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Essay: Change in business

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  • Change in business
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Human kind has experienced change throughout history, influencing agricultural practices and techniques enabling civilisations to grow and flourish. Change in the way we move around the world and interact with each other has caused change and massive upheaval. Change is natural and inevitable, those who seek to stop change are fighting against the natural force which drives us as humans.

Change is inevitable and essential in business and organisations. It is vital that organisations recognise the need for change in order to compete against theircompetitors. Competition is the main driver for innovation which brings about change. In order to be completive in our industry we must recogise those opportunities that will give us the advantage over our competitors and make those changes to take advantage of those opportunities.

Our company went through a transitional change as we were merged with idverde which and already incorporated the landscape group to create the largest grounds maintenance company in the u.k.This also led to transformational and developmental changes over time as the structure of the merged organisation has solidified and become stronger. This has presented opportunities for further change and development of the business and employees.

Here are some examples of change

Crisis: Obviously September 11 is the most dramatic example of a crisis which caused countless organizations, and even industries such as airlines and travel, to change. The recent financial crisis obviously created many changes in the financial services industry as organizations attempted to survive.

Performance Gaps: The organization’s goals and objectives are not being met or other organizational needs are not being satisfied. Changes are required to close these gaps.

New Technology: Identification of new technology and more efficient and economical methods to perform work.

Identification of Opportunities: Opportunities are identified in the market place that the organization needs to pursue in order to increase its competitiveness.

Reaction to Internal & External Pressure: Management and employees, particularly those in organized unions often exert pressure for change. External pressures come from many areas, including customers, competition, changing government regulations, shareholders, financial markets, and other factors in the organization’s external environment.

Mergers & Acquisitions: Mergers and acquisitions create change in a number of areas often negatively impacting employees when two organizations are merged and employees in duel functions are made redundant.

Change for the Sake of Change: Often times an organization will appoint a new CEO. In order to prove to the board he is doing something, he will make changes just for their own sake.

Sounds Good: Another reason organizations may institute certain changes is that other organizations are doing so (such as the old quality circles and re-engineering fads). It sounds good, so the organization tries it.

Planned Abandonment: Changes as a result of abandoning declining products, markets, or subsidiaries and allocating resources to innovation and new opportunities.

Types of change

There are many issues to consider in managing business change – whether the changes you’re planning are minor or major. The first step in managing your people through change is identifying the type of changes you are making to your business. This step will help you decide how to plan your change process and support your people effectively. There are 3 major types of change.

Developmental change

Developmental changes are those you make to improve current business procedures. As long as you keep your staff well informed of changes, and give them the training they need to implement process improvements, they should experience little stress from development change.

Examples of developmental change include:

improving existing billing and reporting methods

updating payroll procedures

refocusing marketing strategies and advertising processes.

Developmental change may be your first step to making further changes to your business that will help you meet the demands of your market. Managing these small steps well demonstrates to your team that you are taking a sensible, measured approach to change. When making developmental changes, it’s important for you to:

explain to staff your rationale for the changes

skill your staff to use new processes and technology

show your staff your commitment to minimising the impacts of change on your business.

Transitional change

Transitional changes are those you make to replace existing processes with new processes. Transitional change is more challenging to implement and can increase your employees’ discomfort.

Examples of transitional change include:

experiencing corporate restructures, mergers or acquisitions

creating new products or services

implementing new technology.

The ‘transitional’ phase of dismantling old systems and processes and implementing new ones can be unsettling for staff. When making transitional changes, you need to:

clearly communicate the impacts and benefits you foresee as a result of your changes

reinforce to staff that their jobs are secure

capture the views and contributions of your staff in making your changes

regularly update your staff on the steps you are taking to support them through the change and train them in new systems.

Transformational change

Transformational changes are those you make to completely reshape your business strategy and processes, often resulting in a shift in work culture. These changes may be a response to extreme or unexpected market changes. Transformational change can produce fear, doubt and insecurity in staff, and needs to be very well managed.

Examples of transformational change include:

implementing major strategic and cultural changes

adopting radically different technologies

making significant operating changes to meet new supply and demand

reforming product and service offerings to meet unexpected competition and dramatic reductions in revenue.

Transformational changes will usually involve both transitional and developmental change – where businesses recognise that they need to overhaul the way they do business. When making transformational changes, it’s crucial that you:

develop and communicate a well-defined strategy that explains the approaches you are taking to change and the goals you are setting

continually reinforce your rationale for the changes

plan and methodically implement new business systems and approaches

Involve your staff in all phases of change discussions and planning and communicate regularly throughout the process.

