Strategic Thinking And Effective Change Business Essay

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Contents

Introduction

In this 21st century, organizations are faced with several changes in their environment. These changes result from increasing completion, introduction of high technology, changes in government regulations among other factors. Many organizations try to maintain pace with these changes by restructuring their internal organizations. This paper analyses the various factors supporting and opposing changes in an organization. A discussion into characteristics that may prove beneficial to an individual appointed to a change agent role and demonstration on how they may be utilized when implementing change strategies for Stratified Solution is also provided. This paper also discusses Lewin’s change management model and demonstrates how this model may be utilized to monitor the effectiveness of change initiatives that may be agreed by the Board of Stratified Solutions. Organizational changes has significant impact to the employees and on section four of this paper, this impact is discussed.

Prepare a force field analysis to illustrate the drivers and restrainers of change applicable to Stratified Solutions 15 marks

Force field analysis is a managerial tool that is used to systematically analyze factors which need to be addressed in complex situations. It addresses situations in terms of factors that sustain the status quo (restraining factors) and those factors that support the need of change towards a certain direction (driving factors) (Smola and Satton,2002). In this case, a factor can refer to people, culture, attitude, need among others. Force field analysis assists the management in identifying those factors that must be attended to and supervised if change is to be achieved

Force field analysis is best conducted in small group which can effectively brainstorm ideas. It has several steps which should be observed systematically. These steps are: 1) Step 1 involves defining the situation/ problem. The analysts are required to find out the nature of the prevailing problem that negatively affects the performance of the organization. The main objective of step 1 is to separate the identified problems from those factors that positively influence the performance of the organization; 2) Step 2 involves defining the objectives behind the needed change. This defines what the organization would have aimed to achieve through force field analysis. It establishes the worth of the analysis in progress hence motivating the analysts to set to work; 3) Step 3 involves identifying the driving forces. Driving forces describe the forces that support the desired change (Kalleberg and Mastekaasa, 2001). These are forces which drive the organization towards the intended direction. These forces should be well on the force analysis chart for the purpose off quick analysis. The length of the arrow used to represent a certain force normally indicates the magnitude of the force. In this step, it is important also to establish the inter-relationship among the various driving forces.

In Step 4, the restraining forces should be identified. Restraining forces refer to those forces which resist the desired change in effort to maintain the status quo (Kiefer, 2005). These factors should be presented in a diagram in the same version as those factors which act as driving forces. The length of the arrow should be used to represent the length of the opposing force. It is also vital to establish if there is any inter-relationship which exists among the identified restraining force. Step 5 involves developing the integral change strategy. After identifying the drivers and restrainers, it is important to establish the quasi-stationary equilibrium. Quasi-stationary equilibrium is established through strengthening vital driving forces, introducing new driving factors or addressing any of restraining forces ((Kalleberg and Mastekaasa, 2001). This step should take into consideration some of the unexpected consequences when equilibrium factors are altered.

The following diagram represents a force field analysis of Stratified solutions.

On forces of change, Stratified solutions need to develop new products for the purpose of competitiveness. Stratified solutions had grown through being receptive and it was time to share the knowledge it had with other organizations through social media platforms so that it can also benefit from the inputs of younger generation. The second force for change is the need to improve speed of services. It has been noted that Stratified solutions always have to travel to the client. It was possible to revise the contract with clients with an aim of improving speed of services. The third force for change is the desire to improve stratified solutions. From analysis, it has been noted that stratified solutions observes bureaucracy which discourages creativity and innovation. By making the structure flat, participatory leadership will be encouraged and this will significantly aid even the customers to access the services of the company. The fourth force for change is the desire to reduce the cost of furnishing stratified offices. The company has offices in all the capital cities throughout the World and the cost of servicing the office premises has increased significantly in line with the increase in real estate rental rates. A raise in staff working at home would have the extra benefit of reducing the amount of office accommodation required

On forces against change, there is a significant risk of losing some staff due to the intended change. Stratified desires to accommodate boundary less career which will allow employees from other companies offer them some services while at the same time their employees can work for other organization. Stratified Solutions face a significant risk of losing their best employees to other companies. Such companies are most likely to offer Stratified employees better salaries than Stratified. The cost of implementing the new strategies is also significantly high. Stratified wishes to allow their employees to work from home which implies that the employees have to be provided with all the tools of trade they need for this objective to be realized. The desire to share idea through social media platform will also call for the need to employ new employees who will act as administrators of the various social media accounts.

