Consulting Report Part II 14
Managing change requires strategic planning, failure to which thechange will be unsuccessful. Companies need to be sure that thechange is well communicated to all stakeholders. The reportintroduces storytelling and design thinking as effective approachesin the execution of change management. The report identifies theproblems faced by Company A, during change implementation whenaltering their business strategy towards website development. This isfollowed by an analysis of storytelling in improving communicationwithin the company. Storytelling also enhances the effectiveness ofpersonnel by informing on change areas well in advance. Therecommendations provided include employing a communication mediatorand providing employee training.
Introduction and Background
This report is an analysis of Company A’s strategic changemanagement following the decision to create an Australian socialmedia website, company-a.com. The company realizes that implementingand investing a social media platform, which focuses on the localsociety will become a successful business venture, considering thesuccess achieved by Facebook. To achieve such success, Company A hasto alter its business model from the development of private andpublic organization websites to the development of Australian socialmedia website. To implement change successfully, the company employedpersonnel whose effort could be dedicated towards the creation of thenew website, which resulted in launching of the website in 2012. Theanticipated success was not attained and instead Company A facedgrave monetary challenges, massive staff resignation, and stuntedcompany development.
Based on the interviews conducted on the company’s previous projectand change managers engaged in the project, it is apparent that thecompany is lacking in strategic change implementation. The idea ofcreating a new social media website, which solely targets theAustralian local society, is appropriate. However, because of poormanagement, the feasibility of the new idea has been reduced tofailure. The report introduces design thinking and storytelling andtheir effectiveness in managing strategic change in the company. Itbegins with an analysis of the results obtained from the interviewsconducted on Company A’s managers. The section is an analysis ofthe questions and responses derived from the interviews, anddetermination of the problems. Second is the discussion involvingexplanation on how storytelling and design thinking can be employedin enhancing strategic change execution. The discussion also entailsthe development of a structure Company A can apply as an overallmodel for change. Last, the report provides recommendations forCompany A.
Design thinking regards to the methodology designers employ insolving intricate challenges, and finding advantageous alternativesfor clients. The methodology draws on reason, insight, imaginationand methodical reasoning to look at probabilities of what can work,and to outline preferred results, which are beneficial to end users.Human beings have been employing storytelling for many decades, andit progresses to play a crucial function in conveying knowledge. Itis as well a helpful medium for internal company communication,specifically in instances when change is being implemented. Duringchange implementation, storytelling connects the barrier amid theworker and employer via engagement at a personal point. Bothstorytelling and design thinking are methods, which when effectivelyapplied result in successful change implementation, as will bedepicted in subsequent sections of the report.
Methods and Analysis of Results
In evaluating the strategic change implementation, it is necessary todetermine if Company A has an effective business strategy. Followinga description of the company’s change plan, interview questions areemployed in determining why implementing the social media website wasunsuccessful. The project manager and change manager are theinterviewees. The individuals are selected due to their importantrole in the website implementation. Notably, the change manager,William has previously worked in the similar role for a period of sixyears. Contrary, the project manager, Alex has never been engaged inthe management of change prior to his involvement in Company A.Information about the company is important in determining why thecompany wants to change its strategy. Since there is no social media,website targeting the local society, the move is a well thought plan.However, such a change is a long procedure, which mandates effectivestrategic management by the company. It is also necessary to ensurethat all the employees are engaged.
The interview questions are reasonable in their objective ofdetermining the failures and strengths of the company. In phase I,the questions are developed and justification provided explaining whyeach question is important when working as a management consultantfor Company A. The questions provide responses to,
The major strengths of the business strategy employed
Possible reversal of strategic change
Effectiveness of the CEO as the individual responsible in deriving the idea and selecting change implementation managers
Strategies employed in engaging the workers to adopt change
The availability of alternative plans to apply in reversing the failures impeding the company from effective performance
Prospect plans with the workers that have proven to be ineffective in change implementation
The communication strategies Company A has utilized in integrating new employees with current employees, and the company’s culture
Strategies that have been used by the Human Resource Department in preparing employees for the strategic changes
Plans the company intends to undertake in solving the initial failure
Proposed alterations that have been rejected by the change implementation team
In Phase II, the interviewees respond to the questions. Theresponses are necessary in determining the problems in Company A.They act as the results of the study. It is apparent that Company A’sineffective change implementation arises from lack of an effectivestrategy. Despite having a great idea and innovative technologyuntapped by different social media websites, existing personnel withwebsite development experience, and a working budget, Company A’sineffective management turnaround of the strategic change starts frompoor management.
