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Crawford, L., Nahmias, A. & Hassner, A. (2010). Competencies for managing change. International Journal of Project Management, 28, 405–412.
Gareis, R. (2010). Changes of organizations by projects. International Journal of Project Management, 28, 314–327.
Holten, A. & Brenner, S. (2015). Leadership style and the process of organizational change. Leadership and Organization Development Journal, 36(1), 2-16.
Ioannidis, J., Fanelli, D., Dunne, D. & Goodman, S. (2015). Meta-research: Evaluation and improvement of research methods and practices. PLoS Biology, 13(10), e1002264.
Jamshed, S. (2014). Qualitative research method-interviewing and observation. Journal of Basic and Clinical Pharmacy. 5(4), 87–88.
Neal, A. (2008). Preparing the organization for change. Strategic HR Review, 7(6), 30-35.