Leaders must learn to embrace change.

Leadership and Change originally posted 

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Change is nothing new and a simple fact of life. Some people actively thrive on new challenges and constant change, while others prefer the comfort of the status quo and strongly resist any change.
(Mullins 2010: 753).

 

Change has been given the highest priority globally and across all types of organizations. Studies showed evidences that significant proportion of planned change.

Efforts failed (Center for Creative Leadership, 2017). How can organizations improve the chances of success for important change in modern world?

 

Leo Tolstoy (the Russian novelist) famously wrote: “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”

This has been proven that change efforts often failed because individuals overlooked the need to make changes in them ( (McKinsey, 2017); and to advance the practice of leadership and cultural transformation, organizational change must be seen through prism of individual change (McKinsey, 2014).

The process of change within organisations usually results from interactions between four major elements (Table 1).

Table1. Key elements – lead of change (CMI, 2017):

Element of change programme Examples
1.     People Development of new skills, improved engagement, motivation, individual change  etc
2.     Processes Efficient working procedures, new standards, productivity, monitoring and evaluation etc
3.     Technologies Innovative technologies, new equipment, modernised software, creative use etc
4.     Organizational structure Optimized organisational structure, closing or opening new departments, manufacturing sites, scaling up and down), flexibility and efficiency of teams, boards and networking groups, company merges etc


Table 2. Effective change management process.

Priorities Actions
1 Assess (estimate the nature, ability, quality, limitations and benefits, scope of change and objectives etc)
2 Design of the implementation strategy
3 Time frames design
4 Set up – team of change leaders and managers
5 Establishment of project management practices
6 Effective training and skill development at all levels 
7 Clear communication of your vision to staff members
8 Engagement process, stress minimization, collaboration, wide participation and strong motivation
9 Adjust tactics and resolve conflicts
10 Maintain, monitor and evaluate performance

Leadership values, culture, beliefs and practices are core capabilities during change or crisis, along with and in interaction with new systemic, organisational and operational restructure processes (Picture below).

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Several models of change and its management were proposed.

Foundation model

“The Change Management Foundation” model   makes emphasis on managing technical aspects and people implementing change. This project management is at the base of the pyramid (process of change), and on the top is leadership setting the direction at every of determined stages.

This model is useful, when technical aspects and expertise are in the core for changes.

Deming circle (plan–do–check–adjust)

This model is used in business mainly for the control and continual change, e.g. improvement of processes/products. It allows optimization (smooth adjustments). It has advantages when new/innovative methods used – after a hypothesis is confirmed, many cycles extend the knowledge. Repeating the cycle brings process closer to perfection.

 

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I found Deming circle model most valuable and view as a tool for crisis management (see business cases).

Below I assess specific organisational case studies (Contemporary Issues) and how change/crisis was managed:

 

  1. WADA (World Anti-Doping) and RUSADA ( Russian Anti-Doping Agency)

In the wake of the Russian doping scandal, in November 2015, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) suspended RUSADA from carrying out doping control within the country.

In my opinion, in change management, firstly, it was an incredibly important step in the right direction – public admission by the Russian President Vladimir Putin, that  ‘anti-doping system has failed”.
Secondly, priority is collaborative efforts of WADA-RUSADA. WADA is providing RUSADA with a road map to re-compliance. And thirdly, that WADA’s governance as well as RUSADA’s will be more independent from both sports organisations and governments.

Independent experts were appointed for the WADA governance working group to give independent advice on how best to reform the governance of WADA. WADA activities will be limited to five areas only, related to prohibited substances listing (Antidopingworld, 2017).

I believe, a valuable conclusion as a lesson from the crisis was made that the public and stakeholders need to know that the organizations are working together against doping, while what they sow and still see now is fighting not against doping, but against each other.

With regard to change model, it Deming circle model was useful here, due to the following process: establish road map for re-compliance,  monitor changes, adjust practices, then repeat the circle again until perfect process is established.

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2. BP

Two accidents were the major blow to BP international reputation. In 2005 and 2010 explosions had a devastating effect on the environment and wildlife. It is still the largest ever accidental release of oil into marine waters.

