Change Initiative Description
A change initiative that I will be considering within my organization is a shift in policy. In the military, many leaders reach a certain amount of years served and coast until retirement. Let me be the first to say that I am not that type of individual. Since I have arrived in my organization, I have noticed Soldiers (including leaders) wearing unserviceable uniforms. I have seen a lack of motivation when it comes to unit runs (esprit de corps).
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The question I have fought to ask myself, is what I can do personally on the smallest level to make the biggest change in this culture? Cawsey, Deszca, and Ingols (2016) explain that tuning is defined as “small, relatively minor changes made on an ongoing basis in a deliberate attempt to improve the efficiency or effectiveness of the organization” (Cawsey, Deszca, & Ingols, 2016, p. 22). After reading the two models, I feel I would go with The Change Path Model. I like this model because the diagram in the reading explained in detail the awakening, mobilization, acceleration, and institutionalization phases and how it can be utilized in an organization to create change.
I feel that tuning is the best type of change initiative to use here. I would update my policies to require thirty minutes of “parade marching” every morning to install discipline and pride back into the unit (many units already do this). Will some people dislike this? I am sure that people will hate this, however, being a leader is taking part in the unit and accepting success or failure on your shoulders. Next, I will offer every Monday for the best three Soldiers to compete for the best uniform.
When these Soldiers are identified, I will ask them questions about the unit’s history, current events, Army regulations, etc., to enhance the overall organization. My overall goal is to have a group that takes pride in their job as a professional and realizes that people hold us to a higher standard. We should do the same in return and give everything we can to represent the service.
The lack of motivation among soldiers, especially in the process of unit runs (esprit de corps), as well as the propensity toward dismissing the issues such as the use of unserviceable uniforms and other problems associated with resources mismanagement, must be viewed as the reason for concern. The issues mentioned above signal about the necessity to introduce changes to the environment of the army and, therefore, redesign the attitudes toward the order in it, the acceptance of the associated responsibilities, and the compliance with the set line of regulations and orders. Therefore, there is a need for change in the modern army.
The change initiative in question is, therefore, aimed at increasing the levels of motivation and responsibility among the army staff. Particularly, the focus on orderliness and the redesign of the current strategy of resources management must be considered the crucial steps toward promoting improvements in the army. However, it is the shift in the army policy that will trigger the pivotal alterations in the relationships between the participants, as well as the management of the crucial processes.
The desired state can be described as orderliness, careful allocation of the available resources, efficient management of the workplace responsibilities, and a responsible attitude toward the implementation of the tasks. Furthermore, the very concept of a leader will be redesigned. Instead of someone who will serve along with the soldiers as opposed to coasting until retirement after serving a couple of years, soldiers will have a role model that will guide them and be the prime example of the right attitude toward the service.
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The current state, however, leaves much to be desired, with the lack of motivation and inconsistent values being the key problem. A closer look at the situation in which the soldiers have found themselves will show that they require clear guidance and strong leadership that will compel them to accept the appropriate values and follow the existing regulations fully. Moreover, the management process will have to be improved so that the distribution of the available resources could be conducted in a fair and efficient manner.
If the change is not administered, the target population will find themselves in a dire situation. Without proper guidance and the introduction of a powerful motivation strategy, success is barely possible. Furthermore, the aggravation of the situation is expected. The loose standards of discipline and the mismanagement of the resources will lead to a rapid drop in motivation among the soldiers. Thus, the efficacy of their services will be reduced extensively.
To make sure that the change is administered accordingly, it is crucial to prevent the soldiers’ resistance toward change. Resistance may be caused by factors such as the lack of understanding of the change importance, the fear of failing to meet the new standards, and the reluctance to contribute to progress. Thus, the tools for defining and measuring the soldiers’ level of understanding of change and overall enthusiasm about its implementation are essential. As Cawsey et al. (2016) explain, it is crucial to measure “employees understanding and commitment to the new service model, employees’ skill acquisition, and results of pilot projects” (Cawsey et al., 2016, p. 348).
Therefore, tools such as surveys and questionnaires for measuring the level of the soldiers’ understanding and motivation as far as the change process is concerned are mandatory. The new and improved vision defines the soldiers as a tough, proud, disciplined platoon, which will be achieved with continuous and effective training and professional development.
