What have you learned about Managing Organizational Change (MOC) and how are you going to apply MOC concepts to benefit your career?
1.0. Executive Summary
Based on my time in class these last 7 weeks, I have learned a process that I never knew really existed. I have worked for several companies, large and small, in my lifetime and I have never really experienced an Organizational Change process like what has been introduced in this class. I felt that the information provided could be very useful in anyone’s career because it is a more structured way of executing change in an organization with minimal problems during the transition.
I am sure that the large companies that I have worked for had some sort of formal change process or model in place when I worked for them. I believe that the communication of the changes could have been done better now that I am aware of what to look for in such a practice.
What it boils down to is that now that I am aware that there is a formal process for each of the three areas concerning organizational change according to the Lewin’s model that I used in my MOC project, I will be able to use these processes to assist upper management in any organization that I am a part of in order to make the change as easy as possible. In my current situation, I will recommend to my organization various processes and/or models that are not currently being used for all the changes that we are currently experiencing.
For example, when I discussed the MOC project with my CEO and what it was going to be about, he was very interested in the outcome because he was not aware of any type of formal change model to begin with. Many of the decisions that he has made involving the change Rickey and I discussed in our MOC project seem to coincide with a formal process of some sort, however it was not formally identified and specifically followed as we discussed in class during our MOC presentation. The plan is to continue to make recommendations to my employer as changes continue based on the material received and the research completed during the MOC project development.
2.0. Body of Deliverables
2.1. Managing Organizational Change (MOC) Concepts.
During the MOC project there were several MOC concepts that I was interested in and had struggles understanding along the way. How it was explained to me was that some of the concepts can be used in more than one stage of the organizational change with some modification of course.
2.1.1. Change Model Concept
I had a lot of struggles trying to decide on a change model with my partner Rickey during the development of our MOC project. Most of which is because I was not able to determine the difference between the Change Model and the Change Management Model. Once I was able to distinguish the two concepts, it made it easier to decide on which one to use. We decided to use the Lewin Change Model for our project. There are three stages to Lewin’s Change model; unfreeze, change, and refreeze. The unfreeze stage of this change model involves preparing the organization to accept the change and that it is necessary for future growth in the organization. You have to be prepared to provide examples of why the change is necessary such as the benefits of the change and that you as management have done your due diligence to research why this would be the best way to make the change. Unfortunately, some changes are not decided by choice.
For example, in mine and Rickey’s MOC project, we illustrate that AC4S had to make a change in their Accounting System because it would not be supported in the year 2011. This first stage is usually the most challenging and can be where you experience the most resistance if you have not prepared your organization successfully or received total buy in of those affected by the change. The next stage of Lewin’s Change Model is the actual change itself. This can be the area where individuals begin to resolve the uncertainty that a change has developed. It is also part of the change process where employees start to embrace the change and support the new direction that the organization is going. Experts say that this is not an overnight process. However, in the change that AC4S is experienced in changing their Accounting System, it was continually explained that the new system had a reporting system that would make managing projects much easier because the financial documents can be generated in real-time.
This was just one of the many benefits that were provided to employees during the change process. Time and communication are the two keys to success for the changes to occur. People need time to understand the changes and they also need to feel highly connected to the organization throughout the transition period. When you are managing change, this can require a great deal of time and effort and hands-on management is usually the best approach. (LEWIN’S CHANGE MANAGEMENT MODEL: UNDERSTANDING THE THREE STAGES OF CHANGE, http://www.consultpivotal.com/lewin’s.htm) The final stage of Lewin’s Change Model is the refreeze stage. This is the stage when the people of the organization have incorporated the changes into everyday business and are used all the time.
However, sometimes at this stage you may need to adjust some changes for them to be more effective or more beneficial to the organization. At this point, the organization needs to refreeze. This stage is very important to complete. The employees have to have closure in the process in order to want to be involved in futures changes in the organization. In the example of AC4S’ Accounting System change, the President and CEO did not want call the change as being complete until the organization did not have to use the previous system at all. His refreeze stage was considered completed when he shut the old system down completely.
2.1.2. Forces for Change Concept
Today, organizations have to continually monitor its external environment in order to maintain a competitive edge. This competitive edge consists of making internal adjustments in order to meet the customer’s needs whether it is a product or service. Here are some examples that illustrate what Kotter identifies as four global environmental forces for change: * Technological, which requires more globally, connected people and faster communication and transportation. * Greater economic integration of currencies and international capital flows. * Maturation and slowdown of domestic markets, leading to greater emphasis on exports and deregulation. * Fall of socialist countries and their reorientation toward capitalist economies. While the latter has led to new opportunities such as larger markets and fewer barriers to entry, it also has been associated with more competition and a demand for increased speed. (Palmer, Ian. Managing Organizational Change, 2nd Edition. McGraw-Hill Learning Solutions, 2008. p. 56).
