Essay on Managing Ultra-Fast Change
Number of words: 1311
Managing organizational change is a critical aspect of business management. Companies that adequately manage this aspect can often realize great potential and profitability amid organizational problems and turmoil. The article termed “What Spinning Off a GE Business Taught Me About Managing Ultra-Fast Change” by Margaret Keane (2017) looks at the very concept of organizational change. It also offers critical experiences and lessons learned in the process of organizational change.
The first lesson that Margaret Keane learned while overseeing change was the importance of asking, listen, and being transparent (Keane, 2017). This lesson is important, and it reinforces the significance of communication in managing change. To implement a successful change initiative, top-level managers, junior managers, and regular employees must communicate. Communication is even more important if a company operates globally (Anand & Jean-Louis Barsoux, 2017). A slight miscommunication in the global environment can trigger significant confusion. In like manner, communication allows employees and their leadership to gather insight that may be integrated within the process. By communicating the company’s stances and listening to employees, Keane learned about issues that matter a lot to the employees. Innosight (2019) indicates that the absence of communication is one of the main reasons why 80 percent of change initiatives fail. While communication is essential, managers should be keen not to over-communicate as this can be dangerous and undesired.
Moreover, transparency and communication must go hand in hand. Transparency in business is the act of being open when sharing information between employees and between businesses and their customers. Transparency builds an environment of trust. Employees who work in companies where leaders value transparency feel that they are working for people who value higher ethical standards (Anthonyz et al., 2019). Building a business based on transparency is critical; in fact, Innosight (2019) noted that employees tend not to trust employers who disengage them in critical decision-making processes. Most employees who find themselves in these instances agree that their employers are not upfront with them in matters that have to deal with their company’s overall mission. Transparency contributes to a culture of trust in numerous ways. First, when communication is directed from both directions, upward and downward communication, employees tend to feel that their perspectives are appreciated, and this establishes an environment of trust. Trust can also be established by acting on critical employees’ feedbacks.
Keane (2017) also learned the importance of creating a corporate mission and values. For an organizational change to be successful, managers are often required to break down traditional processes. In other cases, they are forced to let go of normal ways of doing business. While sacrificing conventional business processes and adopting new processes may be good in the long run, it can leave many employees without direction. Establishing a mission and value statement ahead of time creates a goal that acts as a guide. Keane learned what aspects of the business inspire employees, the things that made them proud, and the values that made them appreciate the company. The insights from these instances helped her established a well-defined mission and value statement: “We pioneer the future of financing, improving the success of every business we serve and the quality of each life we touch” (Keane, 2017). This mission statement was developed from the employees’ perspectives.
Having a mission and value statement may also help employees retain overall organizational purpose. No matter how well it is managed, a change process must trigger chaos, and many organizations tend to lose focus and the sense of purpose during these chaotic moments. Embracing change is critical but losing the overall underlying purpose is as bad as not embracing change. Therefore, to maintain a company’s purpose, managers should concentrate on building concrete communication networks (Anand & Jean-Louis Barsoux, 2017). A communication network would play a vital role in informing and keeping employees aligned to change objectives while maintaining overall business purpose. Managers should adequately communicate and remind their employees about why change is important. Likewise, to be effective in embracing change, change managers should segment the entire change process. Rather than forcing change to employees, the organization should adopt to change department by department. This way, the organizational purpose would remain as the company transforms to more improved modes of production.
In addition to learning the importance of creating a corporate mission and values statement, Keane (2017) learned the significance of being open while creating new work policies and benefits. Having well-defined organizational policies provides guidance, consistency, and clarity on how different organizational operations should be conducted. Keane also learned in this stage that it was wrong to assume employees’ values. Creating a policy or implementing a benefits package may sound good; however, if the policy and the benefit are not improving the lives of the workers, then the company may experience the disorder. An organizational policy or a benefit should address employees’ core issues, and more importantly, they should address matters that affect daily organizational operations.
Keane (2017) notes the importance of developing workplace policies and benefits while in the process of change. But as change managers, it is critical to adhere to workplace policies and benefits that enhance productivity. Therefore, to achieve this, managers should craft policies that equip employees with the right tools to perform. They should also create policies that embrace a culture of teamwork and, more importantly, these policies should allow free and direct employee-employer communication. When it comes to creating workplace benefits, change managers should introduce benefits that increase overall employee morale. The benefits should also touch on areas that matter most, including health, rent, and transport. These human resource processes would ensure that employees continue with their work without worrying about their issues.
Lastly, Keane (2017) learned the importance of allowing employees to have fun while in the process of organizational change. Enjoying and celebrating progress is critical as it pushed employees to achieve more. Tews, Michel, and Allen (2014) noted that if employees celebrate and have fun in the workplace, they tend to work hard, and they maintain their composure in times of crisis. This confirms the significance of enjoying each success attained in the process of change. Also, and because most organizational changes trigger confusion and stress, having fun may lessen the impacts that come as a result of these instances. All in all, having fun can positively impact overall organizational attitude and foster a productive and creative environment.
The lessons Keane learned while supervising organizational change are worthwhile. She learned the importance of communicating with employees. Keane understood that being open with employees, asking questions, and maintaining transparency in decision-making improves employees’ morale. Likewise, she learned the importance of having a corporate mission and value statement. The mission and value statements are critical because they act as organizational guides; these statements direct employees towards the goals of change. She also learned the significance of being open while creating new work policies and benefits. It is critical to creating workplace policies to provide a sense of responsibility and benefits energize employees to perfume. Finally, she learned that although change is inevitable and, critical employees should have fun working towards change. Creating a space for fun allows employees to re-energize and work extra hard.
Anand, & Jean-Louis Barsoux. (2017). What everyone gets wrong about change management. Harvard Business Review.
Anthonyz, S., Trotter, A., & Schwart, E. (2019). The top 20 business transformations of the last decade. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved 24 November 2020, from https://hbr.org/2019/09/the-top-20-business-transformations-of-the-last-decade
Innosight. (2019). The transformation 20: the top global companies leading strategic transformations | innosight. Retrieved 24 November 2020, from https://www.innosight.com/insight/the-transformation-20/
Keane, M. (2017). What spinning off a GE business taught me about managing ultra-fast change. Harvard Business Review.
Tews, M. J., Michel, J. W., & Allen, D. G. (2014). Fun and friends: The impact of workplace fun and constituent attachment on turnover in a hospitality context. Human Relations, 67(8), 923-946.