There are ten critical actions for leading a successful transformation in an organization. The first action is to clearly identify the desired results of the transformation. There must be a clear goal in place before management can go about initiating a change. All individuals must be made aware of the goal in this stage, both involved management personnel as well as the reaming employees. Should there be any detail discrepancies with the basic understanding of what the organization is trying to achieve then a part or parts of the company may not be putting all effort towards that goal. All the steps leading up to end results of the transformation should adequately match the purpose. Target landmarks can be devised to make sure that all efforts are in indeed for the ultimate result. (McGuire, Palus, Pasmore & Rhodes, 2009)
The second action is developing a cohesive change strategy. In order to create such a strategy, management must have some specifics answered. The first is what basic changes need to be made to attain the desired results. Then, who are individuals involved in the implementation of this change. The final question is, how exactly the change will occur within the organization. There must be an outlined process for answering the how the above mentioned steps. Once each part of this critical action has been identified, all of that information should be combined into a cohesive change strategy. Other matters to include would be making note of potentially issues along the way and secondary plans for individual stages. This will allow the organization to create an adaptable change strategy. This should be used as a guide throughout the transportation process. (McGuire, Palus, Pasmore & Rhodes, 2009)
The third critical action is to be sure to involve every single employee in the transformation. One hundred percent participation is vital for a successful change to take place. The efficiency of most issues is largely dependent on the level of support behind or against the issues itself. In a corporate setting, promoting awareness and information are necessary to encourage mass support. People will only support something if they both know about it and know how it benefits them. The authors from the Center for Creative Leadership state that ‘The mindset tends toward collaborating in a changing world so that new organizational orders and structures can emerge through collective work’ (McGuire, Palus, Pasmore & Rhodes, 2009). The leadership team should keep this in mind as a strategy to use to encourage change with the majority.
The fourth action is proceeding with a unified effort. Leadership and employees must be able to effectively collaborate regardless of potential contrast in viewpoints. That being said both management and employees should be willing to begin accepting the change before any type of benefits or repercussions are known. Differences in the group must be utilized as strengths rather than a weakness. With the right level of cooperation both groups can have a say in the change transformation and their future within the organization. Communication strategies should be utilized during every stage of the transition’s development. It is a common mistake for change agent’s to only push awareness and knowledge at the very beginning stage of change. This will not take full advantage of the opportunity for whole participation or support behind the change. (McGuire, Palus, Pasmore & Rhodes, 2009)
The fifth critical action is to examine the extensiveness and complexity of the particular transformation at hand. When creating a process for change for a specific transformation, those inducing the change must be fully aware of the possibilities, opportunities and avoidances in the progression of change. Full attentiveness to any potential influences and controls throughout transformational development will guarantee smooth transitions and change success. John Kotter also states that it is important to make sure that all involved leaders know that ‘Most successful change efforts begin when some individuals or some groups start to look hard at a company’s competitive situation, market position, technological trends, and financial performance’ (2007).
The sixth action should take place during the transformation itself. An organization should work to transform the attitudes and basic performance of both management and all other employees. This action should begin with management altering their mentality and approach. Once this change has been made, the remaining employees will most likely adopt the new mentality by the example of their superiors. In the case the new mindset is not adopted immediately or at all, the leaders should make every effort to encourage this new way of thinking so the change can actually be made. Going back to the third critical action, management must make sure that all employees are actively participating in the new attitude and new behavior. The organization’s leadership should implement the strategy in groups of employees rather than individually. (McGuire, Palus, Pasmore & Rhodes, 2009)
The seventh critical action is to choose a specific change process methodology and utilize the method as a guide for implementing the ongoing transformation. The very nature of a transformation process is unpredictable. Leaders and change agents must always keep this in mind when they are planning from start to end. Due to this all plans must be flexible, so the chosen tool for change must fit that elastic environment. The data collection and feedback cycle should be followed here. Management should plan to collect necessary data for the particular transformation. Then the core activities include actually collecting the data and then analyzing the encountered data with both qualitative and quantitative tools. After examination, the data will enter a feedback process. Questions should be answered at this stage on the accuracy, relevancy and reasonability of the date at hand. All relative and quality data should then be used to continue on with the transformation process. (Cummings and Worley, 2008).
Once the sixth and seventh critical actions have been completed, the eight (7) critical action may take place. Those in charge of the transformation should make certain that the chosen change process and newly transformed employee attitudes are still in line with the anticipated goal at hand.
Figure 2 in the Appendix depicts how organization change should appear while a transition is in progress. The previous state of the organization should no longer be exercised in any manner. All new efforts should be toward the desired future and adaptable for potential disruptions in the process. Regardless of the varying standard critical actions for change that should be premeditated, the progress of change can change at any moment. It is essential to monitor all of these elements. (McGuire, Palus, Pasmore & Rhodes, 2009).
The ninth critical action must be taken before the transformation is complete. This action is basically preparing for success. While the leaders of the transformation should be cautious of potential adversity they should also prepare for the best case scenario which is a successful change. Not being preparing for sudden success could be as disastrous as failure. Management directing the transformation should always be reassessing whether they have enough time as well as the proper resources for realizing the change. All components should be aligned and ready for absolutely any scenario whether that would prove to be success or failure. (Cummings and Worley, 2008).
The final action is to continue all nine aforementioned critical actions until the transformation proves to be complete. Completion will be apparent when the desired results outlined in the first critical action are indeed achieved. Regardless of the various standard critical actions involved in implementing a successful transformation, the progress of change can deviate from expectation at any moment. The leadership team and change agents should make it their mission to monitor all of the above mentioned actions to ensure a victory of change. (Cummings and Worley, 2008).