The Heart of Change
A Review by
Technology is forcing organizations to change, sometimes rapidly, if they are to survive in today’s world. Thanks to advanced communication, globalization, and computerization, these changes must be anticipated and accepted as the new norm. Understanding, accommodating, and using change are now part of a manager’s job requirement. Resisting the reality of change will lead to conflict, reduced performance, job dissatisfaction, decreased morale, and increased turnover (Ivancevich, Konopaske, & Matteson, p.7-9). In The Heart of Change, John Kotter and Dan Cohen interview hundreds of successful leaders to identify the key to successful change. According to Kotter and Cohen, change is successful when you make people feel differently. Emphasis is placed on the “see-feel-change” dynamic. Successful change does not come from analysis and reports. Instead, people must be shown the problems how and to solve them, ultimately changing their behavior (Kotter &Cohen, p.7). These people must physically “see” a problem, “feel” a sense of urgency to fix the problem, only then will they begin to “change” their behavior. This “see-feel-change” concept is used throughout the eight-step process described by Kotter and Cohen in order to implement successful organizational change. Discussion
Step 1: Increase Urgency
The biggest obstacles that stop the launch of change are complacency, immobilization, hesitation, and the “you-can’t-make-me-move” mentality (Kotter & Cohen, p. 17). These behaviors stem from arrogance, fear, pessimism, and sometimes anger, all of which result in resistance to change. To overcome these obstacles, management must create a sense of urgency to create new and positive emotions in these employees (Ivancevich, Konopaske, & Matteson, p.106). This can be done with an inspirational speech, or even a video from a previously-loyal-now-unhappy client. Whatever vehicle used, management must “go after the emotions [of employees] with concrete, smellable evidence” (Kotter & Cohen, p.30). This was exactly what was done in the story from “Gloves on the Boardroom Table” (Kotter & Cohen, p. 28) and “The Videotape of the Angry Customer” (Kotter &Cohen, p.18). Management must be careful to create a sense of urgency without instilling fear or anger, unless it can be turned into a positive energy. Fear and Anger lead to self-preservation instead of organizational transformation (Kotter & Cohen, p.27). Many times, employees know that the old way is no longer working, and they just need clarity of direction. Management must create emotions so powerful, that each person feels it within their being the need for action. Step 2: Build the Guiding Team
Once a sense of urgency is created, people are more willing to help, even with the knowledge of increased risk and decreased personal reward. This is the time to build a powerful guiding team, made up of the right people, with the right leadership capacity, positive teamwork skills, credibility, and with the right connections (Kotter & Cohen, p. 37, 43). This may mean that the current management team is no longer appropriate, even if they are considered “good” people. What has worked in the past no longer applies (Kotter & Cohen, p. 47). According to Ivancevich, Konopaske, & Matteson, the new guiding team should contain people with the Big Five Personality Dimensions. Extroverts tend to be sociable, gravitating others toward them. Those with high emotional stability are associated with high levels of employee motivation. These people and also tend to be more agreeable, maintaining good interpersonal relationships with others. The guiding team should made up of conscientious people who are dependable, organized, and responsible. The team should be made up of people who are open to experience. These people are willing to take risks, are creative, and...
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