PESTLE analysis regarding Idverde Annualised Hours

Political

Austerity reducing government spending

Government budgets affecting local authority spending

Local authorities making budget cuts

local authorities wanting to make use of the third sector

Environmental

Government and Local authorities wanting to reduce pollution and noise levels

Day light working hours during the winter months reducing the actual working hours. Sunrise being 7pm and Sunset 4pm.

Sociological

Lots of re-generation of housing

increase in urban population

change in demographic of park users

Technological

Computer based system to record and manage paperwork submission

Legal

Consultation with the unions.

The Equality Act 2010

parental and carer responsibilities

contractual agree

Economic

Long term contract which has been held in excess of 10 years

No requirement to pay for seasonal staff

SWOT Analysis

Strengths

Expertise of staff

Offer wide range of services

High market share

Good infrastructure

Good H&S culture

Good knowledge of customers

Longer working hours

More productivity

Weaknesses

High cost of labour

Poor use of resources

Machines not working at full capacity

Reduced capital for investment

Opportunities

Increase market share

Branching out into other sectors

More efficient working practices

New services

New machine & suppliers

Threats

Workers getting fatigued

Loss of moral

Work life balance

Not reaching targets

Loss of client confidence

Competitors for business

Security issues

There are many possible benefits of change

Opportunities to growth the business

Opportunities to diversify

Fresh thinking from new people

Employee’sinvolvement

Updated policies and procedures

Change can also be risky

Implementation may not go well creating conflict

New ideas and strategies many not take smoothly disrupting business

The Economic environment may change for the worse

To properly mitigate risk, a project manager must know how to effectively manage it. The inability to ascertain hazards can cause a project to careen off the rails rather quickly. Risk management is a process that begins at the conception of the venture and is followed throughout the life cycle of the project.

Although most project managers are aware of the dangers of avoiding risk, many are not quite sure how the entire process of risk management works or what it even means.

Risk Management

The objective of risk management is to ensure uncertainty never deflects the endeavour from the established business goals. It is a process that includes the identification, assessment and prioritization of risk to control the probability of impact. Now that you have an understanding of risk management, the next question to ask is “what are some risk management techniques?”

Identification

The idea behind this initial process is to recognize, uncover and describe risks that could affect the outcome of your project. The main question here to ask is “what could stop us from reaching our set goals and objectives?” Thinking of risk as a sudden event is a misperception. Identifying an issue and discussing it in advance is the key to beginning the risk management process.

There are a variety of techniques that organizations will use during the identification process to establish solid risk management strategies. The following are a few examples of how people identify corporate risk:

Brainstorming

Interviews and self-assessments

Risk surveys

Event inventories or loss data

Facilitated workshops

Root cause and Checklist analysis

SWOT analysis

Influence diagrams

Expert judgement

Assumption analysis

During this initial phase, any form of analysis is simply for information gathering purposes. Identifying the causes of an issue and developing preventative techniques is the main motivation for identifying risk.

Analysis

Once risks are correctly identified, it is time to analyse them and prioritize that which will have the greatest impact on your project. Assessing the wrong list, or an incomplete list of risks, will do a company no good, so it is critical that you do not skimp on step one.

Once it is time for risk assessment, it is important you have the proper tools at your disposal to effectively mitigate the potential hazard. Risk analysis is generally lumped into two main categories: Qualitative and Quantitative.

Qualitative Risk Analysis

The root word of qualitative is “quality” and that is what these techniques focus on. Qualifying risks under this method involves making a simple list of the risks themselves, along with ranking them and mapping them out. The following are some common tricks used for assessing risks from a qualitative aspect:

Probability and impact assessment and matrix: Analysing and rating risks using probability and impact on things like cost, schedule and performance.

Risk categorization: Grouping risks by common root causes to develop effective responses.

Risk urgency: The risk ranking from your probability matrix combined with urgency can help place risks priorities.

Expert judgment: Professional opinions from people in the industry or with similar project experience.

In addition to looking at the qualities of risks, it is also important to quantify them. Most companies typically use a little of both techniques in their risk management strategies. Quantitative Risk Analysis

These methods are more about definitive measuring and probabilistic techniques. The greatest risk of all is the risk of losing money and you cannot use qualitative systems to count your cost. The following are a few simple ways in which organizations are counting their risks:

Probability distributions: Used in modeling and simulation to represent the uncertainty of values in things like task costs and labor.

Cost and Schedule risk analysis: Cost estimates and scheduling are used as input values that are chosen randomly for each iteration.

Sensitivity analysis: This is a simple technique to determine how much impact a risk poses to a project.

Expected Monetary Value analysis (EMV): Calculating the average outcome of scenarios that may or may not happen.

There are a multitude of methods to “count” risk during the analysis process. Once assessment has taken place, the final stages of planning must begin.

