Organizational changes are the type of alterations in the companies’ functioning that may be driven by a variety of factors. It is not easy to achieve a change (Anderson, 2017). There are many issues to take into consideration prior to planning and implementing such adjustments. No one can guarantee that a change will be positive, and quite frequently, innovations appear to be negative. However, it is not possible to know how it will turn out without trying. In the present paper, I will discuss the outcomes of a change management simulation and the positive and negative lessons learned from it.
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My Diagnosis of the Situation
My diagnosis of the situation was not a successful one. I failed to predict the situation properly. Although I had a very noble aim of turning the production process in a more sustainable direction, I did not have enough power and experience to fulfill this goal. The majority of the company’s employees were the resisters of the change. However, I managed to identify several early adopters. Leslie Harris, Spectrum’s VP of sales and marketing, agreed with the idea that the company should become more environmentally friendly and join the sustainable development. Mary Gopinath, the VO of human resources, also suggested that the organization should give the request of BigMart a serious consideration.
Other members of the management team were resisters of the innovation. Paul D’Arcy, Spectrum’s CFO, was rather opposed to the idea of initiating a sustainability project. Luke Filer, the VP of operations, remarked that the plant managers would not accept any change in raw materials input in the nearest future.
The formal organizational hierarchy was a rather helpful factor during the stages of planning the change. Knowing the structure of the company allowed me to identify whose support would be most favorable for me. A hierarchy is needed for big companies’ management as it joins various business activities and makes it possible to assign responsibilities to the employees. Another positive factor when thinking about changes is social network information. Nowadays, social media have a great impact on the way of receiving and exchanging information (Badea, 2014). Therefore, I suggested that Spectrum should include new approaches in its organizational communication. The employment of social media would allow the company to concentrate on the tools necessary for achieving the communicational goals.
The Strategy of Influencing the Organizational Members
In order to enhance the organization’s members’ mobilization and move them towards the adoption of the change initiative, it is necessary to choose the most appropriate change theory. I wanted to develop a strategy that would make it possible to implement the necessary innovations gradually and not make the employees frustrated about them. The change theory that I found most suitable was Lewin’s change model (Cawsey, Deszca, & Ingols, 2016). This model consists of three stages: unfreezing, moving, and refreezing. At unfreezing phase, a thorough analysis of a prospective change is performed. In my case, I researched literature and media sources concerning the environmental sustainability. I paid particular attention to the ways in which such innovations were implemented in the companies similar to Spectrum. I also investigated several case studies of successful and unsuccessful change within such organizations.
The second phase – moving – is the most important one. It presupposes taking action, making the actual changes, and involving people in the process of a change. At this stage, I presented the plan to the employees and informed them about the steps necessary to take in order to implement the change suggested by BigMart. We rearranged the company’s operations so as to comply with the new requirements. As per CEO’s demand, the following measures were taken. The additional four members from finance, production, research and development, and marketing joined the innovation team. Further, every person on the task force dedicated minimum three-fourths of their time to designing a proposal for BigMart that would satisfy all the four departments. Finally, the task force members were supposed to create a financially agreeable plan that would change one of the product lines based on petrochemical alternatives and give that plan to the CEO no later than in three months.
The third phase of the chosen change theory is refreezing. At this stage, the changes are made permanent, the new way of things becomes a regular way of operation, and the expected outcomes are rewarded (Cawsey et al., 2016). I have to admit that this stage has not been fulfilled to the full extent. Because of the poor diagnosis of the situation, I was not able to make the change as successful as I had expected it to be. As a result, the change did not become permanent, and it had to be canceled due to the losses that the organization experienced after its implementation.
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Evaluation of my Failure as a Change Agent and Middle Manager
Although changes present a crucial requirement for the organization’s successful development, it is not always the case that their outcomes are successful (Cawsey et al., 2016). However, it is still necessary to take a risk and come up with new solutions, as everything in the world, particularly in the world of business, has to develop in order to become better. In my case, I decided to implement a change even though there were serious concerns about doing so.
I think that the main reason why I was not successful was that I did not have any formal authority. I was a change initiator, but I did not have sufficient support since there were not many change implementers or change facilitators (Cawsey et al., 2016). I gained credibility at the beginning of the project when I initiated the support of a proposal from our largest retail customer. Also, some of the employees trusted and supported me because of their personal environmentalist views and the desire to make the work of our company more sustainable. However, as the process involved more money than the organization could afford to spend on it, I gradually started losing the staff’s credibility. I admit that the biggest misstep was not giving appropriate consideration to the financial side of the change.
Important Lessons Learned from the Simulation
The following insights were gained from the simulation:
- It is not enough to have a good idea. It is necessary to develop it extremely thoroughly and from a variety of angles. I think that I did not pay sufficient attention to details. When the company’s CFO, Paul D’Arcy, and the VP of operations, Luke Filer, were against the change, they did not vote so because of some personal resistance. Their experience made them realize that it would be impossible to make my plane come true. Unfortunately, I insisted on making the change and made the whole organization feel the bitter outcomes.
- Before implementing a change, it is necessary to calculate the probable results in case of successful as well as unsuccessful outcomes. If the latter are too burdensome and impossible to be covered in a short period of time, it is a good idea to reconsider the change.
- It is always necessary to think of the financial side first since many people’s lives and the company’s image and success depend on it. No matter what positive plans and endeavors one has, it is necessary to make sure that no one will suffer when the innovation fails. In my case, the company went through considerable losses because the change implementation required more costs than it could have afforded.
An Action Necessary for the Enhancement of My Future Effectiveness
In order to enhance my future effectiveness in leading change, I will resort to such an action as clarifying my leadership vision. As I was able to learn from the simulation, my vision is not clear enough, which led to disastrous outcomes. Making my leadership vision more explicit will allow me to differentiate between the most and least successful aspects of my work and come up with the ways of improving the weaknesses.
My failure as a change agent gave me several important lessons. First of all, it is necessary to approach the process of implementing the change more thoroughly and include various aspects and possible scenarios. Secondly, it is necessary to take into consideration the opinions of more experienced colleagues, no matter how great the temptation of becoming the company’s hero is. Finally, even though I did not succeed, I find this experience rather useful for my future endeavors. I will work on the development of my leadership vision and will not make the same mistakes next time.
Anderson, D. L. (2017). Organization development: The process of leading organizational change (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
Badea, M. (2014). Social media and organizational communication. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 149, 70-75.
Cawsey, T. F., Deszca, D., & Ingols, S. (2016). Organizational change: An action-oriented toolkit (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.