The dynamics present in the corporate sector dictate that organizations keep working on new and improved ways of conducting their affairs. These changes are always attributed to the advancement in technology, maintaining a niche position, and project-based working. Whereas it is one thing to consider change, it is also another to devise the best approach towards implementing the change. Several theories have been developed to describe how change should be done. However, most of them have been affiliated to John Kotter who was a change expert. His model is an eight step approach which begins by creating urgency and ends with anchoring the changes in the organization culture. It is certain that Virgin Media needs some aspects changed which can be approached by Kotters eight-step model.
Kotter opines that more than three-quarters of the management need to buy the change proposal. This step is characterized by identification of potential threats and tabling them to the entire management team to show them why the change is needed and what the possible outcomes are if it is not implemented (Midgie, 2014). The discussions should be honest and should not be based on statistics and data. It is also important to gain the customers support and other outside stakeholders who assist in strengthening the argument. For Virgin Media, it is not making profits as required which are attributed to the high number of employees and low sales of new products. Equally, new products do not get in the market at the correct time. Customers through the social sites have launched complaints regarding poor services. The company, therefore, faces a risk of losing its customers to its competitors, merged BT and EE and this should be communicated exclusively to all stakeholders.
This stage involves identification of true leaders in the organization to strengthen the need to change while requesting their commitment. Teamwork is also a necessity to achieve the required change. Of importance to note is that the team does not necessarily originate from the organization hierarchy (Candy, 2016). The human resource manager and finance officer at Virgin Media while spearheading the change will identify the committed employees who will help in developing the best approach in implementing the necessary change. While reducing the number of employees, this team will identify the positions that should be scrapped off. Regarding the marketing team, the person in charge should also be among those inducing the change.
Creating Vision and Strategy
According to Kotter, change can only be successful if everyone in the organization understands why they are being asked to do the change. Directives given to people are easily done if they understand the reasons behind them (Midgie, 2014). A strategy is also important in achieving the vision which should be developed in the interest of most stakeholders. With Virgin Media visions being to increase the profit, achieve more sales, develop new and innovative products and maintain a large market share, the strategies to be applied include reducing the number of employees, developing a new and competent marketing team and methods, improving the response team and introducing innovative challenges to the public and institutions while aiming at getting more innovative ideas.
Communicating the Vision
Once the vision is created, it needs to be communicated to all stakeholders. It is also important to consider communicating it frequently and powerfully to have the required impact (Richie, 2014). Everyone involved has to embed it in everything they do. This way, the vision becomes relevant and a daily practice. An important aspect in communicating the vision is practically doing what the vision is describing. In line with communication, stakeholders reactions need to be considered which determines the necessary adjustments. For Virgin Media, the vision needs to be communicated to people through meetings with them and addressing their concerns honestly and openly. Also, the vision needs to be applied to all operations. For instance, actual innovation challenge should be initiated while new and proposed strategies employed in marketing a new product in the market. Equally, passive positions at Virgin Media should be scraped off while aiming at remaining only with the competent employees.
Empowering Broad-Based Actions
This stage involves making long strides in achieving the desired change. However, obstacles should be eliminated at this point as it involves putting in place the structure for change. Eliminating obstacles is aimed at empowering people responsible for the change. Virgin Media needs to identify or employ people who can bring change to the organization, whose main role is delivering the change and identifying the areas that need adjustments. Additionally, the company should be ready to deal with the main obstacle which is employees resistance to change (Midgie, 2014). Among the identified reasons and causes for resistance involve a demand for pay increment while complaining an increased workload if the workforce is reduced. To address this, Virgin Media should make people understand the main reason behind the change and address some of the concern through additional incentives to those advocating the change.
Creating Short Time Wins
Kotter is of the opinion that success is achieved through motivation. Further, an organization needs to have an early taste of victory to motivate bigger changes. Employees are also empowered to achieve more change if short wins are realized. Short wins are aimed at eliminating critics and negative people who are a threat to the change success. Short time wins are achieved through selecting cheap targets which are easily achieved and rewarding the people who help in achieving them. For Virgin Media, some of the short wins can be achieved through marketing of new products and realize the success of new marketing strategies (Candy, 2016). At this point, the responsible individuals who achieve this should be rewarded with performance appraisal aspects such as bonuses.
Building on Change
This step is based on building the change momentum and ensuring continuous improvement. It is also characterized by evaluating every success and identifying what went right or wrong and the exact points of improvement. Virgin Media needs to build on the success of one product hitting high sales in the market. Additionally, reducing the number of employees should be done systematically while analyzing the effects of the first reduction regarding the profits and budget reduction (Sinclair, 2016). At no single point, should more than two products be launched at the same time. Also, the ideas should be maintained while strategically introducing new change agents.
Anchoring The Changes in the Organizations Culture
Kotter suggests that once the change has been achieved and is characterized by success, it should be made a part of the organization. Culture is what determines the success of an organization which is defined by the values and vision of the company (Richie, 2014). Efforts should be made to realize the change in all aspects of the organization. Responsible leaders for change should be changed to ensure the legacy lives on. Once new and improved strategies have been noted to work for Virgin Media, they should be made part of the organization culture. If the reduction of employees numbers maintains a high-profit margin, the figure and positions should be maintained to ensure continuous success and more profits.
In conclusion, achieving change in an organization is based on proper foundation, developing better ways to do it and continuous improvement of the current strategies. Kotters eight step model is a clear definition of how change should be successfully implemented. While Virgin Media is on the journey to ensure successful change such as reducing the number of employees and introducing new marketing and operation strategies, Kotters model is the best approach to employ with some of the steps being creation of urgency, removing obstacles and finally incorporating the new strategies in the companys culture.
Candy, L. (2016, March 7). Kotters 8 step process to successful change. Retrieved August 11, 2016, from Blog, http://www.educational-business-articles.com/8-step-process/
Midgie. (2014). Kotters 8-Step change model: Implementing change powerfully and successfully. Retrieved August 11, 2016, from https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newPPM_82.htm
Riche, R. (2014, October 30). One clear message. Retrieved August 11, 2016, from Employee Engagement, https://www.oneclearmessage.co.za/using-kotters-8-step-organisational-change-model/
Sinclair, H. (2016, January 21). Virgin media may axe 900 UK employees. Companies. Retrieved from http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/virgin-media-900-employees-face-redundancy-telecoms-firm-reorganises-1539297
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