In the case of AC4S, they were forced to make their Accounting System change due to technology. They were informed by the supporters of the accounting system software that it will not be supported in the year 2011 back in 2009. I believe that this change was going to be necessary eventually whether it was going to be supported or not, based on the growth of the organization and in order to be able to compete with the much larger organizations that AC4S competes with and teams with for business. The benefits that were generated by the executive team for this accounting system upgrade illustrated massive improvements in many processes completed internally consisting of the way financial reports are generated, a procurement capability that was not available previously, and a Human Resource module that provides statistical information and is HIPPA compliant.
2.1.3. Images of Change Concept
Every change manager has a different image of what managing change means and these images are often based on how the manager of the change can achieve the change and how the change should be approached. At least six images of change management can be identified: directing, navigating, caretaking, coaching, interpreting and nurturing. These images are also considered to be roles that are played during the course of the change. The following identifies all six images (6 Images of Change, http://www.12manage.com/forum.asp?TB=change_management_iceberg&S=48): 1. Director: this role will be played out different for situations like that of communicating change, sustaining change. 2. Navigator: similar to the director role but this one is only given so much power.
3. Caretaker: takes care of issues within change, again through various things like evaluating change. 4. Coach: will coach the people within an organization to carry out change or will sort out relevant issues. 5. Interpreter: will interpret the change that is to be carried to staff, has strong link with moment. 6. Nurturer: facilitates change, makes sure that everyone understands it. I believe that during the change process that several people play several of these roles at the same time. In the example change that I have been referring to at AC4S, the CEO main role during this change was the Director of the change, however there were moments that he was required to play the role of the navigator, the caretaker, the coach, the interpreter and nurturer not only to the VP of Finance but towards the organization as a whole from time to time. I also believe that the VP of Finance played the other five roles or images at one point or another depending on where and what was being done during the change.
2.1.4. Change Management Model to Manage the Change Concept
Change management models are methods by which the processes of change management are implemented. (Change management models, http://changemanagementmodels.net/change-management-models/) Based on what I have introduced earlier in this essay is that the Change Management Model is used during the actual change that is occurring or taking place. For example, the second stage of the Lewin Change Model discussed earlier in the text as the change stage. Change has to be continuous in an organization in order to keep a competitive edge in your market segment, as well as improve customer satisfaction through various improvements of internal processes. If the change is not managed correctly, it can make or break an organization. This is something that we have discussed several times about in class about different organizations such as Kodak. Kodak decided to hang on to traditions such as you will be a Kodak employee for life that really hurt them in the end when it came necessary to make major changes in the structure of the organization.
During the research for my MOC project, Rickey and I found the Kirkpatrick Change model almost matched up to the steps that AC4S performed during the change management. As we stated in our presentation to the AC4S Executive Committee last week, the steps that AC4S followed during the change management portion of changing our accounting system followed very close to the Kirkpatrick steps but was not formally recognized by the organization. We provided them the steps and described how they matched up so that during future changes in the organization so that there will be a more structured method of change management.
Below are the steps to the Kirkpatrick Change Management Model: 1. Determine the need or desire for change. – AC4S was informed that they were going to have to change accounting systems due to nonsupport by the software developer. This change was also necessary to meet the needs of the organization when it comes to future growth support. 2. Prepare tentative plans – AC4S hired a consultant to prepare a tentative plan for the change. 3. Analyze probable reaction – The consultant provided several solutions that included the accounting system software and the organizations that will support them. 4. Make a final decision – The AC4S Executive Team made a decision on the software and support package based on the presentation provided by the consultant that was an expert in this field.
5. Establish a timetable – The consultant provided the Executive Staff a timetable of approximately how long that it would take the necessary changes to bring the new system online and fully functional. 6. Communicate the change – The CEO began communication with all employees within the organization in order to initiate the change via a KickOff Meeting. The VP of Finance managed several other face-to-face meetings with the change and technical teams in order to determine the progress of the change establish timetables and additional directions during the change. 7. Implement the change – AC4S actually implementing the change selected by the executive staff. 2.2. Terminal Course Objectives (TCOs)
2.2.1. TCO A
Depending on the organization, change can be generated by many different forces. As I have said previously, in order for an organization to stay competitive in any field of service, change has to be mastered and incorporated in everyday activity. A way for organizations to stay competitive is to continue to improve internal processes and procedures that will in turn improve customer satisfaction because you are providing more efficient customer service. Some organizations like AC4S that are IT service providers have to continually change due to the driving forces of technology. In my MOC project, technology was the driving force for the change in the accounting system which is an internal process.
With the IT services that AC4S provides to customers, technology is also an external driving force that the organization has to keep up with in regards to new technology in order to assist the end user of our services and/or products in making their work more efficient. If AC4S did not continue to address change in the organization such as technology, then the organization would eventually fail to meet the guidelines of the Department of Defense which is their major client. AC4S will not be able to compete with other organizations if change is not continuously addressed, because other organizations may be able to provide the same level of customer service at a cheaper price due to upgrades in technology as one example.
