Essay: Understanding Leadership & Change

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  • Understanding Leadership & Change
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There is a well-known saying that ‘the only thing that is constant is change’ this also means that change is unavoidable. Rosabeth Moss Kanter of Harvard business states that ‘the world is changing, and the business environment is also changing which means that the business organisation must change so they can adapt to the changing environment. Businesses like ToysRus and house of Fraser that refuse to adapt to changes have left the market.

In today’s dynamic business environment, organisations must be patient and be prepared to respond to changes to survive. This report also addresses some issues affecting businesses such as change management, change for both internal and external drivers will be considered also with reference to theories and concepts. The report will discuss the effect of change within organisations and the measures taken by businesses to address them.

P1: Compare different organisational examples where there has been an impact of change on an organisation’s strategy and objectives (Part A)

Argos was established on 13th of November 1972 by Richard Tompkins, who is the founder of the business Green shield stamps scheme, who later rebranded the business to Argos. They were firstly purchased by BAT industries in 1979 and was then listed on the London stock exchange in 1990. In April 1998 GUS plc bought the company, and Argos became part of the Home retail group. When GUS split in 2006, Finally Sainsbury bought the company in 2016 for £1.4 billion.

Curry’s is a British electrical retailer that operates in the UK and ROI and was originally owned by Henry Curry. He sold bicycles in the shop before he moved on to technology and appliances. Then Dixons Carphone bought the place in 1994.

Curry’s PC world decide to take their consumers feedback mainly on problems in their business for long term problems whilst Argos has decided to have dedicated teams in their business to identify and sort out long-term problems in the business. It is good to have your customers tell you what is wrong in your business in the long term but in my opinion having professional experts that know how to identify problems will be more efficient.

These businesses are both mainly in the UK and recently in the short-term changes of the business Brexit has impacted both Curry’s and Argos. Some short-term changes they have done to survive through Brexit is that they considered live deal discussions, they had to think about their employees as new laws could have some EU employees in the UK to stop working, one of the main things they had to focus on was supplies as supplies coming from parts of the EU may be prohibited.

The Change impact analysis is defined by Bohner and Arnold as ‘identifying consequences of change or estimating what should be modified to deal with the change.’ They can focus on the impact analysis in the terms of finding changes within the details of the design. On the other side, Pfleeger and Atlee decided to focus on the risks that are related to change and state that Bohner and Arnolds impact analysis can have many risks such as estimates of the resources, effort and schedule.

P2: Evaluate the ways in which internal and external drivers of change affect leadership, team and individual behaviours within an organisation.

Leaders can influence and help guide colleagues under them, so the organisation can be more effective in achieving their goals. Some leadership styles that are affected by external factors are organisational environment, organisational resources, employee roles, organisational culture, political factors and technology

Organisations have their own work environments with their own values. These values are the care the organisation has for their community, staff, investors and customers and also determine how the business will be led.

Leaders are dependent on their organisation’s resources such as technology, finance and physical resources to help achieve their goals. The success of an organisation depends on how well resources are handled and distributed.

When employees take an important role in the organisation. Their position is defined by tasks and responsibilities that they have. Each employee has a different way in approaching tasks that can impact their career. They also effect the organisation by their work ethics and personal values. Each role will have difficulties that leaders must face to help the business.

The culture of an organisation is a mix of present and past leaders. Normally it is difficult to change the culture of a business as it is long held and is a tradition in the business. This can affect how a business leader acts and makes decisions for the business.

Leaders must have good knowledge about their suppliers, customers and competitors if they want to determine economic and current political factors that have affected the market place.

Technology can dramatically change the business market. Leaders must change their management styles so they can help the company adjust to new technology. Research and development can also help leaders create new techniques that make their work easier.

Every team can have their own culture. Everything that impacts a team’s ability to complete tasks can change whether or not the organisation succeeds. Internal factors determine how the organisation can move forward.

Why do teams exist and what are their purpose? Answering these questions can show an organisations mission. A successful team has a clear task and vision and intends to complete the task for example, Steve Jobs mission statement for Apple was that he wanted to ‘make a contribution to the world’ and when someone asked how he would do that he said, ‘by making tools for humankind.’

