Change Management Simulation
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There was a dilemma regarding sustainable economic development in my company, Spectrum Sunglass Company. Due to the request of “green” from Bigmart, which was the largest retail customer, my company should have decided whether its strategy plan needed to be adjusted. I was the Director of Product Innovation within the R&D unit, in addition to being a resolute advocate for reducing the company’s dependence on petrochemical raw materials. However, much resistance took place. I had 96 weeks to persuade my superiors and colleagues. I accurately completed my task, but not in the ideal way. It took 96 weeks for me to persuade people, which was neither more nor less than the predicted deadline. This means that my work should have a lot of spaces to improve. My Change Efficiency Ratio was 0.21 which means I convinced 20 people in 96 weeks. 7 people were aware of my assertion during the first week; the first adopter, not including myself, appeared in week 14.
I conducted private interviews with Henry Adams, Paul D’Arcy, Luke Filer and Leslie Harris. Henry was the CEO, so I assumed he would be one of my supporters; Paul and Luke, CFO and COO respectively, were the main opponents of my strategy; as much, I wanted to contract them at beginning. I wanted to make sure Leslie would help me, because she is also an advocate of the plan. Thereafter, the awareness level increased to 6. After week one, I walked the talk, and the interest level increased to 3 in two weeks. This lever did not influence many people. Actually, I wanted to promote awareness as much as possible, but this idea was different from the reality. On week 4, I conducted other private interviews with Andrew Chen, Paul, Deborah and Luke. Andrew was a friend of my CEO; I want to convince him so he could influence Henry laterally. Deborah was the person that had many relationships in the company. I tried to introduce my opinions to her. However, the result proved that private interviews were not as useful as I had anticipated. From week 5 to week 9, I announced goals and deadlines, and privately confront resister; the awareness and interest level did not change significantly.
One more person was aware of my plan; credibility decreased from 9 to 8. These levers are not suitable for the mobilize stage. Convincing to people who have already partly accepted my opinions would be useful; directly confronting resisters would not be a good idea during the mobilize stage. Holding town hall meetings was impactful, but the unawareness was still high. 4 more people became interested and 3 more people wanted to try my plan. On the fourteenth work, the Hurry Adams became an adopter after I conducted the private interviews. I also presented to Andrew, Paul and Luke. Paul and Luke, the resisters, wanted to try my plan. The fact proved that the private interviews were useful in increasing individual’s confidence towards my plan. However the contact group was narrow under this lever. At this time, I had realized that I adopted unsuitable awareness tactics for the mobilize stage. From week 15 to week 47, the unawareness of people decreased from 12 to 9.
During this period, I tried building a coalition of support, conducting private interviews, getting CEO’s public support, conducting pilot project, telling a success story, posting progress reports, issuing e-mail notice, holding town hall meetings, and providing internal skill-building. Those levers impact little to unaware unit, but impact a lot in interesting and trial level. I received 4 in trial units and 6 in adoption units. Throughout these weeks, many top managers became advocates of my plan. Although I obtained some supporters due to my efforts during those 47 weeks, I still failed to introduce my plan to the whole company. This failure also weakened the levers impact, because if more people aware my plan, the levers would change more people’s opinions that push them into interest, trial and adoption unit from aware unit. After I announced goals and deadlines again, all people were aware of my plan, and two more people adopt it. My original purpose was emphasizing the urgency, and all people knew that. This proved that the same lever would have different power depending on the situation and stage.
The following things were simple after everyone knew my plan. I issued an e-mail notice to grab people’s attention. 5 people expressed their interests. None was in unaware and aware unit until week 55. I conducted private interviews and walked the talk, which were successful. 6 people were interested, 1 person was trial, and 9 people had adopted. I chose an abortive lever that got the CEO’s public support. Unfortunately, this lever was not effect in anytime. I lost so many weeks by using this lever. There was a big change in week 59 when I held town hall meetings. Trial units increased to 5. At this point in time, 4 people had been interested, 6 people had been trial, and 10 people had adopted. After week 59, I wasted 20 weeks, since there were no alternation among interest, trial, and adoption. I conducted private interviews, issued e-mail notice, revised reward system, and built a coalition of support to convince the 10 un-adoption individuals.