The third force against change is the disruption which the new strategies will be likely to cause. It is reported that this program would begin with a conversation between board members. The members will also be required to brainstorm ideas. The boundary less career program will be a sort of disruption in that not so many employees are comfortable to co-work with strangers. The intention to demolish bureaucracy is also likely to affect the organization’s environment. The participatory leadership will most likely affect the relationship between employees.

Evaluate the characteristics that may prove beneficial to an individual appointed to a change agent role and demonstrate how they may be utilized when implementing change strategies for Stratified Solution

One of the qualities that may prove beneficial to the individual appointed to head Stratified solution is being tech savvy. In this 21st century, if one is not conversant with computers, then that person is definitely behind the pack. Stratified company needs a leader who understands how to use computers and make it work for the business. Stratified company aims to make use of social media platforms which basically need computers and other high tech gadgets. The company also wishes to encourage their employees to work from the comfort of their homes. This means that the change agent must be extremely be conversant with technology World to make these dreams come true. One of the factors which affect the productivity of Stratified companies is lack of creativity and innovations which have been significantly contributed by bureaucracy. Stratified company needs to end bureaucracy by encouraging participatory leadership. This calls for a participative leader.

Stratified company being a global company faces a lot of expectations from its various stakeholders. The change agent is expected to act as a buffer between the expectations of the stakeholders and what is actually delivered. For instance, the shareholders believe that after implementing the new strategies, their dividends will increase due to reduced cost. If their dividends do not increase, then the change agent needs to find ways of absorbing the new flack he is going to face. As a leader, one will need to find ways of keeping their team motivated especially when the plan does not work out as expected (Putnam,2001). The change agent should also posses the ability to strategize. After the board and other members of the organization have completed the force field analysis, it is important to formulate a clear plan on how to strengthen the force factors and/or how to weaken the restraining factors. In order for this agent to be termed as a good strategist, they need to have knowledge of the industry and how to address various stakeholders. The desired change needs to be realistic and attainable.

The individual should have good financial skills. It is important to have knowledge on the expected financial returns out of intended changes. Stratified wishes to allow their employees work from home and at the same time increase their marketability especially through social media platform. All these initiatives need money and it is the duty of the change agent to evaluate if the expected benefit will exceed the cost incurred. The leader should be in a position to explain how much every activity will spend.

As mentioned earlier, force field analysis needs brainstorming. Brainstorming is well conducted in groups of less than 10 members. This implies that there will be considerably many groups involved in process of analysis. Therefore, the change agent needs to understand how to manage people effectively. Some people mistake team management for autocratic leadership, which involves asserting authority and delegating responsibilities (Poole and Ven, 2004). This should not be the case for the leader appointed to head Stratified change team. A good leader should know how to motivate his team members in a way that every team will feel empowered and part of change team. This creates a productive environment. It is also important for the leader to have skills on how to capitalize on the various strengths and weaknesses of the organization so as to use them for the benefit of the business. The same analytical mind is required when evaluating the strength and weaknesses of the drive and restraining factors.

The change agent also needs to be a good communicator. Communication is a fundamental skill which defines good leadership. Stratified solutions need someone to explain to the employees the challenges the organization is facing. It needs someone who can make the employees understand the position of the organization, where the organization would wish to head and the means to meet their targets. Stratified company is an international company and the change agent will be required to be a good public speaker when addressing employees in different regions on the move the organization is making. Still on communication, the leader needs to have constructive feedback skills.

When implementing a strategy, it is important to monitor its progress and inform the employees on the same (Seo and Hill, 2005). On personal characteristics, the leader needs to be optimistic. With the great changes Stratified solutions is intending to implement, the employees will need someone to assure them that they will not lose their jobs, someone to make them believe change is possible. The leader should also be confident. The idea to advertise through social media needs a lot of confidence to deal with the young generation which is very inquisitive. The other personal characteristic that the change agent needs to posses is flexibility. The leader needs to adapt to possible changing situations. Stratified solution wishes to re-organize its structure from bureaucracy to participatory leadership. The employees will also be allowed to work from the comfort of their homes and avoid going to offices. The leader needs to be in a position to adapt to these changes so that he would by example. An effective change agent also needs to be a self motivated person. They should take charge of what is next for stratified solution.

Present the use and application of a change management model that could be utilized to monitor the effectiveness of change initiatives that may be agreed by the Board of Stratified Solutions

This paper will make use of Lewin’s change management model. It can be argued that change is a common aspect that is experienced through all organizations irrespective of the size, type and age of the organization. The world is changing fast and the organizations need to keep pace with the same dynamism. Businesses that manage change well usually thrive. Lewin’s change management model is one of the cornerstone models that have used for decades to explain how to handle changes in an organization. This model is famously known as Unfreeze-change-then refreeze.

