The interview taken for this module is of Mr. Steve Bolland (Area Manager, William Hill Plc, Bristol). William Hill is gambling company, providing gaming and betting services across three channels: online, on the high street and on the phone. As an employee of this organization in Bristol the accesses to the interview was not difficult. Different questions from leadership concept were asked to Mr. Steve Bolland to get clearer picture of leadership in real practical world. The statement given by Mr. Steve Bolland was recorded and was used to link with leadership concepts and theories written by great scholars. Theories such as Trait approach, Power and politics, Coercion etc were analysed for benefit of the assignment. The situation at William Hill organization was investigated to understand Organisational Change in more depth. Certain Recommendation and solution are given to make leadership a success.
In today's highly competitive business world where customers are not only demanding excellent service, but are also demanding benefits and more flexible services, the best way to survive is to reshape to the needs of a rapidly changing world (Clark ,1995). Taking into consideration all the complexities of the customer market, including customer demands and competition from the competitors, William Hill has been going through the process of Organisational Change. According to (Clark ,1995) change means different things to different people. Moreover, change is disturbing when it is done to us and exhilarating when it is done by us (Kanter, 1999). Therefore, change is a complicated process that requires the role of leader. As Gill (2003) mentioned, it is leadership to make the difference and drive change to be successful.
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Organisational Change and Leadership:
According to Carter (2008), for organizations to develop and expand its business, they often must undergo significant change at various points in their development. That's why organizational change and development has become success factor for business, organizations, leadership and management. It also highlights the fact that success of an organisation is linked to its ability of accepting or avoiding a change. According to Wallace and Ridgeway (1996), leadership plays a vital role in the successful implementation of change in an organisation. They believe that it is the responsibility of the leader to motivate, influence and direct his or her members towards the successful implementation of an organisational change. Further de Vries (1995) suggests that a leader has to take the responsibility of the change by influencing and by being an influential change leader to guarantee the success of change. He further states, "The influential leader will tend to be someone who exhibits a high level of assertiveness and who acts in a proactive manner". So, it's clear that for a change to take place, a leader has to play the vital role of influencing his or her members to accept and embrace the change within the organisation.
In order to learn more about Organizational change and leadership from lectures and theories to practice in a particular organization, an interview with Steve Bolland (Area Manager William Hill Plc. Bristol) has been conducted to get involve with change performance of William Hill in coming years. As an employee of William Hill organization the access to the interview was not difficult. (See Appendix)
William Hill is one of the best-known names in the gambling industry, providing gaming and betting services across three channels: online, on the high street and on the phone. Established in 1934, have been listed on the London Stock Exchange (WMH.L) since 2002 and employ over 15,000 people in the UK, Ireland, Israel and Bulgaria. William Hill is one of the UK's leading bookmakers, with the aim to give the customers what they want, when they want it, where they want it.
Changes in the William Hill Services:
Referring to change, Steve Bolland mentioned that there are a lot of changes in William Hill Services in the recent years such as, Introduction of online betting and telephone betting and providing 24 hrs real time customer services. Opening accounts for international customers for both online and telephone betting. Adoption of advanced technology for online and telephone betting with routine maintenance and updation. Staff training refresher course programmes under which relevant staff will be reminded of their specific responsibilities under the Act and Gambling Commission codes and conditions. Successful launch of a new corporate website. The Board has adopted a charitable donations policy stating that the major focus of the Group's efforts will be in supporting bodies involved in: promoting a responsible approach to gambling; undertaking research into problem gambling; and providing information, advice and help to those who are at risk or are experiencing difficulties with their gambling; greyhound and racehorse welfare; and supporting disadvantaged individuals in horse and greyhound racing.
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Steve Bolland emphasized that Technology moves on in advance, we then have to keep pace with the changes in technology and look at how our staffs work and operate with skills are required. Therefore, staff's roles are changing along side with technology". When asked what are the challenges he face in convincing his employees for this change? He said that there are challenges such as maintaining service levels during the change, Resistance from employees and also said that the fear within the employees of the organisation. He said, employees feel that they will loose there expertise and they don't want to change their way of doing work, they feel that it would be difficult for them to accept change as they won't be comfortable". Hooper and Potter (2000), in his research on effective change leadership found that people are not willing to enter the discomfort zone (change) because according to him they believe there is an uncertainty and ambiguity attached to a change. He said: "It can be difficult for staff because some of them are afraid of losing their job, others do not understand why change has to take place or they think that change is too risky. Therefore, they may resist the change.
The other challenge that was highlighted by Steve Bolland was the influence of power or politics on the process of change. According to Handy (1985), the presence of an overbearing boss can seem like coercion to his subordinates and coercion as a mental application suggests that for a change to prevail, influence of power should be minimized. Large-scale change in an organisation usually requires some change in the organisational culture as well as direct influence over individual subordinates. By changing the culture of an organisation, top management can indirectly influence the motivation and behaviour of the organisations members (Yukl, 2006).
