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During my study and research on the subject matter, I realized that there are uncountable theories and researches on innovation and change. From all indication, these researches and theories stated clearly that, innovation is inevitable because business and competition is constantly evolving specially in my country and continent - Africa, West et al, 2003, defined Innovation as a new and improved ways of doing things at work whiles Porter and Ketels, 2003 also define innovation as the successful exploitation of new ideas. Reading on innovation and change, you will find out that, there are many models and techniques on how to implement innovation and Change in an outfit, implementation any of these techniques involves an attention of the individuals or resources involved and the environment within which it will be implemented.
When innovation is mentioned, it is important to know that one key element is people or resources; the resources are the basis of creativity, which is the source for innovation. As we understand, Creativity is the means of generating new ideas and perspectives. The fundamental way to appreciate resource as a foundation of creativity, it is to turn your attention on their competences, expertise, and source of inspirations - mainly on those people who are more likely to yield imaginative and artistic behavior. Leaders need to inspire, motivate and encourage people to come out with new creative ideas, to reward people for good ideas.
According Linda Holbeche; (2006), she thinks otherwise that combining hard and Soft Changes (E and O Theory) will not come on a silver platter; combining the two theories has a high possibility of creating uncertainty of the organization's leaders by their followers. Linda Holbeche; (2006), on the other hand, clarifies that organizations or outfits who have the right skill can implement the two theories and will not only make successful but make financial and developmental gains and also let the people adapt to the changes and innovations. According to Beer and Nohira, 1995 the technique described above will also aid create confident organizational culture of change ownership by employees and which will lead to a positive and effective forward moving change in the organization.
Positive and impactful change happens when people enthusiastically and freely change their actions. Taking a look at the analysis presented in Lewin's force field analysis. He mentioned that, leaders need to really work hard in other to predict the success of the change. During the predictive period, leaders of the change should be able to identify the "Driving Forces" - people pursuing to endorse change and the "Restraining Forces" - people who wants to maintain the old way of doing business describe by K. Lewin, he went ahead to say that, leaders should spend time and engage with the restraining force, leaders of the change should provide them with enough information on the change, the milestones and success factors in the Change in other for them to full more comfortable and be part of the change, remember Successful change happens when people enthusiastically and freely change their actions and accept the change.
force field analysis graphic
The big question I constantly asked myself in the process of this research is that, what is the motivating factor in gaining employee acceptance or moving them from restraining force to driving force, I believe it's only when they see themselves in the end picture of the change or they actively involved in the process.
The diagram above clearly tells us that, some people would embrace changes while some people would resist, so in other to achieve good results; we need to carefully assess the pros and cons of the change and map a strategy to get more of the driving forces than the restraining forces. At least you need to get 90% of the people buy in.
In other to get a an appreciable percentage of driving forces before the change, it is good to integrate the positive and willingly accepters to help increase change acceptance levels, we can also break down the change process or procedure for milestones for easy consumption of the people.
Successful and less so successful change
Having worked for the 14 years now, I have seen lots of organizational changes that have gone down well and others that have not and long run affecting the business. I have been 1n the Telecom business in Ghana for the past 11 years, worked with different leaders. In the year 2005, tiGO, the first Telecom operate in Ghana which was established in 1991 decided to outsource its Customer Experience to an outsource vendor.
It was a critical decision since all the telecoms at the time in Ghana had their call in-sourced; the leaders of the change were able to combine both the soft and hard change approach, Hard changes where we suspected was going to be challenges in the area of IT infrastructure, Network connectivity, clearer of communications all those affiliated components, what the change leaders did right to alleviate the fears of the business was to bring in some experts who know the know-how of outsourcing. Critically analyzing the approach to handle the Hard issue, I must admit it was one of the best way a change can go well, most people will do ahead and change with involving the experts, thinking they can do it all by the selves.
The Experts of tiGO brought more insight and comfort for the some retraining forces who were of the view that, it is not possible for the change to be successful because the focus was technology. Experts or consultants in change will normal come in and gie you the best practice in you are of operations. They came to introduce start of the art technology for tiGO names the avaya Automatic Call Distributor and Call Centre Telephony, the use of E1s instead of the old copy fixed lines in the PABX. They brought innovation to revolutionalized the Customer Service of tiGO.
The change was an anticipatory, well planned and thought through and not an emergent one, it took the leaders 4 years to push their agenda through the ranks of the business.
