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We Are Living in an Ever-Changing World

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Change is usually one of the most difficult phenomenons to accept. Although we are living in an ever-changing world, people are likely to resist change if what they are currently doing is seemingly working. Kotter's eight-step model provides a design for successfully implementing change within an organization. According to The Heart of Change, the main problem that people faced when leading change was changing the behavior of people and in order to successfully lead a change movement one must be able to speak to people's feelings.

According to Ivancevich, there are several forces for change. Organizations are not likely to even think about making changes if there is not a shocking event to lead to the need for change. For example, plummeting sales would lead a company to evaluate where they are going wrong. Technology, which in itself is forever evolving, is another change stimulant. With the evolution of technology jobs roles are changing and some are no longer needed. As such, people are forced to adapt to technology in an effort to stay viable. In addition to necessity and technology, social and political change also contributes to change. This outside factor is something outside of the control of the organization, but will ultimately affect the company's future. An example of this may be a recession.

The first step according to Kotter's model was to increase urgency. The presence of urgency leads to being able to sustain change. Before one can adequately proceed to create a change movement, they must show why the change needs to take place. Human nature leads you to believe that if something is not broken do not fix it. So many will be resistant to change unless they understand why things must change. The biggest adversary of this step is the feeling of complacency and it is very difficult to bring people out of their comfort zone. Complacency occurs within an organization when employees become comfortable with the way things are going and find it unnecessary to change. According to the reading, most companies fail to make the needed change as they skip this step or rush through this step in their urgency to jump to the action phase. An effective leader is able to successfully locate the problem and also get others onboard. It is necessary to motivate other to participate. This step is crucial as failure to get others on board for the change leads to most companies failing to successfully implementing change. It appears that it is also important to follow these steps in order. If one is not able to establish a great enough sense of urgency, the risks seemingly outweighs the benefits of change, then others are not likely to be convinced of a need for change. Kotter suggests using brutal facts to show that change is necessary. Rather than using analytical data, an example of this would be using a customer's survey of the product/service. This makes the problem more real than a graph with numbers. Once the sense of urgency is created, the first step is successfully completed.

The second step of the eight-step model involves building a guiding team. The guiding team serves as the pioneers in essence of the movement to change. The guiding team should be composed of outspoken members who are not afraid to speak up. One essential factor in successfully leading a change movement is establishing a sense of trust within the guiding group. After all, they are set to become the face of the change movement and if there is uncertainty amongst the group, others are not likely to trust them. Also, the group must all be working towards the common objective and fully committed to leading change. According to Ivancevich, interpersonal influence and group behavior are powerful forces when affecting a group's performance. This means they are also instrumental in effecting a group's motivation and dedication to change.

Once the guiding team is selected, the team must then decide what the vision for the future is. This entails specifying exactly was change is needed and how will they achieve that change. This vision needs to be one that is able to capture the attention of the target audience quickly and move them to action. It needs to be clear, concise and relatable. Again rather than filled with research it should be structured around real-life relatable examples. The guiding team again is the face of the change and needs to lead by example. The vision should be against the status quo, providing a new look at things. The vision should be used as a guide, with goals set. Without the presence of goals, a vision is just a bunch of words with no call for actions. Without the call for action, this again eliminates the need for change to take place. The vision should in essence be realistic, attainable, yet challenging. Presenting too easy of a task leads to one not being motivated to attempt to attain the goal. No one wants to be labeled a failure.

Now that the vision has been created it must then be communicated to others. If step 3 was done correctly, the vision that was created should be very simple to understand and therefore simple to communicate to others. One needs to remember that as a member of the guiding team, plenty of research was done. With that being said, during the communication of the vision, the message needs to be worded so that any and every one can understand and so that interest doesn't get lost. Ivancevich believed that there were certain factors that hindered effective communication. First, he believed that one's ability to interpret information based on their own previous experiences hindered their ability to effectively understand the message. Next, he mentions selective hearing. This is the ability to tune out what is being said to you and in essence hear only what you want to hear. One of the most important hinderers to effective communication mentioned in the text is filtering. This is when information is manipulated to seem positive. According to Kotter, this would be a big hindrance to his process and the success of his eight step model relies on the group's ability to maintain open and honest dialogue.

Once one has effectively communicated for buy-in, they must then empower action. This step entails removing any barriers



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