Why is strategic change so difficult to manage in my organization?

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Looking that evolution and the way things happen, it is possible and easy to say that nothing in this life last forever. Human beings come and go, over the course of our lives we change from kids to teenager to adults . In order to succeed a and make progress, every organization need to make changes. Irrespective of how powerful and successful a an organization, and irrespective of how much sustained success the organization has had, there is a need for change which is inevitable and ever present to ensure sustainable and continuous levels of success in the company.

The need for change can be ignited by a change in environment brought about by changes in customers taste, changes or advancements in technology, increase or changes in the level of competition or exogenous factors, things which are totally out of the control of management of the organization for example the occurrence natural disasters is totally our of the control of management of an organization. Change can also be brought about as a result of the organizations own success. Growth and market success will inevitable lead to changes in organizational size and complexities.

The main secret to long term success is the company or organizations ability to adapt to change. Many organizations tend to develop long term success formulas or successful business models that last for a particular period of time. As time goes by, the business environment as well as conditions with in the organization itself can change. In order for the organizations to maintain its level of success, it has to be able to adapt to the required level of change. Over time it has been proven that if the organization is able to adapt to changes in its environment, it will be able to flourish. Similarly, if the company is not able to adapt to changes in its environment, it will definitely experience difficulties, and irrespective of the amount of resources that it has or its current market share, the company can fail. This demise can occur rapidly or it can come about slowly. It is really important to not that the process of change can never be easy. The process of change more often than not is complicated and in most cases slow and painful. Depending of the variable, which has initiated the change, the process will come into effect at its own pace. If things don not go the way management is expecting, they can be pulled into n uncomfortable position

Human being as much as business organizations do not like change, as such the very important question that we will have to answer here is how much pain is an organization wiling to take in order to bring into existence the change variable

Strategic change over time has been given different definitions . Strategic change therefore could be considered as changes in the composition of a firms strategy as per it ‘s synergies, competitive advantages, scope, and resource deployment. It can also be looked at as the difference in the quality, state or form of an organization trying to align itself with the external environment. Looking at the definition of strategic change that we have just given above, it is clear that the process of implementing strategic change in any organization is clearly affected by the state of the firms themselves and the external environment. the performance of firms is greatly dependent on a mixture of the firms themselves and the external environment, the emergence of new opportunities therefore and the existence of threats in the existing environment, requires that firms are constantly changing in order to adapt to these changes in their environments. It is important here to note that strategic change is greatly affected by the state of the organization or company in question. For example, firms will adopt a new strategy in the face of financial distress. This main aim of this is to try to reverse the financially distressing situation to the company. Some companies tend to have structural inertia, as such in implementing strategic change, they tend to keep their previous strategy and structure. On a whole therefore, there are seven important point to note about strategic change. Firstly, in order for strategic change to take place, the business has to adapt to its existing environment., secondly, strategic change is complex and fluid and it creates new combinations and generates situational questions that might require non repetitive answers. Nextly, it affects all of the business by providing direction, as well as involving both content and process which can also be referred to as strategy formation and strategy implementation. Strategic change is partially planned and partially unplanned so that it can account for any other unforeseen circumstances that arise, also for strategic change to be effectively carried out, it has to be effectuated at all level of the organization. Strategic change should also be a well though out and conceptual process.

Managers leading change have to take three things into account when carrying out the change.

Firstly, the requirements for major changes in an organizations is a shift the the existing culture of the company as well as a change in the behavior of employees. A lot of initiatives for change fail because they do not deliver a shift by dealing with the cultural and political reality of the company.

Nextly, in order that strategic change is successful, it needs to be designed to fit in with the organizational context. Change more often than not is a very complex process; as such companies need to find a way with in which the required change can be adapted to the organizations structure. A lot of companies try to buy readymade solutions to their problems and because these are not designed with the particular structure of their organization in mind. They tend to face difficulties.

Lastly, organizations and the decisions that are made in them , are made by people. As such for change to be effectively implemented the people in these organizations have to change their attitudes and perceptions about the way business is done. An intrinsic part of the change process is the organizations employees.

In the case of British airways, there are a couple of things that might trigger a need for strategic change. There might be exogenous factors such as a rise in the price of raw material, for example, a rise in the price of oil, will inevitable lead o a rise in the price of gas. In order to adapt to this new changes in the business playing , and in order not to probably transfer these rises to ticket prices which is going to prevent middle line BA customers from switching and looking for a cheaper alternative, as manager in BA I might have to initiate other cost cutting techniques to be able to live up to and meet up with the necessary financial cost and still be as competitive as possible in ticket pricing. Other things that might trigger a strategic change include things such as employees demanding a pay rise, general economic crisis like the one which occurred in late 2008 and affected every sector of the economy, there might be an advancement in technology, maybe the development of ore fuel efficient planes, can in order maybe to adjust and fit in to this new market various things have to be done.

