We live in a world that is constantly changing to be increasingly complex and diverse, therefore organisations should be open to accept the challenge of change (Hurn 2012). Change is important to an organisation, yet people may be cautious towards change (Bailey and Raelin 2010). All changes in organisations starts from the top, leader takes a huge role in shaping the organisation. Leadership is about change, what happens when the employees are resistance to change (Kanter 2012)? Kanter (2012) listed some common change resistance situations happening in organisations.
Figure 1 Ten resistance to change (Kanter 2012)
Change may sometimes go awry and not according to plan. However, putting the responsibility on those resisting change may not be the solution and may lead to defensive behaviours causing them to look bad and lose sight of their original goals (Ford and Ford 2009). Resistance when accessed in the right way, can be beneficial in the accomplishment of change (Ford and Ford 2010). An effective change initiative means tailoring different strategies on different employees instead of applying one approach and forcing them to comply (Kotter and Schlesinger 2008).
Figure 2 Kotter 8 Step Process for Leading Change (Kotter 1995) constructed by the writer
Kotter’s change management model has been argued that it lacks hard evidence, yet it has remained so prominent that up till today it is still constantly being referred to in the change management scenarios (Appelbaum et al. 2012). The eight steps can be critically discussed as below:-
|Step 1||It is essential to promote strong motivation for change and clearly identifying the reasons for change (Hurn 2012). The persuasive methods to imply urgency can be bold and risky and requires the change agent to be aggressive to make change happen (Kotter 1995). Armenakis and Harris (1993) suggests that hiring outside of the organisation can emphasize the change message.|
|Step 2||A strong team is required in order to make a change. This step was initially meant to create a vision and to ensure it is spread on to the entire organisation (Kotter 1996). However, Lines (2007) was certain that leaders were proved to be more successful in implementing change.|
|Step 3||Staff throughout the entire organisation needed to be aware of the vision of the company. Managers who accepted and was passionate about the change were more motivating to the staff (Washington and Hacker 2005).|
|Step 4||Discussion among the staff was critical to receive feedbacks as communication proves to be a critical factor in whether the organisation’s change process can be successful (Bordia et al. 2004).|
|Step 5||Resistance to change has to be identified and evaluated as employees can be susceptible to changes. However, allowing the employee a chance to voice out can have an effect on their attitude to provide them with a sense of control.|
|Step 6||The short term goals need to be achievable to motivate employees towards the long term goals. Employee recognition was important in an organisation. It is important for the leader to set exemplary behaviours in change for the organisation to follow.|
|Step 7||Reinforcement was necessary to publicise success and it is crucial for leaders to identify other issues from the short term goals. According to Kotter (1996), the momentum would be lost if there is no urgency at this point. Employees needed to be encouraged to initiate and experiment with changing (Appelbaum et al. 2012).|
|Step 8||The corporate culture would have been developed and the entire organisation would have been affected with the change. Kotter suggests that the new changes needed to be rooted to the entire organisation in order to make the change stay.|
Table 1 Kotter 8 Step Process for Leading Change (Kotter 1995)
Kotter argues that implementation of the first step was the vital part and not doing so would make it impossible to move on to the subsequent steps (Appelbaum et al. 2012). Appelbaum et al. (2012) suggests that some transformation do not require or were not able to go through certain steps. An example would be the implementation of a computer software used in a manufacturing process which was often difficult to undo.
Figure 2 Kurt Lewin Change Management Model (AlchemyForManagers 2015)
Kurt Lewin’s 3 steps change management model was criticised over the application of it to the real world (Burnes 2004). Nevertheless, Lewin’s model still made an impact as if focused on resolving social conflict and promote ethical approach to change (Burnes 2004). Organisations are very focused on their societal image and therefore there is still relevance in Lewin’s model to be implemented on current day companies.
Image Source: Geekszine 2011
In the Apple against Microsoft war, Apple’s stock prices has sky rocketed while Microsoft remains desperate for success (Govindarajan and Trimble 2010). With the huge financial stability that Microsoft has, what they lack of was innovation and imagination. The late Steve Jobs was said to have the magic formula for innovation and he understood that it was vital for profit (Lock 2014). Apple went from near obsolete in the 1990s to becoming the greatest success stories because their leader had a vision to change and he affected his entire organisation with the change on how computing, music and communications should be (Mind Resources 2011). There is without a doubt that effective change requires a good leader to achieve both short term and long term goals in the most beneficial way.
Image Source: Success Magazine 2014
Founder of Virgin Empire, Sir Richard Branson is well known for being a societal and ethical entrepreneur who was not afraid of changes and trying something new (Vinnedge 2009). In his wide range of business including music, travel, telecommunications and even renewable energy, Branson has always embraced changes especially with the transformation of technology (Branson 2011). One good example was when CD was going to take over vinyl records, Branson started clearing the shelves at 100 of his Virgin Music store to give space for CDs and gave discounts to the vinyl records to clear them off the shelves (Branson 2011). They successfully switched their business over to CDs which many of their competitors did not. Despite the disruptive change, Branson successfully changed his business model and did so well that he later on moved on to many other ventures.
If the asylum was run by the lunatics, what the leaders can do is to take charge and lead those lunatics to run it right (Satell 2014). Change can be challenging yet refreshing, if applied the right way can be fruitful to the organisation. The change I hope to see in my organisation is a less autocratic leadership and giving the junior management a chance to make a difference and to make decisions.
Image Source: Virgin 2015
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