2.2.2. TCO B
Based on conversations that I have had with my CEO in developing the material for my MOC project, I discovered that the organization that I work for does not have a Change Model that it follows or any other model that maybe used during the change process. However, AC4S did use a consultant that participated in the change process in the form of a change agent. The Change Agent and/or consultant helped guide us through the change. However, I believe that if the organization uses the suggestions for the different models that AC4S should use for future changes that they will be more structured and completed sooner than expected. I say this because even though AC4S did not have any type of models in regards to organizational change that the change went fairly smooth. During our research for the MOC project, Rickey and I evaluated many different models that are involved in the change process and selected the models that fit the organization based on the fact that AC4S is an IT services provider.
2.2.3. TCO E
Resistance to change is not uncommon in most organizations. I believe that one of the key reasons for the resistance to change is the fear of the unknown or the outcome of the change. An employee may be more or less resistant to change depending on whether the employee feels that the change is good or bad and how that change may impact them. (Managing Change: Managing People’s Fear, http://management.about.com/cs/people/a/MngChng092302.htm). There are many reasons for resistance to change besides fear such as comfort, not perceiving a need for the change, no faith in the process, lack of trust and lack of knowledge. When dealing with resistance to change, it is important to identify who is resisting and how they are resisting to change as soon as possible because if not it can significantly slow down the change process or completely interrupt the change. As a manager, you can use the Kurt Lewin’s Force Field Analysis technique to combat resistance to change.
This technique is used to identify the driving forces for change and reasons for resisting the change or restraining forces. According to Kurt Lewin, “An issue is held in balance by the interaction of two opposing sets of forces – those seeking to promote change (driving forces) and those attempting to maintain the status quo (restraining forces)”. Based on Lewin’s theory, change can only happen if the equilibrium of the two forces that have been changed either by adding conditions that will cause an individual to be more favorable to the change or reducing the resisting forces to the change. In order for the change to be successful, the manager in charge of the change has to either strengthen the driving forces of the change or weaken the restraining forces of the change. During the course of our MOC project, we completed a change readiness exercise on AC4S. Based on the results of the exercise, AC4S’ change in regards to their accounting system will most likely succeed. The responses that we provided were based merely on my impression on the organization as a whole and are subject to change. The responses that were provided were based on observations during my employment with AC4S for the last three years.
2.2.4. TCO G
The process of creating a vision for an organization starts in the mind of the leader, usually a dream for the future of the organization. The leader of the organization should not only develop the vision of the organization but develop a strategic plan on communicating that vision in order to be sold and shaped to the organization. Refer to the following key questions that the vision should answer in order for individuals to want to share in the same vision: Where were we? Where are we? Where are we going? Most importantly, how will we get there? It is critical to communicate these items to an organization in order to get the support needed for any change that may need to take place in order to meet the vision of the organization. Without knowing the vision, organization may struggle with change and labor/management problems may incur. Below are five elements used in developing the organization’s vision. (Scott, et al., 1993)
1. Values are the principles, the standards, the actions that people in an organization represent, which they consider inherently worthwhile and of the utmost importance. They include: how people treat each other, how people, groups and organizations conduct their businesses and about what is most important to the organization. 2. Scanning the current situation involves looking beyond the organization to its customers and suppliers and industry trends for information on what is important to them. Involving the internal customers – the employees – is also an important part of the process. 3. Mission is the core purpose for which a person, team or organization is created. It is summarized in a clear, short, inspiring statement that focuses attention in one clear direction by stating the purpose of the individual’s business or group’s uniqueness.
4. Visioning is picturing excellence – what the person, team or organization wants to create in its best possible future. It is an evocative description of what is possible. A vision is not “something out there” that is impractical, but a way of setting a compelling scenario. Creating this image of the future requires the ability to expand one’s sense of possibilities and then focus on what new initiatives can lead to success. 5. Implementation includes the strategy, plans, procedures and key actions that will put all of the above into action.
In regards to the change that AC4S experienced in the change from one accounting system to another, the CEO illustrated during the kickoff meeting that with the rapid growth that our organization is experiencing that the organization would have to change accounting systems in order to keep up with our growth. Also, that this particular accounting system was selected because other known large organizations that support the Department of Defense which include our competitors and teaming partners that have the same system that has been approved and certified by the government. Finally, this accounting system will provide capabilities that will improve internal processes that again will improve customer satisfaction.
3.0. Closing Statement
During this course I have learned many organizational change concepts that I feel can be applied towards the organization with which I am currently employed, AC4S. I have identified several concepts and objectives that will be very beneficial to future changes at AC4S that will occur due to the exponential growth that is currently being experienced. These changes will be more structured and organized now that a formal Change Model and Change Management Model have been identified and that other MOCK concepts have been introduced. I appreciate the fact that the knowledge I have gained from this course will not only serve me well through my experiences with my employer, but will also further strengthen my management abilities.