 

Crisis management

  1. Clean-up of the Deepwater Horizon oil spills.
  2. Reassure the public that the incident was being rapidly resolved.
  3. Dismissal- Tony Hayward as company CEO was replaced by Bob Dudley.
  4. Leaders ensure that they personify the solution to the crisis, rather than its cause.
  5. Legal settlements

 

Similarly Deming circle model was a valuable tool to modify procedures and achieving safety in processes: roadmap for compliance, monitoring and adjustment until fully satisfied.

In my opinion, leaders are firstly to keep responsible for ups and downs in their organisation, and changing leadership team plays significant role in overcoming crisis, may secure future and enable focus on operations.

 

Cultural stereotypes present great resistance to changes. Globalization resistance and believe that it is “number one” threat to their customs, traditions, cultural and religious values is very strong worldwide (Belias, 2014)

Model of Culture change

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Culture include tightly connected dimensions that play important roles in change/ resistance to change  – tangible culture (such as buildings, monuments, landscapes, books, works of art, and artefacts) and  intangible culture (such as values, traditions, language, and knowledge).

For example,   Roman Empire served as a foundation for later Western culture, e.g. via the Renaissance and Neoclassicism. Another example, monuments to soviet leaders in Eastern Europe were built but later destroyed so that implements new values and traditions, which demonstrates role and connection of tangible and intangible dimensions in implementing changes.

Tools for social and cultural change, examples (Table 3)

Table 3

1 Encourage educational aspiration
2 Develop positive narratives
3 Establish advisory systems
4 Targeted social marketing approaches.
5 Financial assistance
6 Develop community infrastructure
7 Partnerships and more one-to-one support
8 Use of regulation and legislation
9 Cultural capital promotion, e.g. the attitudes and sense of self-efficacy
10  Changing the value of the past place the artefacts that link it to the past.

Policy can achieve social and cultural change through legislation, regulation and information provision, parenting, peer and mentoring programs, or development of social and community networks etc.

In conclusion, while every change program is unique, studies and leaders’ experiences showed valuable insights into factors, tactics and actions that make it possible to sustain a profound transformation, such as improving personal skills, creating new networks and boards, boosting collaborations, developing more change leaders, ensuring training for staff, showing managerial optimism and building on strength.

 

Changes come at greater speed and with bigger leaps at present than ever before. Do you agree with this statement? Is this trend is sustainable long term?

What effective change leadership skills look like nowadays? Can individuals develop these skills?

 

References:

 

Antidopingworld, 2017. IOC STATEMENT ON THE FIGHT AGAINST DOPING, 1. March 2017.. [Online]
Available at: https://antidopingworld.wordpress.com/2017/03/01/ioc-statement-on-the-fight-against-doping-1-march-2017/
[Accessed 03 2017].

Belias, D., 2014. THE IMPACT OF LEADERSHIP AND CHANGE. European Scientific Journal, 10(7), pp. 452-470.

Center for Creative Leadership, 2017. Navigating Change. [Online]
Available at: https://www.ccl.org/open-enrollment-programs/navigating-change/
[Accessed 03 2017].

CMI, 2017. CHANGE MANAGEMENT. [Online]
Available at: http://www.managers.org.uk/KNOWLEDGE-BANK/CHANGE-MANAGEMENT
[Accessed 03 2017].

McKinsey, 2014. Change leader, change thyself. [Online]
Available at: http://www.mckinsey.com/global-themes/leadership/change-leader-change-thyself
[Accessed 03 2017].

McKinsey, 2017. The finer points of linking resource allocation to value creation. [Online]
Available at: http://modelfactory-prod.mckinsey.com/business-functions/strategy-and-corporate-finance/our-insights/the-finer-points-of-linking-resource-allocation-to-value-creation
[Accessed 03 2017].

Mullins, 2013. Management & Organisational Behaviour. 10 ed. Harlow: Pearson Educaiton.

 

Is change always a good thing?

Are there any changes that you would personally resist?

Have you had any personal experience of overcoming change within an organization or a team?

Please leave a comment below

 

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