Looking at the Soft issues which looks more complex was the how the selected Service Providers will be billing tiGO at the end of the month, how they are going to deal with human resource issues, how the teams and departments will accept the idea of outsourcing.
The change leaders identified the people as a strong part of the change process, a focus group was formed which I think it's the best because as stated in the above literature, the Key elements of change is people. The team involved key stakes holders very the first day the project was announced in the business, carrying people along with you during change is the biggest huddle to cross. The people who had been in the business for so long time without promotion and kept doing same thing felt they will be affected.
The smartest approach from the change leaders was to retrain some of these people and move them into the mainstream of the core business before the outsourced was due. 7 years down the line, the outsourcing of tiGO's Call Centre is described as the well thought of change that brought financial savings and service improvement to the business.
In 2010, Vodafone Ghana looking the success story of tiGO implemented the same strategy. The team from Vodafone Ghana decided and went ahead in 3 months. The decision was taken in the board and was signed off. Vendor was selected without due diligence.
In my opinion, Vodafone Ghana failed to recognize the fact that, the change was not incremental but revolutionary one; it there brought lots of challenges to bear. They reacted to tiGO who spent a longer time to prepare the minds of its people and got the required experts and technology for the change.
I realized Vodafone Ghana did not improve on technology innovation and depended on their old legacy Call Centre technology. Soft change was not addressed people which lead to the vendor lying off over 200 of the transferred staff. As of today, the weakest Call Centre we have in Ghana is Vodafone Ghana's Call Centre. The right experts or people in helm of affairs were not contacted before outsource was carried out. Key players were not engaged, Not critical analysis was done prior to the implementations. It was not done with any innovation in mind. The restraining forces were not engaged or even identified hence lackadaisical attitude towards the change and which affected the improvement and success of the change.
Self-Leadership Assessment and Action Plan
Reading bits and pieces of leadership styles during my research, I have now concluded that Leaders are the main drivers of change and innovation. As Yukl, 2002 stated, "Leadership is the process of influencing others to understand and agree on what the needs to be done and how it can be done effectively and also the process of facilitating individuals and collective efforts to accomplish the shared objectives"
It's very obvious that a great change and innovation leader should be able to have blend of leadership qualities, skills and style. The leader should also be able to derive particular innovation, seeking to make progress with it through the various stages of its life cycle, enlisting the support of others, gathering resources, planning and monitoring progress. To be able to do all stated, the leader need to be free and firm, free meaning working with his followers commanding and constantly reminder of hierarchy or position but also firmly to keep the focus of the change or innovation procedure.
To be able to one of the best of Change and Innovation leaders, one need to have undivided attention for his staff when communication with the, a good listener, acknowledge them as fellow colleague, be transparent and person with high integrity. Leading a team of 10 direct reports in my current role, I am determined to be one of the best people managers in my organization, I therefore focus getting my team members involve in any project, let them contribute to the start and make creative inputs to all projects. I make myself available at all times for the members of the team and always seek feedback from them.
As a way of improving on my leadership qualities, I am therefore going to first stick to the pointers below:
1. Take Initiative and be more innovative
2. Be more commitment
3. Passion about any project of change or innovation I am leading
4. Be a self - motivator and a motivator for my team
5. Be courageous to face any challenges that come up with the project
6. Be caring and my stand firm for my team
7. Perseverance - Keep eyes on the goal.
I believe in doing this, I will become will noted innovation and change in world.
In summary, there are many ideas and literature on change, innovation and leadership. Some can be implemented successfully while others cannot be actionable on reality. Many factors control the need for change and change vary in nature like why,. Nevertheless, the most important factor of change that all research and books agreed upon is: the PEOPLE. The authors contemplated on how to correctly and effectively manage the people's behaviors during a change. The relationship of trust, honesty and respect between leaders and employers, when this is felt within the organization, employees will welcome the change with less resistance be it soft or hard changes.
Change is inevitable, particularly in the world of business. Change can cause both positive and negative results for any company. First, change means growth and improvement, thus it can help companies to focus on the different threats and opportunities which can be implemented and prevented inside the organization in order to ensure success and maintain position in the market and industry. On the other hand, change can also cause negative results for any company, particularly in the aspect of management. It can cause huge amount to be spent, at the same time great effort to be exerted in order to ensure that the change will not affect the behavior and attitudes of the employees and other important stakeholders towards the company.