Which leadership and change management methods are the most efficient when rolling-out a new workflow to a group?
The main aim of this report is to analyze the various methods of introducing a new workflow in an organization. It also looks at the leadership methods that can be used when rolling out a new workflow in an organization. With the rapid development of technology, organizations are finding themselves having to make changes frequently. This comes at a cost as besides buying new equipment, the staff has to be trained on the new methods of doing things around the office. It is therefore critical for the organization to harmonize the methodologies of successfully implementing such changes.
The subject of this literature review is important to organizations seeking to implement change and especially change which involves a change in the workflow.
Organizations are faced with the need to implement change as a result of factors either within their control or beyond their control. For instance the government may pass legislation affecting the running of a business. The organization may also be forced to implement change as a result of a merger or an acquisition. If organizations do not respond to the need to change they might become irrelevant in the environment they operate in. This may affect their ability to continue operating as a going concern.
The specific aspects of the topic that will be discussed in this literature review are how the new workflow will allow users to guide themselves through the proper questions, instructions and next steps of processes. A properly utilized workflow allows managers and leadership to track process step cycle time, track total cycle times, accurately tally specific criteria and obtain a compilation of accurate reports. The main purpose of a workflow is to provide data that can be used to improve processes.
Workflows help people to collaborate on documents and to manage project tasks by implementing specific business processes on documents. A good workflow helps an organization to adhere to common business processes, and improve organizational efficiency and productivity by managing the tasks and steps involved in specific business processes. This enables the people who perform these tasks to concentrate on performing the work rather than managing the workflow.
The analysis of literature on change management and leadership methods will enable us to come up with the best way of implementing change in an organization. The literature will consider the issue of organizational change and its impact on the employees. Most of the literature on this topic emphasizes on change being implemented with urgency, consultation and with the necessary back up measures.
Most of these sources are relevant to the question of leadership and change implementation. However it is also necessary to look at other sources. The theories of leadership and change management borrow heavily from other fields. These include sociology, business administration, economics, systems engineering, industrial engineering and study of human behavior and organizational behavior. For example since change is applied to human beings, it is important to study human behavior and psychology to get a better understanding on how well to implement change.
From the various sources of literature, the general theme is giving change a human face. The emphasis is on involving as many people as possible in as many ways as possible in the process of change. In modern day organizations change is no longer the preserve of the management only. Most articles emphasize that for change to be meaningful and widely accepted in an organization, the employees must be involved in the whole process of change. Imposing change in an organization has become a thing of the past. You also must constantly get feedback on the progress and achievements of change.
The Change Process:
The process of change has been characterized as having three basic stages. These are unfreezing, changing, and re-freezing. (Argyris, C. and Schoen, D.A). Unfreezing ensures that the project begins smoothly without hitches. The main aim of this process is to carry out a proper analysis of the change to be implemented including a cost-benefit analysis. Unfreezing also involves moving from the old to the new. Lastly this stage involves making a plan on how to implement change successfully after all the factors have been taken into consideration.
The move process involves establishing a successful foundation for the change process. It entails helping employees understanding individual tasks involved in the change process (Brown, J., and Duguid, P 1991 pg 40-57). It is also the beginning of implementation of the change process and making follow ups. The final process at this stage is to ensure that change is widely accepted across the board.
The freeze stage is the final stage and ensures a proper ending. It focuses on establishing new rules and policies. It also involves motivating employees and educating them on the benefits of the change introduced. Finally this stage involves evaluating the success or failure of the whole process.
The Responsibility of Management in Implementing Change:
There are two types of leadership styles useful in the reorganization process. These are charismatic and instrumental leadership (Argyris, C. and Schoen, D.A).A charismatic leader brings forth a vision, sets and demonstrates high expectations and shows support and confidence for his employees. This kind of leadership is necessary but not adequate for effective organization reorganization.
On the other hand, instrumental leadership focuses on managing teams, structures and managerial processes. It focuses on modeling consistent behaviors that support the change process. Therefore for change to be effective, leadership must possess charisma and a significant amount of instrumental.
The responsibility of managing change lies with the management. Managers have a duty to facilitate change, communicate change with the employees and then finally together implement the change (Hammer, M., and Champy, J 1993). The top management should be united and work together. They should have a powerful vision which should be communicated throughout the organization.
In a successful change process, managers must seek clear performance improvements, establish goals and objectives in the yearly planning system and reward the team involved in the reorganization of the company. (Nadler, D. A., & Tushman, M. L.1990)
The top management must also lead by example. They must show new attitudes, values and behaviors. They must also communicate how change has improved performance. Furthermore, management must be able to expect, initiate, lead and manage change (Nadler, D. A., & Tushman, M. L.1990) Studies have shown that most companies maintain a particular system for a given period but they also introduce and implement change according to the changes in the environment and organizational needs. Sometimes reorganization may fail but failure to initiate this process may result in poor performance by the organization. Therefore it is better foe the management to initiate change than fail to do so. Generally the management has a big role to play in the implementation of change.