However, the data did not change until I held town hall meetings on week 79; there were 10 interest people, and 10 adoption people after week 79. Over the remaining weeks, the most effective lever was “walk the talk”. Due to me “walking the talk”, I persuaded 9 people. During the last week, I conducted a private interview with Anne Thompson, and successfully accomplished my goal. Posting progress reports, building a coalition of support, and announcing goals and deadlines appeared to be ineffective throughout this period. I learned something from the articles. First, there is a relationship between success and persistence. According to the article, success will foster persistence. In this case, if my plan success or the people consider I am right when they tried, my plan will be persist. However, this attribute would generate a conservative result. Many people would like to retain the proven competencies, since doing so is more efficient than developing another unknown scenario. (Audia, P., E. Locke, and K. Smith. 2000) I am interesting on that because I think this concept incurred a two side situation.
The positive part means success strengthen the advantage, but the negative result is that the more the advantage, the more resistance to change. I find another useful concept in one of the articles. There are six steps to effective change. First, we should define the problem in the organization. Second, the managers should build some new roles that unite most of people toward a task-aligned vision. Third, managers should make sure that employees realize the new vision required, and foster this consensus. Fourth, members of all departments should interact with the change, but the change shouldn’t be pushed from superior. That why I always failed by getting supports from CEO. Fifth, managers should institutionalize revitalization. In sunglass case, my company should build new operation system to fit the new resource; capital flow would be change by additional investment. Last step is feedback. Managers should monitor how the change going on and adjust it if necessary. (Beer, M., R. A. Eisenstat, and B. Spector. 1990)
There are some suggestions. Managers should primarily determine resources they owned to face the change. What they can do is most important to look for resources. Managers need determine scope of change by resources they owned. After that, managers should explore the value offered by the change. If there is no value, it is still ok. The most significant is that managers should define the problem clearly, and make sure that employees are ensconced in active organization. (Christensen, C. M., and M. Overdorf. 2000) I am also interested in challenges of strategy execution. There are some financial pressures from shareholders; organizations become more complex than last century; the balance between organization’s long-term development and manager’s current performance; there are poor communications among managers across different departments in the early stage of strategy execution; and last challenge is that to ensure resource appropriate allocation is difficult. (Franken, A., C. Edwards, and R. Lambert. 2009) Known these challenges, I would solve the conflicts pertinently.
For example, I would know why CFO and COO resist my plan. My plan would negatively impact their performance because the liquidity and productive competence of the company would decrease, and then decrease their achievement in short-term. Therefore, I would find some action to stimulate their grade. I would suggest issue stock to purchase the new equipment, so that the liquidity would not decrease. I would use some qualitative analysis such as factor analysis, correlational analyses, regression analyses, and sampling, into my interview processes. (Higgs, M., and D. Rowland. 2005) The results from qualitative analysis would identify the relationship between different contexts and success. The most difficult part is collecting data. Historical data would be huge and would not reflect the future trend. The data come from estimation would have errors. However, these analysis methods would still be my reference to find the point of penetration when I prepared persuation.
Christensen, C. M., and M. Overdorf. 2000. Meeting the challenge of disruptive change. Harvard Business Review 78 (2): 66-76.
Beer, M., R. A. Eisenstat, and B. Spector. 1990. Why change programs don’t produce change. Harvard Business Review (November–December): 2-11.
Audia, P., E. Locke, and K. Smith. 2000. The paradox of success: An archival and laboratory study of strategic persistence following radical
environmental change. The Academy of Management Journal, 43 (5): 837-854.
Franken, A., C. Edwards, and R. Lambert. 2009. Executing strategic change: Understanding the critical management elements that lead to success. California Management Review (Spring).
Higgs, M., and D. Rowland. 2005. All changes great and small: Exploring approaches to change and its leadership. Journal of Change Management 5 (2): 121-151.