Teams that communicate with each other well are the ones that succeed more often. Team leaders and members of the team communicate easily and often so they can improve outcomes. This communication style can help get everyone involved and share ideas with each other. Teams with no communications have bad leadership structures that can break trust between team members.

Some external factors that can affect organisations are political, economic, social and technological. The internal factors that effect a team’s success also characterizes the organisations relationship to the external environment in these areas. Leaders that are able to learn and communicate what they have learnt with their team can also learn from the team’s environment and communicate well with it, which will result in exchange of ideas that benefit both the team and organisation.

Employees are normally the biggest critics for a boss. Some internal factors that affect the individual employees’ behaviour directly link to mangement.

A survey of about 1000 UK workers found out that 91% of them said that ‘lack of communication’ had prevented their managers from being effective in their workspace. To improve communication skills the managers should recognize employee achievements and credit them for good ideas, speak to them politely and always check on them and help them if they need any.

Management and leadership are 2 very different things. In a business anyone who is in a position of authority over others is considered as a manager. This position does not relate to leadership as it requires more skills. Leaders have to set a tone for the organisation, show respect and include everyone. They have to also be inspiring and know that they are judged by their actions. They will also receive criticism if they make tough, but unpopular decisions.

External factors that influence employee behaviour can be wide ranging and uncontrollable. How the employee responds to these factors will vary. For example, the election of new governments can cause extreme anger for some whilst it can cause joy for another side.

To help business owners assess these external factors, there is the PESTLE analysis which stands for political, economic, social, technological, legal and environment. This should give the business owners a good view of political factors, that include government, trade and tax policies that can affect employees, economic factors, such as supply and demand, social factors which can be influenced by trends and cultural changes. Technological factors, which include changes made by new tech. Environmental factors which can cover ecological and environmental issues that employees may face and legal factors, which require looking through everything from health and safety requirements to labour and consumer protections.

P3: Evaluate measures that can be taken to minimise negative impacts of change on organisational behaviour.

Change in an organisation can affect very important parts of your business like your employee. Losing them is mainly due to recruitment costs and time involved to get an employee into your business. Every time an employee leaves a business, important knowledge also leaves with them.

A change management plan supports smooth transitions between changes and can ensure your employees are happy with them. Approximately 70% of change initiatives fail because of the negative employee attitudes and bad management behaviours. Using professional change management can help you reduces failing to create change in your business.

To apply a change management, plan the business should firstly make sure the reasons for the change are clearly defined. When stakeholders can understand the reasons for the change, they are more likely to support the change rather than to resist the change.

Next, they should determine the scope, they should identify who this change will affect and think about what it will impact. Then they have to identify stakeholders and the change management team. The best practices in change management is to include task force or teams that own organisational change and is made to execute it. The composition of this team is very important and must be led by a good leader. The management team will interact with stakeholders and address concerns they may have.

Next, they will need to clarify benefits and define then clearly so everyone can understand what they will gain from this.

Some other measures that can be taken to minimise employee resistance to change is to not think or believe that the only thing that will come out of this change is resistance and negativity from employees. Instead, changes should be introduced with a positive spirit and believe that employees will want to cooperate, make the best out of what you have, if you can apply all of these to your business your employees will support your decisions for the business.

In the best-case scenario, every employee should be able to have the chance to talk about change and provide feedback on it. This should depend on how big the change is and how many people it will impact. In a companywide change effort, the employee input will likely affect how change is implemented, not whether or not to make the changes. In some cases, leadership teams are established. These teams will contain a range of employees across the organisation. Or they are all staffed by managers and senior leaders of the business.

If communication is a strength in your organisation, the input opportunities will reach out to everyone in the organisation. But most of the time this often isn’t the case as input and feedback will mainly come from the senior managers and leaders in the business.

