The 8-Step Process for Leading Change

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Kotter (1988) noted that over 70% of all major changes in the organizations fail and this is because most of the organizations do not take a holistic approach in effecting the changes and do not take time to see the changes through. Leadership expert Dr. John Kotter devised an 8 step model that organizations can use to effect much needed change and do so in an effective manner. change in an organization is one of the most important risks that a company can undertake and if not properly effected it can lead to the company making losses in terms of reputation and finances used to make this change (Kotter,1988). The question that each leader can ask is how they can ensure that the change they are making is successful.

Change is the driving force for any business. A company cannot expect to grow and compete with other business if they maintain their outdated ways of doing business. They need to constantly improve their technology and procure new initiatives to stay relevant in the market. They need to ensure that they are catering towards the emerging trends and that the policies they are implementing in the business are enabling them stay ahead of the competition (Kotter, 1997). Change does not have to be a complete overhaul of the business; it can be as small as changing the staff around, or moving offices to a different location. There will be feelings of anxiety and intimidation and if the change is not well addressed it can have negative effects on the company.

The first step in this change model is creating urgency: change can only be properly effected if the entire company or organization appreciates the need and fully supports it. The company will need to examine the state of the market and the competitors they are likely to face once they make the change. They need to have a comprehensive market study that will give them an idea as to what the competition is up to. The company needs to create a sense of urgency in order to get the company moving on smoothly during and after the change. This is the point where the company directors and other financial advisors will discuss the potential risks involved and how to bypass them. They will also discuss the potential opportunities for the company (Kotter, 1996).

Secondly, guiding team is necessary to lead the rest of the company on a journey of implementing the change and ensure positive results. This is the team that will be responsible in directing the organization and they have to be provided with all the necessary resources bythe company to ensure the change occurs in good time and that no one is left behind when the change is being affected. This team should be very powerful and it should have the lead being taken by the companys top tier. Leaders of these teams can be sourced from within the company as those people who are able to influence the employees and have them understand the need for the change. The selected team needs to keep the momentum for the change taking place in the company (Kotter, 1996).

The next step involves a guiding team in place coming up with a vision for the intented change. When entertaining the idea of change in a company, there will be a lot of ideas being floated around and it is important to bring all the relevant ideas and have them being understood by the company. By creating a clear vision the staff in the company is able to understand the need for the change and why you are asking them to move in the given direction. When the staff involved have a clear sight of your vision they will be able to piece in together the end result and play their part accordingly to ensure the business achieves its objectives (Kotter, 1996).

The fourth step is communicating the vision: there is need to utilize all the available platforms to communicate the message of change and the new vision and the strategies being brought in. The communication needs to be done in a simple way that is easily understood and that appeals to the companys heart and soul. Since change is gradual, use the new strategies to resolve any issues that might arise among employees and companys clients (Kotter, 1996).

According to Kotter, after the vision have been well and clearly communicated, the business should ensure that no obstacles to the changes to be put in place. To be able to properly achieve this, identify leaders who can evoke change and influence the rest of the company accordingly; ensure that the job description and the organizational structure works within the changes being effected in the company; identify and reward people who make the expected changes and do so in the proper way; take the step to remove the barriers hindering the change process.

After all the obstacles are out of the way, the company should create short term wins: small success being seen within the company will appeal to the staff to make the changes and do so successfully. Employees and other parties contributing to the change process should be commended, rewarded and be given more support towards achieving the ultimate objective from the change being put in place. Small achievable targets are much better applicable than one set long term goal that may be unachievable (Kotter,1996).

The seventh step is to build on the change: the process of change may fail when the organization prematurely jumps to other activities other than following the change process through to its successful conclusion. The small victories being achieved are only a slight dip in the ocean of long term change to be made. Each success brings the eventual change process a step closer to achieving maximum change. Make sure each success registered has a proper evaluation and analysis on what to change and improve on (Kotter, 1996).

Lastly, the compant has to anchor the changes in the corporate culture: the higher echelon needs to be part of the changes in the company in order show solidarity with the vision and strategies being advocated. All those in the company need to support the change, without this, the company will run the likelihood of going back to where they started from (Kotter, 1996).

