Change is inevitable in the contemporary world of business. Novel innovations coupled with the desire to attain competitive advantage underline the massive changes in business strategies. Hence, in today’s competitive business environment, effective management comprises managers who are flexible and quick learners of new changes in management strategies. Change in the business environment and management strategies affect employees, clients, and all other business stakeholders. The article, Initiating and leading change: A consideration of four new models, addresses four specific approaches that are necessary for assisting leaders in the creation of business cultures, which are amenable to change. This paper analyses the four models and chooses the best that is most suitable for the contemporary competitive world of business.
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The four models illustrated by Edgehouse et al. (2007) have for a longtime been tested and scrutinized by business leaders and always bore the desired results necessary for business survival. The models are easy to understand at the macro level, are capable of revealing why the change is a necessity at a particular time, and they illustrate how change needs to be done coupled with how changes will be measured and evaluated in the future. The four models emphasize on the need for leaders to involve all business stakeholders in developing of business goals and missions as it would create challenge and motivation to them, and thus enable everyone in the business to head to a common purpose (Edgehouse et al. 2007).
The best Change Model amongst the Four
Amongst the four models, the first model that is based on initiating, envisioning, playing, and sustaining as the theoretical synthesis for change, seems to be the best for transformational leaders. I chose this model as it is the most suitable for the ever-changing educational field, and hence suitable for the unstable business environment in today’s world of innovation due to its different distinguished phases. This model has four significant phases for the implementation of a comprehensive change and the first phase is initiating. Before initiating a change, the problem has to be identified in a business. This problem can either be attached to external or internal business environment. In most cases, internal problems do not call for comprehensive changes since they revolve around leaders and their subordinates (Kotter, 2008).
In contrast, external problems have huge adverse effects to the business survival for in most cases they affect clients and customers. For instance, this model is mostly applicable to the education field as academicians keep on improving the curriculum and thus calling for the updating of the syllabus from time to time. The case is not different in the modern business environment due to the advancement in technological innovations that call for the upgrading of the production system from time to time in the business.
The failure by businesses to upgrade their systems in accordance with the modern technology renders their products and services outdated as compared to the competitors’ products and services that are available in the same markets. Hence, the external problems have a greater adverse effect on the business than internal problems and hence need to be resolved through the adoption of changes that in most cases are comprehensive to the extent that overhaul system is changed for the sake of increasing chances of business survival.
After identifying a problem in a business, regardless of whether it is internal or external problem, the process of developing a solution commences. In applying the first model of the four models as illustrated by Edgehouse et al. (2007), the first phase is initiating the process. At initiating phase, the business leaders work together in developing the problem statement, propose solutions, and analyze the constraints that could deter the change development. This phase is ideal for exercising transformational leadership because a leader is much expected to prepare the followers for change by assisting them to develop good attitudes suitable for achievement of the set goals.
The second phase for this change model is the envisioning stage. In this phase, a leader is supposed to develop a vision for the future of the business and make decisions after comparing where the business is and where it should be in the future. However, the leader should consider the proposed solutions to the problem from the decision-making phase. In addition, constraints that would make it hard for the realization of business vision should be considered (Lawler & Worley, 2006).
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The third phase of the change model is playing or testing of the decisions made in phase two, and it should be in line with the proposed solutions in phase one. In this phase, a leader is expected to incorporate his or her followers in testing the success or failure of the decisions. The initial hypothesis is mainly the ability of the decisions to deliver the expected results, and just like in scientific researches where hypotheses are tested, the case is the same in business. Researchers are incorporated in the testing of the viability of proposed decisions, after which then final decisions are made.
The final phase of the first model is sustaining at which the problem has been identified, solutions proposed, vision developed, and decisions implemented. This phase is almost the same as the evaluation phase of project management where after the implementation, the changes have to be evaluated frequently. According to Edgehouse et al. (2007), business leaders should collaborate with their followers in trying to ensure that changes are effective for the business as well as lasting solutions to the problem. In addition, their effectiveness is determined by revisiting the first phase in an effort to determine other possible solution to the problem that would be more effective than one implemented, and identifying other problems that could have resulted from the implementation of the decisions being tested.
Changes are inevitable in the contemporary business environment. The modern world calls for transformational leaders who are quick at making decisions to a problem and rigid in failing to make decisions that are in line with the established vision of a business. Application of the first amongst the four change models could bear good results for a business because just like in project management, the process starts by developing proposed solutions and determination of constraints. This aspect enables the leaders to incorporate their followers in the solution development. On the other hand, it ends with the evaluation of effectiveness of the implemented change by revisiting the first phase in an effort to upgrade the solutions, which assures leaders that the implemented changes are the best for the business every time the evaluation is carried out.
Edgehouse, A., Edwards, A., Gore, S., Harrison, S., & Zimmerman, J. (2007). Initiating and leading change: A consideration of four new models. The Catalyst, 36(2), 3-12.
Kotter, P. (2008). A sense of urgency. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Publishing.
Lawler, E., & Worley, G. (2006). Built to change: How to achieve sustained organizational effectiveness. New York, NY: Jossey-Bass.