The Perils And Pitfalls Of Leading Change

Question (1)

As Alan Murray write in his essay “Guide to Management” “The manager’s job is to plan, organize and coordinate. The leader’s job is to inspire and motivate”. Ref: Adapted from “The Wall Street Journal Guide to Management” by Alan Murray, published by Harper Business. Since leadership and management must go together all the way. They are not the same thing, but they are automatically allied, and harmonized. Separating the two is likely to cause more problems than it solves.

The mission is to lead people. And the target is to make fruitful of the particular strengths and knowledge of every individual, while is linked with taking an organization into the future, finding opportunities that are coming at it faster and faster and successfully exploiting those opportunities. Leadership is about visualization, about people buying in, about empowerment and, most of all, about producing valuable change. Leadership is not about attributes, it’s about actions.

And in an ever-faster-moving world, leadership is increasingly needed from more and more people.

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Clothes and Accessories a European company that launched its Brazilian operations in 1970s was the national leader in the fashion retail industry, holding a considerable lead over the competition. Its strong brand and economies of scale had driven the growth of the Brazilian fashion industry during the 1990s. Overall revenues, number of stores, and same-store sales were soaring. It was a golden age for the company. The last two decades had been fantastic retail industry in Brazil. Economy was stable that made middle and poor classes increase their consumption and discretionary products and services.

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Prado the leader of Clothes and Accessories Company was not only known for being a great mentor and catalyst of personal development, but also on the fast track for future top-management responsibilities.

This company had strong systems in place for evaluating and developing talent in key functions. These included well-crafted systems for performance reviews and 360-degree feedback, and for collecting input from corporate functions. Organizational change management and transformation have become permanent features of the business landscape. Oliveria needed a good change management training which is essential for supporting leaders and managers to effectively drive change throughout their organizations. As experts suggested with organizational change management that there are three major stages to overcome in implementing changes:

1. Communicate the Rationale behind the Need for Change

The first stage of introducing any change is to explain to employees why it is important for the change to occur and the intended benefits. This needs to be handled carefully and communicated to all affected parties. There should also be adequate opportunity for people to voice their concerns and contribute their thoughts, views and opinions. Missing out on this stage of the process will almost certainly damage the change process before it has even properly begun.

2. Implement the Change in Phases

Change is usually best received when it is implemented step by step. Most change can be broken down into phases that can be reviewed along the way. Teamwork is the key so, having a lead group of employees to test the change before it is fully set in is a good way to ensure that more people ‘buy in’ to what is happening and why.

3. Evaluate, Review and Report on Change

Careful monitoring of the entire change process is important in order to be able to determine its impact and evaluate its success. People need to be kept informed about how things are progressing, the results that are occurring and whether the change program has met its objectives. An organization’s intention when it decides to embark on a change program is usually to make improvements. It is, therefore, important that employees understand whether the change has had the desired effects and what is to be done if further work is needed With this in mind, introducing change and transformation has to be done carefully, sensitively and collaboratively. Managing people through change training courses equips leaders and managers with the essential skills to seamlessly implement change within their organizations. Daniel Oliveria is a new graduated twenty two years young man who finished his last year at business school in Sao Paulo, he looked for a perfect job, a position in an extremely selective management training program at a leading fashion retail company Clothes and accessories. Oliveria was awarded one of the twenty potions out of 10,000 applicants.

He was assigned to a city in the northeast of Brazil called Recife. Oliveira started his training for his career in the largest store of Clothes and Accessories in both range and income. His success in organizing the store as a trainee, promoted him to a full time manager. Quite intentionally, the company had assigned him to run a small but thriving business with a strong team. The significant economic growth and evolution during 1990s seemed evident in Vitoria a mid-sized city in southeastern state of Espirito Santo, due to the growing utilities of all city ports and large investments from major corporations which increased the population’s buying power and demand for consumer products and services. Never the less since the late 1990s Vitoria store located in the heart of downtown Vitoria had been steadily declining in its performance and it had worsened in the last five years.