As stressed above, the Change Path Model will be used as the foundation for the successful implementation of change in the army. The identified change model approach incorporates the following stages: awakening, mobilization, acceleration, and institutionalization (Cawsey et al., 2016). Starting with an analysis of the current situation and ending with the incorporation of the suggested change into the very body of the organization, the identified approach is bound to reinvent the crucial processes in the context of the army.
The awakening stage will require that the essential forces behind the inaccurate distribution of the available resources and the lack of discipline among the soldiers should be examined. Particularly, the reasons for the soldiers to be reluctant to meet the existing standards will have to be identified and analyzed carefully. For this purpose, the relationships between the members of the army hierarchy, i.e., privates and commanders, will have to be studied thoroughly.
The factors that contribute to the mismanagement of the army resources will need to be investigated as well. Apart from the financial side of the problem, the ethical one will have to be considered. Particularly, the dents in the current ethical framework leading to the failure to provide the soldiers with the necessary resources and sustain order in the army must be analyzed, respectively.
The mobilization phase, in turn, will include a change in the organization’s vision and the reconsideration of the current approach toward managing people’s needs. The identified goals can be achieved by improving the communication strategy significantly.
For instance, the importance of gathering feedback and developing a dialogue with soldiers is crucial to further success. Thus, the reasons for the drop in motivation levels that can be observed currently will be identified. In other words, a two-way communication strategy must be adopted. Apart from reciprocity, the improved communication strategy must include the principles of line authority. Implying that a rigid system of subordination should be used in the communication process, line authority will serve as the tool for introducing orderliness into the target environment (Cawsey et al., 2016).
The vision of the army as an organism that requires well justified and careful distribution of the available resources, as well as the system where moral values and rigid ethical standards are upheld, will be promoted and sustained. The said step can be taken once the combined principles of transformative and authoritative leadership are introduced into the army system. The specified amalgam of leadership approaches will help both increases the levels of commitment among soldiers by offering them the opportunities that are willing to pursue and, at the same time, foster compliance with the existing standards and regulations among soldiers and commanders alike.
Furthermore, it will be crucial to help soldiers and commanders to acquire the skills that will enhance their performance and contribute to the improvement of the decision-making process. For instance, the promotion of the skills such as performing first aid, searching detainees, controlling access to the installations, if there are any in the military, etc., needs to be considered a necessity. Additionally, training must be provided to make sure that the soldiers are able to meet the existing military standards and carry out the appropriate tasks (Wright, 2013).
The acceleration phase, in turn, will require that the suggested changes should be implemented. Before introducing the changes listed above to the environment of the army, one will have to explain the significance thereof to the target audience. With a deep understanding of the effects that the identified changes will have on the overall performance level and the success of the army-related operations, both the leaders and the subordinates will be able to do their best to achieve the set goals.
Furthermore, the motivation rates among the soldiers are expected to rise with the understanding of the essential objectives that the alterations mentioned above will pursue. Several staff members will be selected to form a tracking force that will report the changes in the army environment. Consistent communication must be maintained so that the slightest factors hindering the change process could be identified and addressed as fast and efficiently as possible. Training sessions, including the competition for the management of the uniforms, the knowledge of the essential information about the unit history, the army regulations, etc., must start and take place on a regular basis so that the soldiers could develop the necessary skills such as providing first aid, being able to engage in military combat, etc.
Parade marching will also have to be incorporated into the range of activities that the soldiers will have to carry out regularly to maintain the levels of their esprit de corps high. Afterward, an assessment of the change must be conducted so that the results could inform the decision-making process and define its results. The Sigmoid curve will serve as the tool for determining the current trends in the army environment and, thus, help choose the proper tools for the further reinforcement of the necessary standards and behaviors.
Finally, the institutionalization phase will imply that the suggested values, ethics, and behaviors should become part and parcel of the army system. A strong emphasis will be placed on the new values, such as responsibility, compliance with the existing regulations, promotion of cooperation, etc. Moreover, army leaders will become the role models that the rest of the personnel and members will have to follow. Soldiers will focus on building the required competencies, whereas officers will improve their decision-making skills, as well as their ability to negotiate.
