The book The Heart of Change shows the practical side of the theories that are taught in the course textbook. It presents stories of successes and failures based in the application of concepts discussed in Organizational Behavior and Management and in class. Although we talked about several different concepts the ones that are evident in the examples in The Heart Of Change are the more progressive and individual centered approaches. The leadership characteristics that are important to successful change in an organization are those that are espoused in the transformational theory of management.
It makes sense that ideals in line with the transformational management theory would be evident in a book about how to bring about positive change in an organization.
A transformational leader essentially is about growth through change, about challenging the status quo, and staff to grow and perform it is about empowerment and all of those things are important in regards to the approach put forth in The Heart Of Change.
A key theme in The Heart Of Change is that change is not brought about by statistical analysis or common sense, but it comes after changing the way that people feel about an issue. It is about connecting with the individual and bringing about an emotive response that motivates a change in behavior. And that is in line with one of the focal traits of a transformational leader. They are visionary leaders who focus who create the mission, focus and goals for the organization.
Their approach to leadership is centered around the individual. This is important because for a leader to effectively implement change based The Heart Of Change they would have to be aware of they motivational factors of their employees so they know how do best address the intrinsic needs to change the attitudes of employees. The Heart Of Change shows that change does not happen simply by instituting different systems, but that people are the force that ultimately determines how well an organization adapts change. That also relates to the leadership style of the transformational leader. They focus on the people as the key elements to bring change to an organization.
Group Emotional Intelligence is a topic that we discussed in class that is essential to the type of change discussed in The Heart Of Change. The second stage of change is about putting together a team that is able drive the company towards its specific goal in regards to instituting change. There needs to be a strong force pushing the change and keeping the urgency up. It is understandably to much for on person to handle so there needs to be a team of interested, motivated people to act as that driving force.
The three ideas of trust, sense of group identity, and group efficacy are essential to group effectiveness. The group that is at the forefront of the change action in an organization needs to exhibit a high EI. Not only because they need to be efficient, but because they are a model for the rest of the organization. This again relates to the character traits of the transformational leadership theory. Being a role model, showing others behaviors to emulate are what transformational leaders do, and this is what the change guiding group does as described in The Heart Of Change.
Empowerment is an issue that is imperative to the change process. We touched on the idea of empowerment while exploring power, and politics in the workplace. Empowerment is important in regards to The Heart Of Change, because it is also about ownership. For change to be effective it takes an entire organization to believe in the change process. Through empowerment of the staff in the change process you are creating a sense of ownership for them in the process of change. Once they feel like they are an important part of the process it creates a sense of pride in their part of the process. In the workplace a sense of pride usually leads to a commitment to excellence in working towards the goals of the organization. Again this is a trait of transformational leadership. Transformational leaders encourage their teams and staff to be innovative, creative and encourage them to take risks. Empowerment is a tool, which is used to elicit the abovementioned traits in the staff, and drives the change.
Organizational socialization is the way values; abilities, expected behaviors, and social knowledge of a organization are shared. It is based on creating an uniformity in mission, beliefs and actions. Socialization, in regards to the organizational change does not seem that it is an important issue in regards to affecting change in an organization. However, it is an integral part in sustaining any positive gains that have come from organizational change. After any sort of change occurs it must be accompanied with a change in the formal and informal socialization procedures to ensure they reflect the new organizational structure and culture.
Effective socialization is imperative to ensure the change is long lasting. Updating Standard Operating Procedures for existing staff, as well as orientation procedures should reinforce the new changes for current staff, and introduce them to the new staff. Changing a system in simple. Sustaining a new culture and behavior in the workplace is difficult. People tend to revert to what is comfortable to them. In organizations that are in the process of implementing change is systems or culture, new people to the organization are the easiest to accept and adapt to the new changes. A new active socialization procedure needs to be adopted to address the veterans in the organization. They are the group that will be more apt to fall into old habits.
Communication in the workplace is key to change, and is a theme that is throughout The Heart Of Change. Communication is important throughout several different stages of the change process as described in The Heart Of Change. There is a chapter in The Heart Of Change where they concentrate on communication of the vision and goals to the organization as a whole to motivate the members to buy into the vision. However, communication is very important during the first stage of change. In this stage the message communicated is the catalyst that will inspire the rest of organization to want to change. The communication should be tailored to evoke an emotional response, to motivate staff. The message can be we need to change, but the delivery of the message is has much to do its effectiveness.
Also communication is important in the socialization aspect of sustaining change. Within an organization communication comes in different forms. Procedures and rules are in the employee handbook, emails and memos. The culture of a workplace is transmitted through symbols and actions. The latter of the aforementioned communication is difficult and requires more effort to see that it is carried out in a manner that supports the organizational change. If there is a specific message, and vision that is to resonate with people and motivate them, all the actions of the leaders in the in the organization should reflect the message.
Change is a difficult process for an individual, but for an organization the difficulty grows exponentially. For an organization to change the actions and culture of everybody within the organization must change as well. There are the logistics involved in changing organizational structure. Then there is the task of changing the behavior of the employees as well. That is where the most obstacles will be found. The Heart Of Change offers a variety of experiences to highlight their theory in regards to the steps of successful change. Rooted in their theory are concepts that were discussed in class. Most of concepts that are evident in the change process theory are progressive and reflect ideas indicative of transformational leadership theory. The Heart Of Change has brought the individual concepts together and shown how they can work together to affect successful change in an organization. Reading The Heart Of Change shows how the powerful and effective the ideas that we learned about are, and how they can benefit us as we take leadership positions in our organizations.