This store which had been assigned to Daniel Oliveria to manage was the ninth location in Brazil, built in 1983 and staffed with more than a hundred employees. It was expected from Oliveria not only to stop the declining but also to increase store’s performance to reach the other series stores levels. Daniel Oliveria confident in his abilities was based on his success and excellent performance evaluation during his training in the Recife store especially that the store he will be managing is smaller than the Recife one. He gained experience in all aspects of the business: unloaded trucks, served as a cashier, led small departments, as a store supervisor, and unspoken temporary store manager role when the store manager takes a month vacation. By working through each role and side by side with employees, he had earned experience, admiration, and the friendship of employees of all position in the store.

Question (2)

In Lisa Hanberg essay bout “How Leaders can optimize organizational change” she mentioned that “Improving an organization’s success through aligning its culture became a popular focus of work in the 1980s. During this time, many behavioral science researchers acknowledged the power and importance of organizational culture”. By Lisa Haneberg, VP and OD Practice Lead MPI Consulting April, 2009 In the last twenty-five years organization culture has become a common theme of debate among a wide-ranging listeners of leaders including operational managers and organization development, human resources, and training professionals where significance comes progressively more from the knowledge of people, and where employees are no longer undifferentiated parts in an industrial machine, so management and leadership are not easily separated. People need to know the goals. And managers must organize workers, not just to make best use of effectiveness, but to develop skills, build up talent and encourage outcomes.

To begin examining this challenge, let’s first establish a common definition of organizational culture. As Lou Gestner who is a chief executive of IBM led said “Organizational culture is everything”, and in the Katzenbach Center survey 84% said “culture was critical to the success of change management”. Ref: From the article 10 principles of leading change management. www.strategy – Each company has a unique culture built and changed over time. Beliefs, assumptions, values and understandings, and the actions and situations they produce are important components of culture. You have to work hard to change an organization culture successfully. When you plan carefully and build the proper foundation, implementing change can be much easier, and you'll improve the chances of success. If you're too impatient, and if you expect too many results too soon, your plans for change are more likely to fail. Many organizations are struggling to keep up; they layer new initiatives onto the work processes before previous initiatives have taken hold.

A culture can either enable or be a barrier to nonstop changes. Effective leaders understand the different ways that professionals in finance, marketing, operations, and HR approach business problems, and the various tools that each discipline applies If he created a sense of urgency, recruited powerful change leaders, built a vision and effectively communicated it, removed obstacles, generated quick wins, and built on his force, he can help make the change part of his organizational culture. Changes that go against a work culture or that are initiated without regard to the culture are likely to fail whereas culture-consistent changes ensure better results while reinforcing the most important workplace values and beliefs. Oliveria’s confidence in his abilities to manage the changes needed in the store not taking in consideration Douglas Fischer’s advice “the most important rule of knowing his people” trapped him in the rejection and distrust situation to his team, which was observed through the following: He made changes that go against a work culture and that are initiated without regard to the culture, whereas culture dependable changes ensure better results while strengthen the most important workplace values and beliefs.

He created an urgency code not taking in consideration to recruited powerful leaders to assets him overcome obstacles that may arouse due to the changes required. Olivera should have opened an honest and convincing dialogue about what's happening in the marketplace and with their competitors. If many people start talking about the change he proposed, the urgency can build and feed on itself. He could have identified potential threats and develop scenarios showing what could happen in the future, and examined opportunities that should be or could be exploited. He assumed that implementing changes that he demonstrated will be set to be accomplished despite the refusal stares of his team to his plan. He might have started honest discussions, and give dynamic and convincing reasons to get people talking and thinking, other than enforcing changes he find urgent through his personal observation in the store.

In order he can convinced his team with why changes are important he had to make a rational and emotional case together He started initiating his proposals without benefiting from his top experienced teamwork point of views and opinions. He acted his way into new thinking (as a one man show). I think Oliveira could lead change successfully, if he bring together a coalition, or team, of influential people whose power comes from a variety of sources, including job title, status, and expertise, such as “Maria Almeida” the financial supervisory s “Roberta Santos” the apparel supervisor, and the two crucial department leaders “Mariana Rodrigues” from the ladies department and “Laura Lima” from the service department and involve them in this change whom he was surrounded by to benefit from their experience, personality, and efficiency.

While as known leader and management go together hand in hand and can’t be separated in order to reach the aim that is set. Once he had formed, his "change coalition" he needs to work as a team, continuing to build urgency and drive around the need for change. And maybe if he requested support from customers by examining the market, outside stakeholders and industry people to strengthen his argument. Oliveria had to empower his employees by giving those skills, resources, authority. Opportunity, motivation, as well as holding them responsibilities and accountabilities for outcomes of their action, which would contribute to their competence, satisfaction and leads to efficiency in implementing change.