P4: Explain different barriers for change and determine how they influence leadership decision making given organisational context

One barrier that organisations face when coming to change is that they normally fear the unfamiliar. If you are standing still, you are going backward. This is definitely the case for businesses that cannot embrace change and the positive outcomes from it. However, those who can overcome this fear of unfamiliar things are able to successfully implement new strategies and practises for their business.

For example, in 2008 The Spanish banking giant Santander had entered the British market through its owner Abbey National, Bradford and Bingley, and Alliance and Leicester. Some considered this as being a difficult challenge for them to implement their working practises into their business, but they managed to get through this and now have become one of the UK’s largest retail banks.

Ineffective leadership can also be a barrier for change as well. If employees cannot embrace new changes in their workplace, the implementation will be a failure. A large amount of business CEO’s that attempt to bring in new working practises say that this is what they worry about often. Many employees, mainly ones that have worked at an organisation for a long time normally worry that change being implemented will cause them to find it hard to work and may even lose their job.

The third barrier is having a broken communication between the managers and the employees of the organisation. Everyone should be involved in the change to ensure a successful outcome. Also, at this stage clear and decisive communication is crucial.

Change, especially in big businesses, can be very complex and a long process to some. Also, the large scale and complexity of the change can become one of the most significant barriers in change management.

Force field analysis
The force field analysis was created by Kurt Lewin in the 1940s. Lewin originally used it in his work as a social phycologist. However, today it can also be used in business to make decisions.

The first step to use this tool is to describe your vision. This can be your vision for a change in the business or a plan for your business.

Next, you will need to find forces that are driving change, these can be either external or internal. Some examples for internal drivers could be having outdated technology, lack of motivation and a need to increase sales. External drivers could be a dangerous working environment, disruptive technologies and a change in customer trends.

Now, you should look at the forces against change. Some internal forces are fearing change or existing organisational structures. External factors could be Government legislation or obligation toward consumers.
Next you should compare forces for and against change and see which has a higher score. This could help you find out whether to apply the change to your business or not.

Finally, you should use and apply your force field analysis. You can use it to decide whether to change or not or use it to see if you can make the change more successful.

Schein’s organisational culture

In the 1980s the American management professor Edgar Schein had developed an organisational culture model to make the culture more visible within an organisation. He had also indicated some steps to follow to bring cultural change.

Artefacts and symbols

Artefacts can mark the surface of the organisation. They can be the visible elements in the organisation such as logos, design and structure. These should be visible to employees and managers in a business.

Espoused values

This normally concerns standards, values and rules of conduct. Questions that this ask are how does the organisation express strategies, objectives and philosophies and how can they make this public? Problems tend to arise when the ideas of the managers aren’t in line with the organisation.

Base underlying assumptions

The basic underlying assumptions are deeply hidden in the organisations structure and are concerned with the behaviour of the employees. They should always make sure that the employee understands their task and can complete it.

P5: Apply different leadership approaches to dealing with change in a range of organisational contexts.

Change is one of the unavoidable aspects of businesses and in life. Some people find it hard or challenging to deal with change and their attitude towards change can affect how they grow. However, some leaders can embrace the change and deal with it in positive ways. Leaders also have to deal with the change personally and help others in the business stay positive. These are 8 ways that leaders can deal with change.

They must be flexible and know ahead of time that some things will definitely change and when they do, the leader must embrace and move through the change. If a leader is inflexible the changes will still come, and they will find it hard to cope with.

They must also be accountable and know that when the situation around them changes, they must try and take charge. Leaders will need to take responsibility for what is happening and work with their colleagues to help others deal with the change. If they deal with the changes head-on, so will the colleagues around them.

Situational leadership

Effective leadership is important to an organisation’s success. Leaders can communicate their company’s message, assign work to employees and motivate them. Leadership styles tend to depend on the managers personality. A company should select a leader with a personal style that can coordinate with the employees needs and be able to lead the business through change.

Situational leaders should normally adjust their style of leading change according to the style of their colleagues. The situational leadership style can match the 4 leadership styles to the 4 levels of employees. The developmental level of an employee depends on whether they are motivated in their work or if they have enough skill. For example, employees may not be motivated much and have little skill, this would require the leader to go to the same level as the employee and help them with anything.

