Relocation Of Thompson Ltd Management
The change management undertaken by relocation of Thompson Ltd is an example of transactional change leadership. The focus was on climate change rather than culture change. It did not involve a whole system approach, as transformational change required.
Firstly the example of transactional change is how the leader responds to fear. Midgley (2011) says that the transactional manager sees a need to 'overcome' fear, and often wind up realising the fear. In the relocation, the fear of employee dissatisfaction was realised, yet Martin remains frustrated and does not learn from his mistake. He does not display any courageous behaviour showing transformational change.
The second example is Martin's focus on making things happen instead of what he wants to happen. In his preoccupation with ensuring 'business as usual' he ignored the emerging desire and perspective of the employees. The relocation operated like a 'to-do' list rather than showing willingness to change direction.
Thirdly is Martin's failure to understand that people resist "being changed" without permission rather than just resisting change. This shows in assumption that the employees would just go along with the change, rather than involving them from the start.ii)
My first advise is to employ transformation change instead of transactional change. The first step should be to involve all employees from the start. In this process the leader can then collaborate through empathy and emotional intelligence (Midgley, 2011). Instead of just set up a small project team and leaving at that, the leader with empathy can understand the employee concern that they were not being listened to and therefore make sure that they were contributing. This way the journey of change can belong to both employee and leader.
Secondly Thompson Ltd should apply transformation change leadership by understand that change-related anxiety is representative of leadership immaturity (Midgley, 2011). Instead of seeing fear as a barrier, the leader sees fear and anxiety is normal. Therefore Martin should change his frustration and look beyond his limiting perspective and exploring the benefits of any change to tell the employee of this benefit. This will help them overcome their own fear. The leader should advocate this from the start.
Thirdly the leadership should be authentically optimistic. The transformational change leader should have genuine optimism to "infect" all the employee from the start (Midgley, 2011). This contagious behaviour will change the attitude and behaviour of the employee. Therefore instead of ensure business as usual, the leader should be genuine and tell the employee the relocation plan, and be enthusiastic. This will prepare them better for the change and make them more adequately prepared and optimistic as well.iii)
The change management undertaken by Thompson Ltd is an example of radical change. This is because for the employee it was a dramatic change to what they know (Incremental vs radical change, 2012). Firstly, the relocation was a radical alteration. It did not happen over a long period of time. For the employee, they knew of the details only five weeks before the move was due.
Secondly long-time employees would be working very far from their homes. The sixty minute commute was a large departure from currently their routine. They were not prepared for this transition until very late into the change. This is shown by being unsure of the public transport availability.
Thirdly the new fabrication equipment due had considerable training requirements. For the employee in production section the training would be a big change from their previous expectation. Incremental change would be gradually acquiring the training. From their anxiety can see the radical change of the new equipment requirements.iv)
As change management consultant I would advise to employ Prosci's 3-Phase Methodology to understand the right approach to change management (Incremental vs radical change, 2012).
Firstly the nature of the change should be understood in planning stage. This means that leadership should figure out what the size of the change is. They should inform the employee this from the beginning instead of ensuring with 'business as usual'. If a size of change assessment had been done from the start, this would make the less radical change for many employee and prepare them better for the change. The leader can then ensure capability of change.
Secondly with wisdom of hindsight I would advise to customize the training plans for the employee in the production section. The training programme should be incremental change from the beginning to cause less employee anxiety. The leader can use incremental training to help building motivation. The training programme should be available to everyone to motivate them and build readiness for change. Also they will be more willing to change as the training can be for everyone.
Thirdly the groups of employee should be segment and address specifically (Incremental vs radical change, 2012). In this relocation the specific need of long-time employees would require better engage and plans accordingly. The plans should consider public transport availability and to compensate for the long commute time. This plan should be made especially early to better prepare the employees for the change.v)
a) The employee should be involved from the start. This can be achieve by giving the project team more significance and make sure their viewpoints were being listened to. The other employees should also be involving from the start especially the long-time employees so that they know of the commute change earlier.
b) Abdul (2011) shows that clear goals and objectives often defined and relay to employees can overcome unclear processes and procedures. This means that Thompson Ltd should give clear goals instead of ensure 'business as usual'. Also, the leader should give milestones so that everyone would know the target. This can include the schedules, timelines and arrangements as they become available.
c) To overcome ineffective leadership change management strategies, the leader should employ referent power. This means that the leader must lead the way and act as an example for employee to follow. The leader should also be active involve with the employee to motivate, instead of keeping the leadership with the board of directors and CEO.
d) Firstly the leader should encourage employees to elect a spokes person to have effective communication with them (Abdul, 2011). This can allow better understanding. Secondly Thompson Ltd should send newsletters often to ensure all employees understand what behaviours are expected of them. This can be combined with workshops as well to give opportunity to employee for questions.
e) Thompson Ltd should assign definite tasks to specialists at management levels (Rampur, 2011). This can be better resource management. It can also mean that the manager can find out the training requirement for the new fabrication equipment earlier to give more time to prepare. Secondly they should have employ a change management consultant to oversee the change process.
f) To overcome resistance from employees they should be directly involved in the change process, which can help encourage them and make more willing (Abdul, 2011). Thompson Ltd can also use reward power to get compliance. This can be such as a compliment on good work, as well as monetary incentives such as a bonus or travel expenses.vi)
Professor John Kotters 8-step change management framework is appropriate as it gives a powerful plan. The change by Thompson Ltd is very big and the organisation has many employee so this framework is helpful to guide. It is effective because the step address the entire barriers to change as above.vii)
Step 1: The first step is to create urgency. According to Mindtools (2012), senior management should try to persuade at least 75 per cent of the management to have urgency. This can be achieve by leading by example. Secondly, the leader should be honest from the beginning to give people opportunity to start consideration. There should be less focus on 'business as usual' and instead more preparation.
Step 2: Mindtools (2012) suggest that senior management should form strong coalition with key people. They can allow employees to elect spokes person, and establish emotional commitment with them. Also they can work on team building particularly for the production section to make them more confident in change.
Step 3: Here the senior management should give a clear vision from the beginning. One example is providing a mission statement or vision statement. Also determine the good value of the change. The value in relocation should be to provide better change for everyone.
Step 4: The vision statement should be communicate often. The leader should openly address the question asked by staff such as where their section going to be located. The leader should also lead by example. They should have attractive leadership qualities such as referent power instead of becoming frustrated like Martin.
Step 5: Firstly senior management should identify the people resisting change such as the long-time employees and give solution. One solution is to give transport expenses. Secondly the leader should employ reward power to make change attractive. This can be in a one-off payment or recognise and congratulate the employee's hard work.
Step 6: This step involve the making of milestones. The leader should set short-term wins that are achievable. One instance is involving employee discussion to finalize the size of the offices. When it finally decided, the leader should celebrate and highlight the success. They should also reward the employee helping to achieve the success.
Step 7: At step 7 the senior management should seek continuous improvement. For example if the size of offices is finalize, the leader should look to see how they can improve on the long commute time. Another example is to bring in new change agent to get more ideas and new ideas (Mindtools, 2012).
Step 8: Finally the change successes should be anchor in the corporate culture. Very simply, the senior management can talk about progress often and repeat success stories (Mindtools, 2012). Also there should be frequent acknowledgement of key members and their contribution, such as the small project team. This will keep them relevant and memorable.
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