These actions caught Oliveria in the trap of rejection from his team work whom should be his supporting team to lead and initiate change management. Oliveria was struggling in implementing his plan for change, feeling that successful of implementation depends on his personal present, so he started to work sixty to seventy hours a week. Oliveria found that almost all new policies were reversed to old ones. He recognized that his team and their staffs are board with his proposed changes by showing disinterest at the meetings settled gradually every Monday. He tried his best to discover the source of problems by talking to supervisors but no response that reinstate his eagerness. He was stuck in a vicious cycle, and the store’s performance gets worsened.

Oliveria had to create process of developing his vision about changes which consists of four steps: Observe, reflect, write, and speak.


In order to determine a vision, he must become a smart observer of his world. He has to immerse himself in watching, listening, and wondering. Pay attention, ask questions, investigate, discuss, and gather information.


Now he turned inward. For example, he looked at important events in the company, and asks himself: What did I learn? What is this telling me? During reflection, he came up with stories and examples that form his vision and clarify his values. These stories enable him to speak authentically from his own wisdom and experience.


When he wrote, he discovered how to say precisely what he means. Many executives ask why they can’t just speak off the cuff. That is an important skill. But when he is articulating a vision, writing it down is a critical step in the process.


If he had followed the process, speaking and communicating his vision is a natural outcome. A powerful vision, well-articulated, attracts people to an organization, motivates them to take action toward progress, and drives business results. Leaders must be able to speak the language of all the functions and translate for them when necessary. And critically, leaders must know the right questions to ask and the right metrics for evaluating and recruiting people to manage areas in which they themselves are not experts.

Question (3)

Martin Luther King, Jr. said “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy” Ref: Martin Luther King, Jr. from “Christian Leadership World” Being a leader is difficult. What exactly does it take to be a leader? Many things: vision, work ethic, respect, understanding, problem-solving skills, understanding it’s difficult to say exactly what makes a good leader. Prado quite intestinally assign Oliveria this thriving and challenging store in the country which in the process of managing it must go worse in order to be the best since Prado have a high confidence in Oliveria capacity and performance during his training. Moreover, Oliveria was like a fresh blood that is born to lead naturally but needed an opportunity to fulfill his destination in leadership, which would make him a great asset to the organization. Never the less Oliveria was fortunate to be working for a company that believed in leadership development.

In addition the core value of Clothes and Accessories are that leaders should have the space to make mistakes and learn from them in order to gain more experience for future issue to be easily solved. Oliveria have the will to lead, he was able to pass all obstacles he faces, there is always a way to successes. It’s difficult to stay motivated and focused on the prize day-in and day-out. Our minds like to wander and when met with hardship or difficulty, we have a tendency of shying away. A great leader never tells his team that a goal simply can’t be achieved. He keeps on trying in every way possible to make it reach the aim A goal may not be achievable in the manner that was first planned out, but there is surely another way. He had to find doorways where he hit a wall and his team will get the rest done If Oliveria wanted to maximize productivity, then he had to minimize surveillance.

He needed to be able to trust his team to get the job done. Of course, this means building a team that he trusted. Once having a group of people that known to be smart, diligent and passionate, he should give them as much freedom as possible. Giving employees room to work at their own space, in whichever environment they choose with as much creative freedom as possible. Studies have shown that people work more efficiently when they work on their own terms assuming that they are passionate about their work and the company’s goals. Giving employees room to breathe and have them work on their own projects from time to time.

No matter how mistakes Oliveria can did but he can’t give up. As long as he had people supporting him (Prado) and working for him (Rodrigues), he was responsible for them; he was obligated to have trust in his team and push through the hardship. As long as he had one person still supporting him, he is not alone and can make it all happen. Giving up before his team does, is not just failing as a leader, but failing as an entrepreneur. True entrepreneurs never give up; they analyze the situation and make alterations to their plans and goals. Each new problem has its solution.

Updated: Jul 07, 2022
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The Perils And Pitfalls Of Leading Change. (2016, Sep 22). Retrieved from

The Perils And Pitfalls Of Leading Change essay
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