Poor management of the strategic change – the decision to create anew website is one that will affect all the personnel in the company.Thus, a company that intends to implement change must ensure that thechange is effectively communicated to all stakeholders. In the caseof Company A, the CEO, web developers and architects generated theidea. However, they did not communicate with other junior employeeson the idea, and instead settled on progressing with the idea,without consent from all stakeholders. Such a measure may result inresentment from some employees that feel they were not involved insuch an important decision-making. It also reduces morale renderingthe employees ineffective (Bruch, Gerber & Maier 2002, p. 101).For instance, the project manager notes that the company was unableto consent on how to apportion profits, compensation and ownership ofthe website once completed. These are issues that should have beendiscussed and settled on before proceeding with the website creation.
Poor communication – to successfully shift from an interactiveagency to a website developer Company A needed to settle on the mosteffective method of communication with staff. Simply informing staffof the change is not effective in ensuring that they comprehend whythe company is altering their business strategy. Employees are moreopen to change when managers effectively communicate the reason forchange, and how the change will be implemented (Sweety 2009, p. 387).This is because they need to feel that the change will not affecttheir position within the company. Company A has made efforts incommunicating with staff. The CEO employed case studies and researchalready concluded on available social media websites, like Facebook.The change manager was accountable for collecting information relatedto the change plan and communicating it to all personnel. Projectmanagers and team leaders met on a daily basis to brief on the statusof the project. Weekly meetings were also arranged within the companyto allow the employees share in decision-making. However, despite thecommunication strategies, the company hired new workers who were slowin comprehending the change plan prerequisites from the start,slowing down the implementation. Utilizing a card wall for postingcards on change progress was also an ineffective communicationstrategy as personnel easily misplaced the cards. This means thatthey are not sure of the change implementation status.
Employee ineffectiveness – working with ineffective workersoutwardly results in change implementation failure. This is becausean ineffective personnel lacks the skills required in websitedevelopment. In addition, ineffectiveness drags the changeimplementation progress, as well as resulting in more and unnecessaryspending. Notably, the project manager is ineffective in his role.This is because he has never been engaged in any strategic changeexecution. Considering his strategic role in the website development,ineffective project management will outwardly drag the entire changeprocess. Senior developers’ positions in the company were promotedto become leaders directing new workers. New employees need trainingon the company’s culture, importance of the change strategy andtheir function in Company A, which should be communicated from themoment they are hired. Although team leaders will significantlydirect the employees, team leaders are more effective when personnelare aware of their expected function in the company. Company Asettled on hiring a new group of employees to work on the websitedevelopment. The move is inappropriate considering that the newpersonnel lacked experience in technological application. Forinstance, the team responsible for testing the website failed to doso on enough mobile devices. The change manager notes a number of thenewly hired workers lacked comprehension on the change requirementsfrom the start, dragging the change plan. The team developers areinexperienced on MySQL and PHP, resulting in extra expenses for thecompany.
The problems identified in Company A will be solved through designthinking and storytelling. Organizational change takes place when anorganization alters an existing state of operation to a prospect one.It might include the entire company, or have an effect on specificsections, in which case all workers are affected. Storytelling is aninterior communication approach, which engages personnel at a moreindividual level resulting in a deeper comprehension of managementdecisions (Cathy & Margaret 2007, p. 211). A good narrativecaptures imagination and makes individuals feel what is communicated.Stories construct the experiences, which ensure that the change iscomprehended at an individual phase. To achieve effectiveness,strategy should not merely inform but inspire as well. Storytellingdevelops associations through assisting all personnel realize theircommon goal. Narratives shape up general values, creating strongerteams (Gary et al 2006, p. 39).