Planning

The question of “what are some risk management techniques?” should never pop up during this phase. At this point, you should already be familiar enough with mitigating risks, that the planning process is the easy part. This final step is more about getting ready for risk and continuous management. The following are some simple techniques that will smooth out the planning process for you:

Assessments and meetings: Ongoing risk assessments and status meetings should be scheduled for reassessment of current risks and the closing of risks. It should always be an agenda at status meetings and a continual topic of conversation.

Risk audits: Examining and documenting how effective current risk responses are is part of the auditing process. It also looks at the efficacy of the risk management process as a whole.

Variance and Trend analysis: Comparing planned results to actual results using performance data to control and monitor risk events.

Technical performance measurement: Comparing technical accomplishments as the project is executed to what is on the main schedule.

Risk management isn’t just about understanding and knowing when risks may arise. It is also planning for them and establishing an ongoing process to continually mitigate risk. A savvy project manager understands that risk is always an element to consider, but it doesn’t have to be a surprise. Through keen identification, assessment and planning, the risk factor is properly mitigated and the project forges on successfully.

(Source: clarizen.com 12-10-2018)

One of the cornerstone models for understanding organizational change was developed by Kurt Lewin back in the 1940s, and still holds true today. His model is known as Unfreeze – Change – Refreeze, which refers to the three-stage process of change that he describes. Lewin, a physicist as well as a social scientist, explained organizational change using the analogy of changing the shape of a block of ice.

If you have a large cube of ice but realize that what you want is a cone of ice, what do you do? First you must melt the ice to make it amenable to change (unfreeze). Then you must mold the iced water into the shape you want (change). Finally, you must solidify the new shape (refreeze).

By looking at change as a process with distinct stages, you can prepare yourself for what is coming and make a plan to manage the transition – looking before you leap, so to speak. All too often, people go into change blindly, causing much unnecessary turmoil and chaos.

To begin any successful change process, you must first start by understanding why the change must take place. As Lewin put it, “Motivation for change must be generated before change can occur. One must be helped to re-examine many cherished assumptions about oneself and one’s relations to others.” This is the unfreezing stage from which change begins.

Unfreeze

This first stage of change involves preparing the organization to accept that change is necessary, which involves breaking down the existing status quo before you can build up a new way of operating.

Key to this is developing a compelling message showing why the existing way of doing things cannot continue. This is easiest to frame when you can point to declining sales figures, poor financial results, worrying customer satisfaction surveys, or suchlike. These show that things have to change in a way that everyone can understand.

To prepare the organization successfully, you need to start at its core – you need to challenge the beliefs, values, attitudes, and behaviors that currently define it. Using the analogy of a building, you must examine and be prepared to change the existing foundations as they might not support add-on storeys. Unless this is done, the whole building may risk collapse.

This first part of the change process is usually the most difficult and stressful. When you start cutting down the “way things are done,” you put everyone and everything off balance. You may evoke strong reactions in people, and that’s exactly what needs to be done.

By forcing the organization to re-examine its core, you effectively create a (controlled) crisis, which in turn can build a strong motivation to seek out a new equilibrium. Without this motivation, you won’t get the buy-in and participation necessary to effect any meaningful change.

Change

After the uncertainty created in the unfreeze stage, the change stage is where people begin to resolve their uncertainty and look for new ways to do things. People start to believe and act in ways that support the new direction.

The transition from unfreeze to change does not happen overnight: people take time to embrace the new direction and participate proactively in the change. A related change model, the Change Curve , focuses on the specific issue of personal transitions in a changing environment and is useful for understanding this aspect in more detail.

In order to accept the change and contribute to making it successful, people need to understand how it will benefit them. Not everyone will fall in line just because the change is necessary and will benefit the company. This is a common assumption and a pitfall that should be avoided.

Tip:

Unfortunately, some people will genuinely be harmed by change, particularly those who benefit strongly from the status quo. Others may take a long time to recognize the benefits that change brings. You need to foresee and manage these situations.

Time and communication are the two keys to the changes occurring successfully. People need time to understand the changes, and they also need to feel highly connected to the organization throughout the transition period. When you are managing change , this can require a great deal of time and effort, and hands-on management is usually the best approach.

Refreeze

When the changes are taking shape and people have embraced the new ways of working, the organization is ready to refreeze. The outward signs of the refreeze are a stable organization chart, consistent job descriptions, and so on. The refreeze stage also needs to help people and the organization internalize or institutionalize the changes. This means making sure that the changes are used all the time, and that they are incorporated into everyday business. With a new sense of stability, employees feel confident and comfortable with the new ways of working.

(Source: MindTools 12-10-18)

2018-10-25-1540496646

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