Initiating Change from Within
There is an old saying that goes, “the only thing permanent in life is change”, this holds true for almost everything in life. Even our bodies attest to that fact. We are not the same physiologically, mentally and psychologically as we were, say, ten years ago. Change is inherent in the world that we live in.
If change is something that is inherent in nature, it seems that resisting change is something that comes with it naturally. All our lives we try to resist change, our life is somewhat a constant struggle against change. Resisting change is something that many people tend to do in many situations. We sometimes can get so comfortable with what we have as of the moment and as human beings will struggle to hang on to it at all costs. It is but normal for anyone to hang on to circumstances that we are comfortable with and resist lest we lose the things we have worked so hard for. As people we are inherently hypocritical and will only espouse the change that will benefit us (Cummings, 2008). It is quite ironic though that even though change is something of a constant in life we tend to fight it as soon as we see it. But what is change anyway?
Change actually implies a marked transformation in situation, a relationship or an organization (Wamwangi, 2003). In effect it is actually something new or different from what we are used to. Even though as I have said we do not like change there are instances wherein we are thrust into situations that require us to be the ones who effect change. This is usually the case when we are thrust into leadership roles. But the fact that you are not a leader does not discount you from effecting change. We are all as capable of effecting change as the next person.
As ironic as it may seem, change for some reason does not happen the way we want it to, it may happen but not in the way expect it to be. In order to come up with desired changes we can use strategies to come up with results. In the book “Handbook of Organization Development”, (2008) there were four strategies enumerated and they are; empirical rational strategy, power coercive, normative re-educative and advancing change theory (Cummings, 2008). In an ideal world we can just choose one and all will be fine, but in reality there are times when we need to apply one over the other or apply a combination (Nickols 2010). Prior to articulate Luca ’ s experience as change leader, a reflection on his personal experience and psychological state turns to be important.
1 3.1 The organizational context in which the change strategy evolved
Luca joined in 2008 a major insurance group as the Financial Director. He was given the task of setting many projects in order and working with difficult people.
As a financial director he was tasked with heading a very big division, one that had a very diverse composition. It was not just a racially diverse group. That was not the problem. His problem was old: the different personalities and attitudes that made up his division. This was compounded by the fact that since he was back in a company he had to report to someone higher up the chain than him. He was now again reporting to a boss, as such his every move is scrutinized and needs to be justified. He needed to provide results.
2 3.2 The challenges
One of the most challenging tasks that he was given was that of reorganizing and restructuring his division and re-engineer the financial processes for the group. He needed to make his division more streamlined as well as working processes so that the company could have worked more effectively and efficiently.
His division was very top heavy and there were many redundant positions. And the task was not easy due to the negative climate that permeated his division. Most the people there were very negative and had abrasive attitudes.
The people in his division did not respond to leadership properly and were very resistant to...