During change implementation, stories act as a channel for workers toaccept the change (Gary et al 2006, p. 39). Good narratives areunforgettable and indulging making them very believable. They linkpeople and assist in relating with others. Leaders that want to bringtogether personnel and teams in implementing change must be genuineand energetic to build trust and loyalty (Gary et al 2006, p. 39).Storytelling is effective in improving Company A’s poorcommunication. Leaders accountable for implementing change ought tobe capable of structuring narratives through framing facts into anemotional milieu. They should employ the narratives in encouragingstaff to aspire. Storytelling incorporates all other methods that canbe applied in communicating with employees. This relieves the companyfrom creating cards for posting and ensures that new employeesunderstand the intended change faster.
Good narratives comprise of a plot, which creates sense in listenersthat the company has a vision (Stephen 2006, p. 43). In this case,the plot is the new idea and the vision is to shift from becoming aninteractive agency to website development. The CEO may have usedstorytelling in creating interest among the staff that websitedevelopment is more interesting. Although the CEO employed casestudies, they were not presented to all workers, but those involvedin creating the idea. An effective plot considers the entireorganization as a whole without discriminating on some employees(Stephen 2006, p. 43). Another feature of a good story is meaning,which impels action. Storytelling effectively informs on areas withinthe company that will be changed, new roles to adopt, and strategies. This prepares workers in advance for the changes making it easy totrain new employees in time dealing with the challenge of ineffectiveemployees (Stephen 2006, p. 43).
Storytelling also enhances workers effectiveness by creating dialoguebetween project managers and other team members (Anne, Tuija &Kallio 2013, p. 161). Dialogue facilitates in depth comprehension ofthe project ensuring that skill development is attained from the verystart of change implementation. The utilization of narration throughface-to-face narratives is a principle approach towards strengtheningCompany A’s principles. This is because it is one of the bestmanners of indulging directly with personnel. Storytelling has thecapability of endorsing dialogue, which enables improvedcommunication balance amid the company and its interior stakeholdershence, improving effectiveness (Jack & Barnes 2006, p. 351).Workers frequently search for information, which they can employ inenhancing their professional place. Indulging with personnel onmatters like what encourages them is of basic relevance (Boje 2008,p. 98). Company A already has guidelines and practices forimplementing the change. Storytelling might avail the cut-throughconcerning instilling loyalty towards the change strategy, in turnimproving staff effectiveness.
The recognition of design thinking derives from the relevance ofdesign in business. Design thinking as a technique investigatesdiverse manners of solving challenges, and helps in determining thesuitable solutions for the challenges (Brown 2009, p. 33). As astrategy, design thinking avails a manner of handling the intricacyof a specific company condition, tackling challenges that are notplainly defined, as well as backing advent ideas prior to their fullformation (Martin 2009, p. 79). Since the procedure of design ismatched to involving numerous kinds of stakeholders, the thinkingacts as a manner of securing more support as it intervenes amid thecompany, ideas and individuals (Boland & Collopy 2004, p. 37).This demonstrates the relevance of design thinking in solving theproblem of poor strategic change management.
Whereas design-thinking procedures are not linear, the beginningstages of a design strategy shape possible chances for the company(Brigitte 2003, p. 97). Timely framing and re-framing endeavorsindulge many company stakeholders in the expression and communicationof the business scope. As a result, organizational knowhow isfiltered to the strategic design plan, facilitating the unearthing ofmajor challenges facing a company’s exterior and interiorsurroundings, as well as stimulating a wider comprehension of thechange idea within a strategic phase (Brown 2008, p. 87). Thestrategic design procedure then characteristically assumes userresearch, which centers on the ethnographic research of target users(Brown 2009, p. 107). For instance, in Company A, the test team wasineffective in testing the website on many mobile gadgets. This meansthat there was minimal comprehension of the effectiveness of thechange implementation. In addition, it was not possible for thecompany to comprehend its latent demands. Design’s capability toshift from creative towards analytical management approaches mergedthe historically limited management techniques. The outcome is thatdesign strategies avail the company with an advent manner of handlingintricate and unclear strategic issues.
