AN EXAMPLE OF FULL UTILIZATION OF THE CHANGE PROCESS MODEL
The company's most senior leader receives a message from the people in his organization: they have noticed an increase in the number of injuries in the company's manufacturing plants. This leader tells himself that the organization – both its leaders and its followers – must somehow dramatically reduce these injuries if not eliminate them entirely. This will require transformational change, not just an incremental reduction in injuries.
The leader decides to utilize the change process model as a means of collaborating effectively with his leadership team and a group of other thought leaders. Together they will think about the Why? What? and How? of the change.
His senior people and thought leaders are all experienced practitioners of the change process model, so they recognize its lexibility and power to guide the thinking of change agents. They also recognize that it can be used for situations that border on crisis as well as for situations where more time to think is available. Clearly the present situation, where people are being injured, is a crisis that demands change. They agree that the change process model must be used in its entirety and that this can be done eficiently and will beneit the organization. Spending the time upfront will beneit the organization in the long run. That time might be well used as follows.
DEVELOPING MEANING FOR CHANGE
1. The change agent and the thought leaders meet and decide to list all their beliefs surrounding the facts of a large increase in injuries in the organization.
2. The group spends many hours collecting a wide variety of beliefs. These beliefs both conirm previous beliefs and reinforce the bedrock idea of seeking to do no harm to other people.
3. Many of the group's beliefs underscore the need for an honest discussion of individual and organizational competence relative to the issue. It is vital that this group not argue, but instead display tolerance for one another as they seek the right answers. At this stage, it is not the goal to reconcile differences of opinion.
4. The group of leaders then take all the beliefs they have gathered and construct a statement of philosophy. Here the idea is to look for agreements so that a broad but powerful statement of the organization's thinking can be developed. An example might be, “All injuries in the workplace are preventable and we are committed to move towards a future state of zero injuries.” This statement, remember, has lowed from a long and thoughtful discussion whose goal has been to develop a coherent statement of values. Statements like this answer these questions: What do we stand for? Why do we need to change? What will we need to change?
5. Next, the group considers the statement of philosophy it has established and, from it, develops ive to ten statements that will serve as guides to action. These statements may well include the following:
• We will ask our people to seek ways to prevent injuries to themselves
and others in the organization as a condition of their employment.
• We will continuously inform all our stakeholders, inside and outside
the company, about our company value of doing no harm to people.
• We will reinforce with our employee stakeholders our resolve as senior
leaders to not tolerate any injuries at any time.
• We will reinforce with our employees that they are individually accountable for their personal safety and the safety of others within the work system.
The transformational change contemplated focused on reinforcing with employees the importance of sustaining organizational values. An examination of the company's past collective actions revealed that they had not relected those values, and now the senior leaders are determined to do what is necessary to “get on track” again. This in turn may mean taking unusual actions – countercultural actions – or developing a new strategic direction.
The leaders decide they have done a thorough job of creating the atmosphere of collective thought at a level of “guides to action.” The meaning of the required change, but not the strategy or actions, has been determined. A shared purpose is possible. Now it is necessary to somehow determine how to act on the principles and formulate a direction for change.