Delta Airlines is one of the leading US companies in the industry. It has a well-established culture and a customer-oriented approach (Sullivan, 2013). The company’s employees are motivated and well trained. Nonetheless, this appears to be insufficient in the highly competitive and rapidly developing industry where new entrants as well as leaders in the sphere set new standards and approaches (Bamber, Gittell, Kochan & von Nordenflycht, 2009). Thus, there is a lack of cooperation within the company, which affects employees’ as well as the entire organization’s performance. It is essential to develop a new strategy, which will be based on the communication and development of groups of employees from different departments. Clearly, it is critical to utilize Kotter’s change management model to make sure that the new approach will be successful.
Establishment of the sense of urgency is the first step to undertake. It is vital to communicate the need for change and make sure that employees understand it and are ready for it (Crawshaw, Budhwar & Davis, 2014). The information concerning the position of the company, its competitors and the entire industry should be sent to all the employees through memos. These issues should also be discussed during several meetings where the leader will comment on the data sent, and employees will share their ideas concerning the change. The leader has to provide an outline (including timing) of the strategy aimed at establishing working groups consisting of employees of different departments. The leader will share his/her views on the outcomes of the strategy with a focus on the development of the understanding of all business processes, the spread of information across the company, improvement of the services provided.
The next step to undertake is to form a coalition. It is important to involve as many people as possible, which will enable the leader and his team to take into account all possible peculiarities of the new strategy and its outcomes (Bolman & Deal, 2013). This can be a prototype of the working group, and it should include professionals from all departments of the organization. The members of the coalition will be chosen during the discussions as the most active employees who will understand the need for change will be glad to participate. It is better to make sure that these are people who are experienced and respected in their departments. They should be aware of the processes taking place in their units.
Vision and Strategy
The leader should develop a vision and plan. The major part will be implemented by the head, but the plan will be discussed with the members of the coalition (Bolman & Deal, 2013). The vision can be formulated as follows: working groups consisting of representatives of all departments should actively collaborate to deliver high-quality services to the company’s customers. The workshops will be held monthly. Each department chooses one representative who attends the workshop and then shares the information (plans, vision, and so on) discussed during the meeting. Each month, different representatives will take part in the seminars. The coalition and the agent of the change will develop the agenda and the materials (which will be later provided to all the employees of the company).
Communicating the Vision
Communicating the vision is a crucial step that implies the development of a thoughtful plan and its implementation. Thus, the coalition and the leader should consider the needs, fears, aspirations and various peculiarities of the stakeholders involved (Crawshaw et al., 2014). It is vital to take into account these aspects when communicating the vision. The focus should be made on the need to improve the quality of services provided and the benefits of efficient cooperation among employees from different departments. The members of the coalition should reveal the some barriers (if any) to active collaboration. The group should also take this aspect into the account to develop an effective strategy. The plan of workshops and agendas will be communicated through memos and discussions.
Empowering Broad-Based Action
The step of empowering broad-based action is the stage of the change implementation. Thus, the coalition will guide the process and make sure that it goes smoothly (Crawshaw et al., 2014). However, it is also important to make employees understand that they can contribute to the development of the company. Each employee will have an opportunity to provide ideas on the workshops’ agendas. Employees will be able to address the member of the coalition or directly the leader personally or through the corporate communication channels (emails, memos and so on). Apparently, employees will be encouraged to participate actively in various activities during the sessions. They will not simply listen to methods to employ when addressing this or that issue, but they will try to develop strategies to solve these problems. The primary focus will be made on communication with and provision of services to the clients. However, efficient communication methods will also be discussed.
Generating Short-Term Wins
To motivate employees, it is crucial to identify short-term wins. Otherwise, employees will soon be tired of making the effort, and the change will not be implemented. The wins should be measurable, timely, visible, and relevant (Crawshaw et al., 2014). Thus, some of these will be the degree of the customer’s satisfaction (the rate of positive and negative feedbacks from customers). It is also effective to trace the employees’ and departments’ performance. Situations, when efficient solutions were found, should be discussed during the workshops as well as meetings held within departments. Importantly, the coalition will continuously evaluate the wins and add some changes to the strategy if necessary.
Consolidating Gains and Producing More Change
One of the most serious mistakes made is the decision to stops implementing the change once the first results have been achieved (Crawshaw et al., 2014). To make sure that the change is ongoing and the stakeholders are completely involved in the process, it is important to continue the effort and deepen the change. Thus, the leader has to make sure that the workshops are efficient platforms of sharing ideas and knowledge. It will also be effective to launch meetings held for representatives of working groups across the company’s divisions. These can be off-the-spot meetings as well as various team-building activities. Some employees may be transferred to other divisions as well as other departments. Thus, technical workers can spend some time in an IT or passengers’ support department. They will be able to learn more about processes taking place and issues occurring.
Anchoring New Approaches into the Culture
Finally, it is essential to make this approach a part of the company’s culture. The workshops will be held regularly. The ‘exchange’ among employees will also become a part of everyday processes in the organization. Importantly, employees will provide their feedback on and assessment of the workshops and meetings. They will share their ideas and feelings concerning the time spent in a different department. This will encourage people to deepen the change, which will make it integral to the corporate culture.
Bamber, G.J., Gittell, J.H., Kochan, T.A., & Von Nordenflycht, A. (2009). Up in the air: How airlines can improve performance by engaging their employees. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
Bolman, L.G., & Deal, T.E. (2013). Reframing organizations: Artistry, choice, and leadership. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons.
Crawshaw, J., Budhwar, P., Davis, A. (2014). Human resources management: Strategic and international perspectives. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
Sullivan, B.A. (2013). The true story of amazing customer service from – gasp! – an airline. Web.