Providing motivation for employees when they go through the change can help provide a motivating environment. Employees can receive the help and support they may need to carry out their duties. The hands-off approach a situational leader may use with highly skilled and committing workers can motivate them to work to the best they can.

A motivating work environment can also help increase positivity in the business. The main duty for a supervisor or a leader is to create a positive environment and support the employees. Using the situational leadership approach, leaders can build morale among the employees and create a positive and well working environment.

Positivity and supporting can also impact employee retention. Employee turnover has a high cost for businesses with recruitment, hiring and training to replace workers that may leave the business. The more supportive the leaders can be, the less likely they are to leave the business.
Kotter’s 8-step change model

Create urgency
For change to happen, it will help if the company as a whole can agree on it. You should develop a sense of urgency for the need of change. This could help you get the initial start-up to create the change. To do this you should give your employees a convincing speech about what is happening in the environment around you and your competition. If the employees start talking about the change, the urgency can start by itself.

Create a powerful coalition
You should convince your employees that the change is important. This can require strong leadership and support from the managers and higher staff in your organisation. Leaders shouldn’t manage the change, they should lead it. To lead the change, you should bring together a team of important people whose power can come from a range of sources from job title to skill.

Create a vision for your change
When you think about change, there normally is many ideas and solutions that come to your mind. You should link all these concepts together and create an overall vision that everyone can understand. A clear vision can help everyone in the business understand why they are given they tasks they receive,

Communicate your vision
What you decide to do with your vision once it has been created will determine whether you succeed or not. Your message should have strong competition with others from your business, so you should communicate it and spread it frequently. You should call a specific meeting to discuss your vision, you should talk about in every chance you can possibly get. This is crucial as if you can keep it fresh in everyone’s minds, they will think about it and respond to it.

Remove obstacles
If these steps are followed, and you have frequently talked about your vision, hopefully staff will start considering our vision and make it into a reality.

Create a short-time celebration
Nothing can motivate employees as much as success. If you can give everyone in your business a taste of success early in this process. Within a short time, everyone should be on board with the vision.

Build on this change
Jotter argues that many change projects fail because they think they have succeeded too early. Real change will take a while to be completed and developed. The short-term celebrations are only the beginning of what will have to be done to achieve long-term change.

Anchor the changes in the business
Finally, to make every change stay, it should be the centre of your organisation. The corporate culture can determine what will be done, so the values behind the vision can be seen in day to day work. You must make continuous efforts so you can ensure that change is seen in every part of your organisation. This will be able to help you keep your change and make it a solid place in your organisations culture.

Lewin’s change model
Kurt Lewin developed a change model which involves 3 steps (Unfreezing, changing and refreezing.) This model represents a simple and practical model for understanding the change process. For Lewin, the process of change entails creating the perception that a change is needed, then moving to the new level of behaviour and the making sure that behaviour is understood by everyone in the business.

Before a change is able to be done, it must go through this step. Because employees may naturally resist the change, the goal during this stage is to create awareness about the current plan for the business is making the organisation worse in some way. Old behaviours, ways of thinking, processes, people and organisational structures must all be carefully examined so that they can show employees that the change is necessary for the organisation in order to beat their competition. Communication is extremely crucial in the unfreezing stage so employees can be informed about the change, why it should happen and how it will benefit them.

Now the first step is completed the employees can start to move. Lewin recognized that change is a process where the organisation must transition from their current state to a new state. This changing step is marked by the implementation of the change. This is when the change begins to become a reality. It is also consequently, the time that most employees struggle with this reality. It is often the hardest step for the business to overcome. During the changing step the employees will begin to get used to the change. The more prepared the can be for this step, the easier it is to be completed.

Lewin originally called this step freezing but many other decide to refer to it as refreezing to symbolise stabilizing and maintaining the new state after the change. The changes that have been made to the organisational process, goals, structure and offering are accepting the change as the norm. Lewin has found out that the refreezing step is important as it can make sure that employees do not revert back to their old steps of thinking.

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