A Time to Make a Change at P&G
Some of the signs and signals experienced by an organization which indicates that it is time to make a change are: experiencing rapid growth or a decline in growth, a decline in productivity, a decline in resources, stakeholder pressures on management, environmental crises, sociopolitical influences on the organization, environmental turbulence and changes to customer expectations and behavior. The highly competitive global marketplace where Procter & Gamble operates is forcing the company to continuously do more with less.
Advancements in technology, the pace of competition, globalization, the need to control cost and the increased efficiency coupled with the increasing customer expectations mean that the organization has to evolve and regenerate in order to survive. This is all the more important because if business has to know anything about the future, it is that it will be different from the present. Whatever is, will change. There’s no way to avoid it. But it can be managed. The inevitable changes in the organization will take P&G to a higher level, and will bring them to new avenues opened up for growth, in the face of the increasingly boundless global market that the nature of the consumer goods business is mercilessly made to put up with.
Communicating Change to Employees
Within the popular management literature, John Kotter (1996) has put forward an eight-stage model on how to successfully manage change. This is very applicable to the situation in P&G and comprises of: (1) communicating a sense of urgency; (2) creating a vision; (3) communicating the vision; (4) forming a powerful coalition; (5) empowering others to act; (6) planning short-term wins; (7) consolidating change and (8) institutionalizing new approaches. He argues that change leaders should communicate their vision in many different forums over and over again if they wish to develop an effective implementation strategy.
The question of what to communicate should be all information that interrelate employees in their work in order to inform, to convince and to determine action during a time when the employees are most confused and apprehensive of the circumstances within the firm. The matter of when to communicate should be at all times, when there are new developments in the change that seems to be in the scope of concern of the employees, as they would naturally ant to be informed of any progress that the transition is taking. Effective communication in times of change helps facilitate smoother change management.
One effective strategy to overcome expected resistance is to think beyond it. The Procter & Gamble management must attend to the more specific reasons for resistance, such as loss of control or loss of self-efficacy, to diagnose problems more accurately and to overcome them more efficiently and effectively (Dyer, Dalzell and Olegario, 2004). It must also be kept in mind the context of the change and focus on explanations other than individual resistance for why change may not be successfully implemented. Likewise, senior management must think beyond the wisdom that people resist change by challenging themselves to consider the role they, as change leaders may play in creating resistance.
The unavoidable changes in corporate culture should be supported through revamping internal reward systems and introducing training programs in order to improve result orientation among employees. It sold its rigorous training to potential recruits during that time in much the same way that the US Army sells its educational opportunities to its own recruits.
Two integration programs are seen as useful for these types of changes: training & development and reinforcement. Training and development, as any decision that would be reached would inevitably bring about change within the company. Reinforcement is necessary also, in which the staff will become so used to the changes that the tendency to resist it fades as they are bound to ultimately follow such policies if they are to stay in the organization and contribute to its continued growth.
Dyer, D., Dalzell, F. & Olegario, R. (2004). Rising Tide: Lessons from 165 Years of Brand Building at Procter & Gamble. Massachusetts: Harvard Business School Publishing.
Kotter, J. (1996) Leading Change. Harvard: Harvard Business School Press.