If one has a large cube of ice but then realizes what they need is a cone of ice, what is the most logical thing to do? One will need to melt that ice (unfreeze), then mold the iced water into the desired shape of cone (change). After obtaining the cone, it is then expected to solidify it so as to maintain the new shape. In a simple diagrammatic impression, Lewin’s idea is presented as;

Current position of the business the means to get to the desired position the desired position

By analyzing the change process from this perspective, Stratified solution can prepare itself foe what is ahead and make a feasible plan to handle the transition. To obtain any successful change, it is important to make the employees understand the significance of the change.

This model separates the change process into three distinct steps. The first step is known as the unfreeze stage. This step involves psychologically preparing the members of the organization to appreciate the fact that there is need for change (Woodman and Dewett, 2004). The change agent has to destroy the existing status quo before building up another one. Important to this is developing an inducing message expressing the need to change the way things are done. This is where the change agent of Stratified solution needs to point out the reducing speed of attending to the clients, the low productivity due long distances travelled by their employees to work, declining profits due to the high cost of furnishing their offices among other retrogressive factors. To prepare stratified employees, the change agent needs to begin from the core-there is a need to challenge the existing traditions of the company such as travelling to the work place each day, a need to challenge attitude and the behaviors associated with the organization. Employing the analogy of construction, there is a need to examine and getting ready to change the existing foundation as they may fail to contain the intended changes (Anderson et al., 2002).

The first step of change is very critical because when the change agent begins changing the traditional way of carrying out duties, then all the employees get off balanced. It is at this stage that the process of change faces significant restraining forces. The employees feel that the process is unnecessary distraction that should be avoided (Jacobs and Gerson,2004). These are the forces which are geared towards maintaining the status quo. By inducing stratified solution to re-examine their core values, the change agent is building an environment that will support crises management. This environment in turn builds a strong motivation among employees and makes them collectively seek the desired changes.

The second step is the change stage. After creating uncertainty in the unfreezing stage, the employees will begin to appreciate the new initiatives and with time they will support it. In this stage, communication is the most important factor. It is a stage that tackles all the restraining forces to create room for new initiatives. The third and the final step is refreezing stage. When the employees have started embracing the changes, the change agent should solidify the changes. This is where the changes are internalized for the benefit of the organization. Referring to the case of Stratified solutions, refreezing will imply that the employees will be working from home, boundary less career will be instituted and the organization will observe participatory leadership.

Present a theoretical perspective to identify the emotional impact that may arise when people are presented with a workplace change scenario and identify how this may result in performance issues

Change is inevitable in today’s working environment. Keeping the business running as usual means helping employees adapt to new changes. When the organization is undergoing changes, the employees fear losing their jobs. They also fear getting transferred to new environment (Coffman,2002). The employees have little control over the changes at their work place and this may trigger tensions, anger and other forms of job discomfort. The employees might also channel their energy towards resisting change rather than working as usual. Organizational changes can result out of several reasons such as financial constrains, need to expand markets or even shift in business model. Recent study indicates that whatever force that drives changes, employees always have difficulties adjusting to the new aspects.

A recent Danish research involving over 92,000 employees across nearly 1,500 companies found out that organizational change especially broad changes which affect several departments and generate simultaneous changes, leads to stress to the employees (Kahneman and Krueger,2006). There may be a number of reasons for increased level of stress including fear of what the changes may lead to, perceived unfairness and lack of effective communication by the change agent team. It has also been found out that organizational changes are proclaimed, especially when downsizing is in question, employees will tend to divide themselves into groups. There will be those individuals who will make efforts to control their fate while others will opt to walk out the organization before the changes are instituted (Kreiner and Ashforth,2004). The group in effort to remain as part of the organization will improve the quality of their work and make sure they meet all the deadlines and do all that is possible to impress their supervisors. The employees wishing to make an exit will behave in a directly opposite manner. They will take long lunch breaks, report late to work and leave early.

Some organizational changes call for major reorganization, leading to life changes for some employees. Some of these changes that might be having negative impact to the life of the employee include retrenchment, relocation to another state or town, downgrading in position, elimination of benefits among others . All these can be very frustrating changes to the employees especially those who are supporting families. One of the best ways of handling these changes while maintaining the morale high of the unaffected team is by openly communicating with all organization members every step the change agent is intending to make and treating the affected members with the compassion they deserve.

Conclusions

It can be concluded that no matter the force behind the change, employees have always find it difficult to adjust to the changes. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the change agent to carefully guide the employees through the change process so as to win their cooperation. This is very important because change is quite intricate to implement and manage.