Consider a change initiative that you have some familiarity with
The change initiative I have some familiarity with is the lean in distribution and manufacturing site. The major unanticipated outcome was an enormous employee resistance to change which had not been taken into account in the initial stage of planning. Employees resisted both actively and passively, some of them were just apathetic and did nothing. To handle the resistance, I spent much time analyzing the reasons for the resistance, ways of how it can be used productively, and ways of how to overcome it and make the personnel embrace change. Generally speaking, I think I was quite effective at managing this unanticipated outcome as I decided to act immediately and regularly. Firstly, I encouraged a dialogue with the workers to increase awareness of the change. Secondly, I clarified the purpose of the change to the team and assessed and discussed ideas of resistors. Thirdly, I encouraged participation and engagement to promote the change. This makes me think that I was rather productive at managing resistance. However, I could have improved in this area by incorporating leadership strategies so that employees would be more open for the change.
In terms of handling of the need to take actions that sustain change, I would rate myself as reactive and productive enough. This is because I can immediately determine the slightest signs of employee resistance and quickly draft a plan what I will do to overcome these barriers. Speaking of embracing the change myself and acting in accordance with the change management plan, I can rapidly adapt to the new direction. It is clear to me that change is an ever-present feature and organizations should regularly change in a shifting environment to save or boost their competitive advantage. Therefore, when I understand the purpose of the change, the desired outcome, and how the change is aligned with the company’s vision and mission, I act accordingly with the framework and show full enrollment. I do not resist change since it is obvious to me that the change is a natural necessity for the long-term success of any organization. What I did not so well regarding the need to sustain change is failed to create an effective strategy of how to motivate people to embrace the change.
When I was on the receiving end of the change initiatives of others, I noted that they effectively handled the need to take actions to sustain change. In particular, they acted within the change management models to diagnose the need for change and promote it among the personnel. My colleagues revised all the indispensable components which had to be changed, such as strategy, structure, style, system, staff, and subordinate goals. Then, my co-workers examined the company’s vision, mission, and business strategy to provide that the change complies with them and effectively used this to gain employees’ support. Also, it was ensured that the change is regularly communicated to the workers. However, my colleagues did not succeed in choosing an effective communication strategy and productively overcoming passive staff resistance. This led to some employees overtly procrastinating and others feigning ignorance. As a result, change implementation was significantly impeded and was close to failure.
I am more comfortable using face-to-face communication, as this form of interaction better facilitates employee understanding and engagement. In particular, face-to-face communication is especially effective at the stage of overcoming employee resistance when by asking direct questions I can get workers doing what I want to. Also, face-to-face communication is the best option to educate employees about the change, help them understand the business, and get their feedback. However, depending on the stage and type of change, I usually adopt different forms of communication. When I need only to ensure that the workers are aware of the slight change, I can use “leaner” media, such as e-mail or newsletter (Palmer et al. 229). When I need to gain support from employees and the change is more serious, I can use seminars and training courses. When the change is deep and I need to get enrollment from the staff, I use team problem solving and talk-back. I have had the most success with the “rich” communication media, as it allows quick feedback, personal focus, and multiple informational cues.
Examples of usage
It is important to mention that an effective workplace uses different types of communication. Visual communication is commonly used in the working environment as an alternative way of transferring data into digestible and interactive information for workers. This type of communication can be incorporated in order to share corporate information with employees and highlight specific points that are crucial in the working process. Slide presentations offer a visual element and thus assist workers to understand the subject better. Apart from that, presentations show some kind of information, such as graphs, diagrams, or tables, in a more understandable way. Other examples of visual communication are electronic memos, video, paper handouts, and backboard or whiteboard.
Written communication involves writing or typing information with a goal to present information in a clear and concise manner (Willkomm par. 4). Examples of written communications include memos, proposals, guidelines, training manuals, reports, instant messages, and evaluations. Written communications can also be used for contracts and agreements. This is a flexible type of communication as it may be used for both formal and informal purposes. Intradepartmental written communications help in the delegation of work within the different units of an organization, whereas e-mails and business letters are crucial for maintaining contact with clients and partners.
Verbal communication occurs when individuals share information through the use of speech. This kind of communications can happen face-to-face, over the telephone, or via Skype. Excellent verbal communication is key to maintaining successful corporate relationships with employees and business relationships with partners. In particular, good verbal communication is of help in organizations with a diverse workforce where it can reduce barriers between workers due to cultural differences. Verbal communication can be the main part of communication strategies for change implementation. It is a well-known fact that employees feel more secure and satisfied with their work if they are communicated effectively.
Just like any other type of communication, non-verbal one can be used for sharing ideas and meanings with other people. Examples of non-verbal communications include facial expressions, eye contact, posture, gestures, and touch (Willkomm par. 3). Non-verbal communication plays an important role in the workplace as it allows for identifying what the speaker does not say verbally. This type of communication affects the interaction during business conferences, when chatting with co-workers, or leading a presentation, and it also plays a role in social settings, official parties, or business dinners. Managers who effectively use and interpret non-verbal cues can boost employee morale and even overall job performance.
Palmer, Ian, et al. Managing Organizational Change: A Multiple Perspectives Approach. 3rd ed., McGrow-Hill, 2017.
Willkomm, Anne Converse. “Five Types of Communication.” Drexel University. 2018. Web.