In order to effectively handle change at an organization like BA, there must be very good leaders in place so they can assist in leading employees through the change process. In order for change to be successful , people with the ability to successfully implement change are needed. It has been noted that serious change isn’t possible unless the people at the top of the organization are in support of the changes which are supposed to be going through. In a successful transformation, majority of the people on the board , departmental heads and a good number of other employees have to commit to pull together and improve performances. It is important for manager at the top of BA to realize that in order to demand a change from employees in the company, they themselves have to be model for the change that they are advocating for. If they expect a high standard from their employee, then they themselves have to be a model for that high standard. If the change involves cost cutting and they think that employees have to take a pay cut, they themselves as managers of the company have to take a pay cut.

In order for change to be implemented in the organization, management has to address and assess the human concern. BA claims to put people first, the reason for this is that people are the greatest asset of BA. The change implementers at BA need to be aware and able to invest effort and time into understanding the human concern and as much as they can, put themselves in the positions of the people who will be affected by any decisions that will be taken be it employees or customers. Communication is a very important tool for change. As much communications as possible is important as change sometimes can lead to fear of job losses, it can foster uncertainty and this can destabilize the whole change process. Management of BA as much as possible has to encourage and communicate with employees making them aware of the fact that they will be given every consideration and will be probably trained to do things in the new better way.

It is important for managers to know that the extend of strategic change implemented is very important. Even though it is really difficult to determine how much change or how fast change comes to an organization, it is necessary as a manager to note that change implemented at a very fast rate can instead work against the best interest of the company. Can be implemented too fast can destroy the moral of the employees and it has been know to cause employees to get sick. Even though some change is beyond out control, it is important that change should not be piled up on change. The management of BA therefore has to realize that too much change is an issue and they therefore have to set up an adequate timeframe within which change can be achieved. It might to an extend be a good idea to bounce idea of your employees if change you are trying to implement is a function of your control. Change is divided into four categories, realignment, incremental, big bang and transformational change. In order for an organization to implement transformational change, it has to change the people in an organization. To change the culture of an organization, the way people think and work has to be changed.

In order to help management Like BA management design a context sensitive approach to change with in their organization, the kaliedoscope was created. The kaleidoscope features things which are related to the companies culture, current situation and competencies. The strategic organizational change concept is defined by aspects such as the time frame with in which the change has to take place, the scope of the change , preservation, diversity, capability capacity readiness and power. The time frame of the concept with regards to BA will be talking about things should as the length of time required to implement change in the organization, for example, if an organization is in crisis, then they need less time to change while if it's a long term development strategy, the managements has more time to implement the change. When implementing the change, management has to take into consideration what aspect of the old structure need to be preserved, what need to remain and what needs to be changed. The scope of the change deals with the extend to which change will be implemented and how much of the organization will be affected by the changes coming into effect. Capabilities of the individual employees, management and the organization have to be taken in to consideration. The ability of staff to deal with these changes, the ability of management to see staff through these changes and the availability of organizational resources to manage these changes greatly determines the extent to which change is implemented.

Before a change approach is selected, it is important that the organization chooses the path change is going to take, the point at which change should start, the style change should take, the levers and mechanisms to be employed, and the role that people in the organization are going to play in order to effectuate change. Management of BA have to take this into consideration, they have to as much as possible ensure that change leadership is set up right. They have to make sure that management is in the right position to see change through.

In order for management to be able to lead change through, they have to take into consideration the values of the employees in the company and the ethnic and diversity issues which can be brought about as a result of change being implemented. Management leading change have to make sure that in designing and seeing the process of change through, they do not trample upon peoples ethical values or do things in such a way that the ethnic minority for example feel discriminated against. If that happens, moral levels in the company might drop and some employees might be left feeling frustrated at the change, which is being implemented.

It is important therefore to note that in order for change to be implemented in an organization like British airways, it is necessary for management to have open and effective communication with its staff, management should ensure that training and retraining programs have been set up so that staff can learn and get integrated in the change structure, Managing an organization is all about managing people, as such I think it is important for management to be able to motivate its staff. Preventing them from getting frustrated is integral to the strategic change process.

The business and organizational environment is constantly changing, as such it s really important for every organization, to keep on changing in order to succeed. Learning to adapt to change is a very necessary ingredient to be able to thrive in today’s business world as such organizations should be able to learn and continuously adapt to everyday changes.

In conclusion therefore, it can be said that strategic change is difficult to manage in an organization mainly due to the fact that organizations are all about people, and every human being is different in their own way. However, with the right leadership qualities at the helm of an organization, proper communication plan of the change strategy put in place and adequate availability of organizational resources strategic change can be implemented.