Recommendations and Conclusion
Communication within a company ought to be appropriate,understandable, precise and reliable (Bruch, Gerber & Maier 2002,p. 101). Improving communication in Company A begins by theimplementation of changes within the communication procedure.Employing the services of a communication mediator is one such wayvia which communication within the company will be transformed. Thereare many workers in the company, including new ones that need to bebriefed on the culture of Company A. Since most of the new workersare not well accustomed to the change strategy, they will also needproper communication concerning the new website development. Thus, infacilitating meaningful communication, the communication mediator canemploy storytelling and design thinking to communicate the changestrategy to workers prior to undertaking the implementation. Thedirector must access sources of management and team actions, whichensure workers, are informed of the happenings within the company.
Effective personnel training and management are necessary aspects inthe management of intricate projects (Gill 2000, p. 313). Workers arethe most important asset in ensuring the effective execution ofchange. Since ineffective employees have been realized as one of theproblems, the company will need to train and manage its employees.Such a measure will strengthen their value in the company. Trainingshould focus on website development, guaranteeing that employeesinvolved in the project are competent. It save costs for the companyas the workers develop professionally and grow together with thecompany. Training workers also saves on expenses incurred in payingnew employees. Since the company has decided to undertake a changefrom being an interactive agency to website development, hiringadvent workers to work on the new project is more costly. The companyshould train its existing employees on the new project. In the end,it will be easier to work with already established personnel insteadof hiring new employees whose competence is in doubt.
In conclusion, shifting from an interactive agency to websitedevelopment requires strategic change management. Problemsencountered in change management, communication and personnelineffectiveness hinder the success of change. As a result, thecompany spends on a strategy that fails. Storytelling and designthinking are integrated as strategies that ensure change issuccessful within Company A. The strategies shift focus fromconventional management strategies where CEO’s and managers simplytell employees what to do. Instead, they introduce new ways ofinvolving personnel in the new project from the start. In specificdesign, thinking ensures that the change is well calculated prior toimplementation. Moving forward, the company may still implement thechange. However, they need to realize that all employees should beinvolved in the change procedure. Human resources must hire and trainthe best managers and team for the project. Storytelling and designthinking are strategies the company will utilize to change its entirestrategy implementation.
Anne, P., Tuija, O., & Kallio, A., 2013. Creating dialogue bystorytelling. Journal of Workplace Learning, 25(3), pp.159-177.
Boje, D., 2008. Storytelling Organizations. Thousand Oaks,California: Sage.
Boland, R. & Collopy, F., 2004. Managing as Designing,Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
Brigitte, B., 2003. Design management: Using design to build brandvalue and corporate innovation, New York: Allworth.
Brown, T., 2008. Design thinking. Harvard Business Review, pp.84-92.
Brown, T., 2009. Change By Design: How Design Thinking TransformsOrganizations and Inspires Innovation, New York: HarperCollins.
Bruch, H., Gerber, P., & Maier, V., 2002. Strategic ChangeDecisions: Doing the Right Change Right. Journal of ChangeManagement, 5 (1), pp. 97-107.
Cathy, D. & Margaret, M., 2007. Restorying a Culture of Ethicaland Spiritual Values: A Role for Leader Storytelling. Journal ofBusiness Ethics, 73(2), pp. 205-217.
Gary, A., Joe, P., Van, S., & Jodi, K., 2006. How storytellingcan drive strategic change. Strategy & Leadership, 34(1),pp. 36 – 41.
Gill, R., 2000. Change Management or Change Leadership? Journal ofChange Management, 3 (4), pp. 307-318.
Jack, H., & Barnes, K., 2006. Leadership storytelling. Industrialand Commercial Training, 38(7), pp. 350-353.
Martin, R., 2009. The Design of Business: Why Design Thinking isthe Next Competitive Advantage, Boston, MA: Harvard BusinessPress.
Samson, D., & Bevington, T., 2012. Implementing strategicchange: managing processes and interfaces to develop a highlyproductive organization. London, Kogan Page.
Stephen, D., 2006. Effective storytelling: strategic businessnarrative techniques. Strategy & Leadership, 34(1), pp.42-48.
Sweety, L., 2009. Learning from employee communication duringtechnological change. Journal of Workplace Learning, 21(5),pp. 384-397.