Changes are inevitable and considered to be the engine of success in management practice. Though it is always a difficult process of implementing the changes in the company’s everyday life due to various resistance factors. The same is true about the company where John Smithers worked. Let us analyze the approach to changes taken in the company by defining the barriers and drivers of change in the company.
As we can see from the chart above the amount of barriers exceeds the amount of drivers of change. Therefore the organizational changing process faces many difficulties
One of the first steps to implementing the change in the company according to Lewin’s Management Model is to create a strong motivation system. What I mean is that everybody in the comany should understand that change is a must and the things can not continue the same way they are now. Though the TOP management insisits on implementing the change as soon as possible, the employees and the senior management have only short time enthusiasm which dissapears after the dissapointment . The reason of the disappointment is that the employees realize that nobody really cares about them. Everybody should understand that the process of changes is time consuming. TOP management should be more realistic and revise its strategy , adjust it to the reality and what is more important - to consult with the senior management and employees about the realization of the strategy. In addition, the company has a problem with transmitting information in the oranization Great ideas come from employees and senior management though they are considererd to be troublemakers. This is definately not the way to success.
Nevertheless, there are some positive tendencies in the company. Employees express their ideas, they are not afraid to share their thoughts. Another important issue is that John is a real leader, he is full of enthusiasm and has a great credibility among the employees. It is also mentioned that he is even more credible than his mentor. It gives John the exceptional opportunity to motivate people.
- Was Smithers effective? Why did things go wrong?
I think that Smithers was doing his best to implement changes into the company but still it was not enough. It is an open secret that one person can hardly influence the way the organization functions, the same is true about John. He put great efforts into improving the company but lost his faith once he faced difficulties. From my point of view the problem is that the company and its employees were not ready for changes. According to Lewin’s and Kotter’s Management Models it is obligatory to realize the necessity of the change and get the point that the company can not continue its activity the same way as it does now. Six Sigma Quality program requires a careful preparation of the organization and its employees to change. Two important aspects of the readiness of employees to change are the degree of satisfaction with the current state of the organization and the perceived personal risk in possible changes.
In addition there is another aspect that affects the willingness of workers to change - their expectations with regards to real measures to be carried out the of the changes. As was indicated earlier, the expectations play an important role in the perception and behavior. It is mentioned in the case that Smothers was afraid that employees expected too much from the changes and he did not want to lie them. The expectations for positive change are to be realistic to avoid disappointment and motivation.
Another John’s mistake was not controlling the executing of the of the main points discussed with employees during the workshops. As a result, the employees had been waiting for over 2 weeks and felt frustrated. Also Smithers had to improve the communication ties in the company, so that the ideas evoked by the employees came to the higher management and were taken into account when designing the strategy.
- What should he have done differently?
I think that the most important thing that has to be changed is the attitude of the personnel to work and to each other by means of creating a Dream Team. It is very difficult to establish a rapport atmosphere in order to create effective team work conditions. Therefore the team has to have one leader. The problem is that the teachers Smithers and Murphy can not find the common language; they are not effective working together. Therefore arises a question - how can people who have contradictory views on the changes in the company train good employees? So it is crucial to find a compromise and to move in one direction.
Following this, I think the organizational structure if the company is to be revised and may be even changed a little bit. The problem is that engineering department is working separately from the operations department. One department is not aware what another one is doing, therefore the cooperation links are very weak and need improvement. I think this problem can be solved in two ways:
- announcing the new position of the manager who will be coordinating both departments and help them to negotiate;
- implementing the weekly meetings to discuss the main changes and problems all together.
The second variant seems more effective and realistic. In addition it is mentioned that there were already some attempts to implement the meetings but the employees and management has little interest in attending them. I think the TOP management is to force the senior management representatives of both departments to attend the meetings. All decisions, production plans and strategies of both departments are to be brainstormed at these meetings.
Another important issue is the role of the vice president in the company. There is no single word about his activity and influence on the way the organization functions. The company has to have a real leader, either in the face of the vice president or the TOP manager. The employees are likely to follow the leader, the person whom they believe and respect. It is mentioned that John Smithers has credibility among the colleagues therefore he should take the initiative to persuade people to accept the necessity of changes and help them to adjust to changes. According to Lewin’s model, the first stage of implementing changes in the organization is “Unfreeze”. In our case it means to make employees believe change is inevitable, to heighten the credibility and to make people follow your ideas. Smithers has the opportunity to do that. If employees trusted Smithers it would be easier for him to change something.
- What are the future prospects for this quality initiative?
The fact that quality initiative was designed is a huge step forward because it shows that the management of the company realizes the company needs changes. Nevertheless it was based on too ambitious numbers and therefore proved to be ineffective. The key to success is not to overestimate the needs and wants of the organization and think analytically when designing the change program. It is essential to set a real goal and develop real life objectives according to it.
I think that the quality initiative is to be put on hold and I completely agree with Smithers on the point that it is not relevant now as the company is not ready to change. The Six Sigma program can be successfully implemented in the future and help Sigtek to become the leader in telecommunication market. The only thing that should precede the training process is the readiness of the company and its employees to changes. According to Kotter’s Management Model the following steps are to be taken for the Six Sigma program to be successful:
- Remove barriers be elimination “quo” status, make everybody equal and take into account all ideas expressed not only by the managers but by the employees as well;
- Celebrate monthly achievement , for example, make a corporative party;
- Promote employees who are engaged in the process and limit the responsibilities of Richard Patricof and suchlike, who are not interested on Sigtek evolution;
- Change the organizational structure of the company to increase cooperation between engineers and operation managers.
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Kotter's 8-Step Change Model: Implementing Change Powerfully and Successfully. (n.d.). Retrieved November 3, 2014.
Lewin's Change Management Model: Understanding the Three Stages of Change. (n.d.). Retrieved November 3, 2014.
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