Leadership Strategies for a Changing World
There has been a significant breakthrough in team leadership. The past few years have witnessed tremendous change in leadership styles and team management. However, there has been very less scholarly research undertaken on team leadership especially in a change management situation. This assignment will discuss the manner in which Kotter’s eight-step model of change management works in team-based organizations.
Firms have to consistently implement changes to the altering environment so as to grow and maintain their market share. In order to remain and sustain it is essential for firms to adapt to change. The technological breakthrough and the increasingly competitive market has also made firms adapt to current situations and accordingly embrace change management models (Day, Gronn & Salas, 2006).
A4E (Action for Employment) is a not for profit organization and has spread its offices across several regions across the globe. It undertakes several projects to improve the quality of life, providing maternal care, rural development and environmental care. Two years back, the organization has had a new Group Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Dutton, and he envisioned a new model for restructuring the firm (A4e, 2014). The previous chairperson, Emma Harrison had resigned following allegations of fraud (Syal, 2012). The decision to restructure was taken after the firm lost quite a few projects and the future of this firm at that time had grim prospects for growth. Also, the attrition rate and employee turnover was very high. There was lack of trust and despite several mandates and counselling, employees had the general opinion that the firm may not be able to thrive in the current competitive market conditions.
The recent CEO then decided to follow Kotter’s eight-step model to change management.
Thus, the transformation of A4E had been planned following the eight-step model of change management proposed by Kotter. These are as follows:
- Inspire employees to have trust in the future. This work was entrusted with the human resource department, immediate supervisors and the management team.
- The creation of a guiding team. This consisted of project directors responsible for various projects.
- Creation of a new vision underlying the change and accordingly formulating strategies to attain the changed vision
- The vision should be clearly communication to staff, and accordingly staff should be motivated to follow new objectives and strategies
- Empowering staff so that they have a feeling of trust
- Celebrating short term fulfilment of objectives
- More objectives should be formulated so as to keep up with the changing environment and be abreast with the latest technology and market competitiveness
- Finally, the firm should strive to create an organizational culture which is in alignment with the changed organization (Kotter, 1996)
The firm first changed the vision statement to “Improve people’s lives”. The changed vision was the brainchild of the CEO. This was as per the steps envisioned in the eight-step model proposed by Kotter. The Project Directors responsible for every existing project had been chosen to convey the vision to subordinates as they were selected as the guiding team. New strategies and objectives had been made and short term objectives which were attained within a period of six months to one year were celebrated. Two years down the line, the company has witnessed a growth as it had not only gained some new projects and also has plans to foray in some new countries based in Africa and Asia.
There are certain recommendations which will be applicable especially in the case of A4E. This organization had extensive discussion and dialogue between the management team in Sheffield, United Kingdom and the project directors. The firm mainly followed virtual communication as personnel were spread across the globe. The model developed was based on previous experiences of project directors. In some locations, the short term wins were attained in a span of six months, whereas in others it took more than a year to attain short term goals. This framework emphasizes on the viewpoint of the management to lead change and thereby is beneficial in communication, creating and explaining change management especially under team leadership. However, soft elements are not considered in this framework. It needs to concentrate on people, customers and leadership. Hence, the implementation of the 4P quality strategy proposed by academic scholars Dalgaard & Dalgaard (2006) would be beneficial in attaining sustainable change and development. This model focuses on people to attaining excellence in organizational performance on an individual level, team and partnerships level, processes and functions and services and products.
The change process has been successful as of now. However, in an organization like A4E it is highly complicated as to determine why and how change succeeded. There are some firms that have failed after applying Kotter’s model and others which have succeeded. The change management process at A4E is one of the success stories of change management using Kotter’s framework.
A4e. (2014). A4e historical timeline. Retrieved October 15, 2014 from http://mya4e.com/about-us/who-we-are-what-we-do/a4e-historical-timeline/
Dahlgaard, J. J. & Dahlgaard, S.M. P. (2007), The 4P quality strategy for breakthrough and sustainable development, European Quality, 10(4), 6-19
Day, V.D., Gronn, P. & Salas, E. (2006). Leadership in team-based organizations: on the threshold of a new era. The Leadership Quarterly, 17, 211 – 216.
Kotter, J. P. (1996), Leading Change.
Syal, R. (2012). I was bullied out of A4e, claims Emma Harrison. The Guardian. Retrieved October, 15, 2014 from http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2012/oct/25/emma-harison-bullied-out-of-a4e