In Module Six, you will discuss a leader of your choice who has led a change effort. To prepare for this upcoming assignment, choose a leader and research them in order to find information about them to answer the questions below.
1. What were the drivers or reasons for the leader to initiate a change effort?
2. What were the hindrances or obstacles that emerged during the change effort?
3. What did you find as the key role the leader had to take in the beginning of the change effort?
4. What was the communication channel the leader used to initiate the change effort?
5. How did the organizational culture play a role in the success or failure of the change effort?
6. What did you learn about the leader you researched that surprised you the most?
Given what you have read, what you learned from the leader that you Journal researched Guidelines and Rubric, and other activities, answer the following question
What are five to seven critical actions needed from a leader in an organizational change effort? Support each action with references.
Submit assignment as a Word document with double spacing, 12-point Times New Roman font, and one in a journal assignment inch margin.
Reading and Resources
Executing Strategic Change: Understanding the Critical Management Elements That Lead to Success The elements needed for strategic change are identified in this article.
Understanding Leaders in Organizational Change Efforts
Leaders have multiple roles in organizational change efforts. The success the leader achieves in these roles will be a major determinant of the success in the change effort. Too many leaders attempt to “delegate” their role and responsibilities in an organizational change effort, preferring to use their energies on other tasks. The problem is this will just not work. No one except the primary leader has the authority, access to resources, systems perspective, and power to get silos with multiple agendas aligned toward the goal of the change effort. How effectively a leader can “make change happen” will define much of the leader’s success throughout his or her career. Failure in a change effort will undermine the ability of the leader to lead. Unfortunately, although leaders have to get it right the first time, the problem is that most leaders have had little or no training in leading organizational change efforts to fruition. Here are a few principles for leader effectiveness in organizational change efforts.
· Leaders need to be clear about the vision and strategy, because these define the targeted hoped-for future and the plan on how to get there.
· Leaders need to understand the underlying pain driving the need for change to be able to communicate that to others. Leaders also need to understand the pain of the change to remove obstacles and provide needed resources, support, and interventions to keep the change moving forward.
· Leaders need to have and maintain a “systems perspective” in organizational change efforts. Forces affect change efforts from a multitude of directions and sources. The leader needs to be able to see what direct impact the change will have on affected areas in the organization and anticipate the “ripple effects” it will have on other organizational areas, as the organization will function as a system whether we want it to or not.
· Leaders need to make communication a priority. This includes directives, of course, but more importantly it requires having multiple communication channels, staying on message in new and interesting ways, creating vehicles for questions to be asked and answered quickly and accurately, creating feedback loops that provide accurate two-way communication, and showing that progress is occurring in the change effort with periodic updates that document successes with evidence. Employees want to be included in these “communication loops.”
· Leaders need to understand underlying principles of organizational change, so knowing Kotter’s eight steps is a great tool to help leaders do their job more effectively. Virtually all large-scale change efforts can be traced back to problems in not being effective in one or more of Kotter’s steps.
· Leaders need to understand that they cannot possibly do it alone. They will need help, particularly in the areas of monitoring, acquiring accurate feedback, operational coordination of work, and in understanding the situational context deeply, prior to taking any needed actions should interventions to “tweak” the change effort need to occur. Leaders are often well served by using a “guiding coalition” (Kotter, 2012) and transition management teams (TMTs).
· Leaders need to be able to anticipate employee and managerial concerns. Being able to do this helps in planning, in implementation, and in avoiding human capital obstacles to the organizational change effort.
· Leaders need operational help to coordinate the various components of the change effort that are occurring concurrently. A good question to reflect on is the following: What needs to be done at the various organizational levels and by the various organizational members for this change to be successful and implemented as smoothly as possible?
· Leaders need to think through the required infrastructure and support components to maintain and sustain the organizational change effort. Not the least of this will be answering the question of how to effectively embed the new demands from the change effort into the organizational culture so that it becomes “the way we do it here.”
· Leaders need to consider transition phases in large system-wide change efforts, so as to not “derail the train.” Going directly from point A to point D may be the goal, but it may not be possible given the current organizational constraints, so to get there, it may be necessary to go from A to B in one phase, from B to C in the next phase, and from C to D in the final phase. This can be difficult for many leaders to accept, as it requires time, resources, ongoing commitment, and only partially fulfilled goal attainment for an extended period of time as the change transition plays out.
· Leaders need to create systems to monitor the implementation of the change effort and to monitor the organizational leaders and managers to ensure that “congruence” toward the goals of the change is occurring. If leaders or managers are seen as not “walking the talk,” it can severely undermine an organizational change effort.
· Leaders need to do everything possible to build and sustain the relationship of trust between them and employees. Trust in the well-meaning, good-faith actions of others is important for honest communication to flow, which is critical in organizational change efforts.
Kotter, J. P. (2012). Leading change. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.