Change leadership in the William Hill:
According to Hooper and Potter (2000), leadership plays a very important role in change management and "the key skill of the leader is in creating a climate where change is welcomed, not feared". To the question, "How do you motivate your people to accept change"? Mr. Steve Bolland replied, he supports people who have new ideas as well as allow and enable others to inspire and motivate. Moreover, she added: "Praising is a good way to motive and inspire my staff. From my experience, my staffs really like to be said that they had done a good job. This can make my staff feel that their leader really appreciate their efforts". He said that he believes in leading from the front by setting examples for his members to follow e.g. he follows all the policies and regulations of the organisation, manages time, besides that he sets an example for his members by working hard.
When asked about how difficult is it to implement change? He answered, "It becomes difficult when the change is resisted by the top management". He said that at times it is hard to convince top management about the benefits of the change because according to him they are strongly committed to traditional approaches and do not understand that the old ways of doing things are no longer appropriate. Mr. Bolland views are backed by Yukl (2006) who also believes that the major transformation of an organisation often requires the replacement of top management by new leaders with a mandate for radical change. During the interview, he acknowledged the fact that it is difficult to convince people and motivate them for the change however, he said that he have these motivational inspiring traits from within and he motivates and influences people better than his other counterparts. He was in favour of bfamous Trait theory that people are born with certain character traits. According to Hooper and Potter (2000), so in order to implement a successful change within the organisation, a leader has to play a vital role. He or she has to make sure that people are made aware of the change and they are briefed about all the possible benefits of the change. It becomes paramount on the leader to motivate his or her people towards change by recognising and rewarding their efforts. In Interview Steve Bolland highlighted some responsibilities of a leader leading a group of people and he said that, the leader needs to accept that people are individuals and have different motivations and skills; therefore all views are valid and should be respected even if you personally don't agree with them.
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According to Steve Bolland, if your employees don't stand up to your expectations, never blame them as they might be doing it the way their culture has taught them." For being successful in managing and leading people you have to understand the way they behave and what they expect.An individual can only deliver his best when he is comfortable doing what he is doing. Also giving freedom to do things their ways always get you satisfying results. Steve Bolland accepts the truth that one person alone cannot make change happen, it affects all staff. Even though all staff can have a voice, but the decision making process also needs to be clear, and all staff can't make the decisions". he make clear that it is his role to have trust and confidence in others, enable them to do what should be done in the change process as well as win the resources necessary for them to do their jobs.
After interviewing Steve Bolland based on leadership theory which focus on change and change leadership it can be said that in order to make change happen successfully, Therefore, the leader should have the vision of change, the strategy for change, the knowledge of a culture of shared values, the ability to empower as well as motive and inspire those who are involved in change (Gill, 2003).
I do thank Steve Bolland for spending time to answer my questions of the interview. It is a valuable opportunity for me to apply what I learn from Interview, personal experiences, lectures and theories to real-world practice, to be experienced in observing change process in a particular organization. These experiences and theories will help me to shape my knowledge about change leadership as well as my future application. Well, I am still a human being and require lots of efforts to win over my weaknesses in my path to become a transformational leader. I believe everybody including me must strive to become great in life.
Carter, M. 2008 Organizational change and Development [online] [Available at http://managementhelp.org/org_chng/org_chng.htm#anchor61645] [Accessed on 12 April,2010].
Clark, D. (1995) Leadership and Change [online] [Available at http://www.nwlink.com/leader/leadchg.html] [Accessed on 12 April, 2010].
De Vries, K. (1995) "Organisational paradoxes: clinical approaches to management".
Gill, R., 2003. Change management or Change Leadership?. Journal of Change Management. Vol 3 (4), pp. 307-318.
Hooper, A., Potter, J., 2000. Intelligent Leadership - Creating a Passion for Change. London: Random House Business Books.
Handy, C. (1985) "Understanding Organizations", 3rd Ed Penguin.
Kanter, R.M., 1999. Change in Everyone's Job: Managing the Extended Enterprise in a Globally Extended World. Organizational Dynamics. Vol 28 (1), pp. 7-23.
Ridgeway, C. (1996) "The influential change leader" Leadership for strategic change p.3.
Steve Bolland, 2009 (Areal Manager, William Hill Plc.) Bristol. UK
William Hill, 2009 about the company [online] [Available at http://www.williamhillplc.com/wmh/about/] [Accessed on 12 April 2010]
Yukl, G. (2006) "Influencing organization culture, leadership in organisations" 6th edition, New Jersey.