Limitations of the 8 step model include:

It is difficult to change directions once the process has started

The model works from top going down and so it does not leave any space to wiggle,

The employees will be affected and frustrated by putting so much pressure on themselves to achieve the needed change.

References

Kotter, John P. (1988). The Leadership Factor. New York: Free Press.

Kotter, John P. (1997). Matsushita Leadership: Lessons from the 20th Century's Most Remarkable Entrepreneur. New York: The Free Press

Kotter, John P. (1996). Leading Change. Harvard Business School Press.

Part B

Traditional procurement systems have evolved from paper based systems and has brought in the E-procurement systems which have all the processes being handled online. Twenty years ago, many of the systems in the company were performed manually and the company used human labor to conduct its business. The procurement process is usually done face to face or using the telephone which is the traditional way of dealing with the procurement process (DOFA, 2006).

There are several processes involved in the procurement process that includes numerous interactions with various companies and suppliers on a daily basis. Companys procurement processes made up for nearly half of the operational costs and it was important to find the best possible way of handling this to ensure costs are saved in the long run. The idea for the eprocurement to reduce the purchasing costs and overhead costs and this will effectively see an increase in the revenue generated by the company (DOFA, 2006).The 8 step process by Dr. Kotter was the one that the organization emulated when putting in place the companys eprocurement system.

The first step in the change process was to create urgency for the change to the e-system. The use of paper in the traditional process of procurement had higher running costs as there were many processes to be undertaken before the process was complete. Not only does the online system not use paper, it ensures that the data is kept safe and easy to track. This makes the manual system redundant. The company needed to do away with the paper system as soon as it could as this method had been declared outdated and it was really slowing the company down. The company urgently needed to be at par with its competitors who have done away with the traditional methods of procurement (Buxmann and Gebauer, 2007).

The second step was to pick the guiding team who were tasked with taking the rest of the employees through the new e procurement systems processes. These included the supervisors and other select employees who had gone through training with regard to the online procurement system and they were able to explain and train the rest of the department on the right way to use the system (DOFA, 2006).

The company needed to have a clear outline of the changes they were bringing to the company, and this was the third step in moving towards an online procurement system. Without this the company could not fully implement the changes and do so in the expected manner. The lead team showed how the end product would be better than the current system of doing procurement. Procument staff and all other employees now understand that the online based system reduces the human work load by nearly half and this gives them time to concentrate on other matters that are relevant to the company (Buxmann and Gebauer, 2007).

It was important to have staff understand the changes being outlined by the company, and to do this there was need to have clear communication. Staff in the procurement department made aware ahead of time of the changes that were about to take place. The company had a trial period to test the effectiveness of the online system and demonstrated its advantages as compared to the traditional system of procurement (DOFA, 2006). Staff members were welcoming of a system that reduced the amount of paperwork they had to sort through as well as support for the new system that made data storage and retrieval easier.

Companys fifth step in this process of putting in place e procurement system was to remove obstacles that could hinder smooth implementation and transition to the new system. All staff and more particularly from procurement department underwent a capacity building program meant to equip every employee with the necessary skills to enable them transition to the new e procurement system. Official communication with new procurement guidelines was made through media to the companys key suppliers and other business partners ( Miles and Huberman, 1994).

Once the obstacles were removed the change drivers tested the system to see its performance. The team also put in place short term goals that led up to an overall system change. The company laid down and linked a series of targeted achievements that ensured an overall change from the traditional system to the online system (Buxmann and Gebauer, 2007). The short term goals put in place were easier to adjust and have control over by staff. This stage had the leaders in the company taking surveys to see how well the changes were being taken and implemented. Any setbacks that were being experienced were addressed and the changes to the procurement process were continued with additions being done once each stage was successfully completed.

The next step was to build on the change, this meant moving on from the trial period and having a complete e-procurement system in place. During the trial period a lot of challenges were encountered such as designing a system specifically for the company and not to use any run of the mill software. A number of trial software was put in p...

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