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The former will have to be based on the newly introduced values, whereas the latter will require the active use of an approach based on compromise and collaboration. The identified stage will also include observations and reports about the incidences of tasks mismanagement, inappropriate distribution of the army resources, etc. (Armstrong, 2017).
Several challenges are expected to appear in the process of implementing and institutionalizing the change. As stressed above, there may be resistance toward changes among the staff, especially as far as the discipline issue is concerned. Assuming new responsibilities and following a set of much more rigid guidelines will most likely cause the soldiers’ and officers’ dissatisfaction. As a result, not only a drop in motivation levels but also a rapid rise in resistance toward change is expected.
Positive reinforcement and negative punishment strategies must be used to encourage them to accept the said alterations. The negative punishment approach will imply that penalties will not be given to those that meet the new standards and develop the required qualities successfully. Financial rewards and public praises will be used as positive reinforcement strategies. Thus, reluctance among the target population will be handled successfully (Wei & Yazdanifard, 2014).
The promotion of a new value system, in turn, may become a problem due to possible incompatibility between some of the new guidelines and the current ones. For instance, the introduction of the principles of responsibility will allow enhancing self-discipline. As a result, the soldiers will be able to maintain discipline and order successfully without being supervised consistently. It should be noted, though, that the enhancement of self-control should not be viewed as the substitution for the actual supervision process. Quite on the contrary, regular reports and assessments should be carried out to guarantee that the slightest deviation from the norm should be identified and addressed immediately. Thus, the premise for enhancing the soldiers’ performance, and the overall quality of their services will be built (Strub & Mcclellan, 2016).
Benefits and the First Step
The current state of the army leaves much to be desired regarding the discipline levels and the allocation of the army resources. Therefore, immediate actions should be taken to handle the problem. Particularly, the promotion of a different and more rigid set of values along with consistent training and the enhancement of discipline must be viewed as a necessity. It is expected that the suggested model for change will lead to the following results:
- Consistent rise in self-discipline;
- Improvement in resource management;
- Active acquisition of new skills;
- Acceptance of the behaviors based on responsibility.
Without the changes listed above, the army is likely to experience a drastic drop in the quality of service. Seeing that protecting civilians is the primary task of the army, the identified negative outcomes will affect not only soldiers but also the citizens, making them extremely vulnerable to the possible political or military aggression. Therefore, it is imperative that soldiers should be taught the importance of developing a responsible attitude and acquiring new skills and knowledge.
In the identified context, the introduction of a new value system is especially important since it will help motivate the target population to excel in their efforts. As a result, a significant rise in not only the levels of the soldiers’ enthusiasm but also their professionalism is expected.
To guarantee that further progress will occur consistently in the army, one will have to introduce a specific measurement tool. The use of an assessment scale that will be designed to evaluate the soldiers’ skills and knowledge can be viewed as an appropriate tool. The following success measures will be used to determine the pace of the progress:
- The soldiers’ ability to use the newly developed skills for managing specific problems successfully;
- The soldiers’ knowledge of the essential information necessary to make relevant decisions within a short amount of time;
- The soldiers’ esprit de corps, which will compel them to follow the provided instructions and meet the standards set by the leaders, at the same time following the newly updated value system and ethics.
Therefore, the proposal is aimed at improving the quality of the soldiers’ performance and the current army situation, in general. For this purpose, a change in the value system is required. Thus, the enhancement of responsibility is the first and most important step toward positive change.
Armstrong, J. (2017). Overcoming common barriers to a successful change initiative. Quality, 1, 42-43.
Cawsey, T.F., Deszca, G., & Ingols, C. (2016). Organizational change: An action-oriented toolkit. Los Angeles, CA: Sage.
Strub, M., & Mcclellan, S. (2016). Getting to a culture of assessment: Antecedents to change readiness. Kentucky Libraries, 80(4), 5-12.
Wei, T. L., & Yazdanifard, R. (2014). The impact of positive reinforcement on employees’ performance in organizations. American Journal of Industrial and Business Management, 4(1), 9-12. Web.
Wright, L. (2013). Quality improvement and organizational change initiatives: An analysis of the U.S. Army’s warrior transition unit (WTU). Academy of Strategic Management Journal, 12(2), 95-111.