Change must be agreeable:
Before you start implementing change, ensure that every step of the process is agreeable to all. Change should never be sold. (Nadler, D. A., & Tushman, M. L.1990) Do not try to make the change appealing to people while it is not. If there are areas that have not been agreed upon, address them before proceeding to the next stage. Change must be agreed upon unanimously. Everyone involved should see the sense and the need for change without it being sold to them. Selling change might work in the short term but in the long term it is bound to fail.
There are several ways through which change can be communicated in an organization. An internal memo can be issued with regard to the changes to be made. A special meeting can also be called to introduce the change. However sensitive aspects of the organizational change should be communicated directly or face to face with the employees. (Hammer, M., and Champy, J 1993). The management should seek the employees’ opinions with regard to the change to be effected and then decide how best to implement the change.
The time of implementing Change:
The time span in which change is to be implemented must be taken into consideration. Change should not be implemented too fast neither should it be implemented over a long period of time (Nadler, D. A., & Tushman, M. L.1990).Introducing change too fast may lead to a failure of the whole process as people as mostly likely to misunderstand the change and reject it. On the other hand introducing change over a long period of time may make it meaningless. The time for introducing change should be precise and sufficient for the change to be implemented.
Implementing Change through Workshops:
Where organizational change requires new processes or objectives for a group of people, workshops may prove to be very useful. Through workshops, people get to interact with each other and can discuss the effect change is going to have on them as well as the organization (Hammer, M., and Champy, J 1993). People can also freely ask questions about the changes to be implemented which would otherwise be impossible in the normal job situation.
Change management writers:
John Kotter is a change management writer who through his works has come up with a model for understanding and managing change. The model is summarized into steps.
The first step involves communicating the urgency for change. (Kotter, J. P). This involves entails inspiring people to start accepting and making changes. At this stage you have set objectives that are relevant to the change process.
The second step involves building a team that will oversee the change process. The team must posses the necessary skills and be committed to change. The step involves getting the team to formulate their own vision and strategy. Their focus should be on emotional and necessary for them to accept change.
The third step is about involving people fully in the change process. At this level you must communicate the basics and address peoples’ needs.
The fourth step involves making sure there are no hindrances to the change process. At this stage feedback from the previous stages must be worked on. (Kotter, J. P).The achievements made by the team must be recognized and rewarded.
In the fifth step Kotter emphasizes on working one day at a time. Do not bite more than you can chew. Before you go to the next stage, make sure you are done with all the issues in the previous stage.
In the sixth step the management team is encouraged to persist with the change process. As long as the change has a positive impact on the organization, keep on working on the changes. (Kotter, J. P) Highlight the positive impact the change has had on the organization and encourage people to see the positive aspects of the change introduced.
Finally make change to be part of the organizational culture. Enforce change and make sure the organization does not revert to the old ways. Also recruit people who are committed to enforcing changes in the organization.
In general no two organizations are exactly alike. Therefore you cannot prescribe the formula for managing change for a specific organization. Organizations can be manufacturing, service providers, wholesale, retail, profit or non profit. Before you begin the change process it is advisable to analyze the organization and tailor the change according to the need of the organization.
The change theories are useful in analyzing change management and leadership. However there are some aspects of change management that should further be looked into. For instance sometimes you may be forced to implement without consulting the employees. This is mostly as a result of environmental factors. (Kotter, J. P). For instance if there is increased competition leading to the reduction of market share of a company, the management may be forced to introduce drastic measures in the organization. This may lead to the laying off of workers which may not be pleasant to them but necessary for the company to continue operating as a going concern. In such instances you just have to do what is necessary and hope that the employees will understand.
As much as the change process lies with the management, the employees also have a part to play. First of all they should try to understand why the change is necessary and provide cooperation and support to the management in implementing change (Kotter, J. P). Secondly, the staff should also contribute their ideas on how the change should be managed. This is because they are the recipients of change and therefore they might have better ideas on how to mange the change.
Finally the management should try as much as possible to introduce change in a humane manner not just imposing the change. They have to empower the employees through the change process by giving them authority in change management.
The team involved in change management must also be in touch with the organization’s needs. Change may take time to internalize depending on how it is introduced and therefore the management must come up with the best way to introduce change by carefully analyzing the organization at the time of introducing change.
The leadership of the organization is the agents of change. There cannot be meaningful in the organization if the management is not committed to change. The management must demonstrate they understand the change in order for other members of the organization to emulate them.
Change at times may take time to be implemented successfully but that does not mean that the organization should give up on the change process. More time should be allocated to the process and staff should undergo training regularly
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