The Heart of Change
Kent R. Uphoff
MNGT 5590-QE (ONLINE)
7 May 2012
Organizations are changing at a record pace to keep up with a business environment that demands more from less. Some organizations are doing a good job of changing to meet new performance requirements. These organizations know that change is the rule and that they will need to master change to continue to make it. But not all companies have grasped the importance of becoming skilled and proficient at change. Many companies are still hanging on to the old way of doing business; don’t worry about this latest change, it too shall pass. Even so, many organizations change: approaches that make a little success at best and, in many cases, outright failure. John Kotter and Dan Cohen identify “The Eight Stages of Successful Large Scale Change”. The core of the matter is always about changing the behavior of people, and behavior change happens in highly successful situations mostly be speaking to people’s feeling. These stages are factors in the work environment that influence employee change motivation and therefore performance. The Eight Stages for Successful Large-Scale Change are: Increase Urgency, Build the Guiding Team, Get the Vision Right, Communicate for Buy-In, Empower Action; Create Short Term Wins, Don’t Let Up, and Make Change Stick. Organizations no longer need to muddle through changes. There are great models in Change Management and they challenge us to do a better way when implementing change. I will discuss these eight stages that employees must meet to remain motivated and meet the challenges, ups and downs, and disappointments of change in the workplace. In addition, I will compare and contrast issues from our text as it relates To the Heart of Change. As more firms begin to learn how to use the knowledge for mastering change, the overall state of organizational change will be for the better and folks will not be afraid of it.
If change is now the rule; what are the implications? How about: I better get good really good at it! If change is the rule I better get the right attitude! If change is the rule, I better get good at communicating it! (Holland 2000). To understand why some companies are jumping into the future with more success than others, you need to first see how these large –scale change projects flow. In almost all cases, there is a rhythm, a set of eight steps that few people handle well. I have been fortunate to have been involved in several successful change management projects over the years. One project that comes to mind is “The Big Move from Nebraska to Texas”. Here was the situation: Husker Gas had a business unit in Columbus, Nebraska, approximately 1,500 miles from its corporate headquarters in Houston, Texas. The Columbus unit originally was an independent business that was acquired several years ago by Husker Gas. Now, in order to gain a competitive edge, Husker’s leadership faces the task of streamlining and cutting costs by integrating the Columbus unit into the facility in Houston in its move toward the digital oilfield. The move will eliminate a duplication of functions, resulting in an opportunity for the company to realize substantial cost savings. In addition, the move will allow key employees to communicate better with one another and improve the company’s drilling success.
Columbus, Nebraska is a rural community, and the Husker employees there have not had to put up with the difficulties of big-city life. The working atmosphere at the Columbus facility is very comfortable and everyone knows each other. The employees have good working relationships with one another, and they participate actively in decisions that affect them.
As this change was introduced, it was not welcomed with open arms. These folks are simple; they love their city and state. They see no need to relocate, why can’t they stay where their children were born and all their...
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