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The Heart of Change

Essay by   •  October 12, 2012  •  Research Paper  •  1,148 Words (5 Pages)  •  966 Views

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Discussion

I. Increase Urgency

According to The Heart of Change, the first step in a large scale change is to stir up a sense of urgency within the organization that change is necessary. In order for efforts for a large scale transformation to be successful, it is vital to create a sense of urgency. Without a sense of urgency, or the feeling that something needs to change, something needs to be done immediately, there is no action. If people do not act, change cannot occur. "A sense of urgency, sometimes developed by very creative means, gets people off the couch, out of a bunker, and ready to move" (Cotter & Cohen, 2002, pg. 3). Basically, creating a sense of urgency provides motivation for change to occur.

Motivation within an organization, according to Organization Behavior and Management, begins with the individual. Individuals are motivated to "reduce various need deficiencies" (2010, p. 122). "Need deficiencies trigger a search process for ways to reduce the tension caused by the deficiencies" (Ivancevich, Konopaske, & Matteson, 2010, p. 122). Individuals must first be introduced to the problem which is causing a need for change. By demonstrating to the individual the impact that the problem is having on the company and individual, it is possible to create a sense of urgency and establish the deficiency. This will motivate employees to want to act in a manner which will resolve the deficiency and thus spawn change.

II. Build the Guiding Team

Once the sense of urgency for the need for change has been established within the company, the organization is well on its way and has taken the first big step in creating change. However, no amount of urgency can compel the proper change within an organization without the proper leadership. This leadership should take place in the form of a guiding team. According to Kotter and Cohen, guiding teams usually begin with one individual with the sense of urgency for change who then pulls in others. Kotter and Cohen state, in order for the team to be an effective guiding team, that individual must select team members who possess certain qualities and characteristics. Individuals selected for the guiding team should possess relevant knowledge, credibility and stature within the company, valid information about internal organization of the company, authority, and leadership skills (Ivancevich, Konopaske, & Matteson, 2011).

Kotter and Cohen offer an example of this in the story "The New and More Diverse Team." The company in the story was looking for ways to change the company from one which was "reliant on growth through acquision and assimilation to an organization focused on organic growth" (Kotter & Cohen, 2002, p. 43-44). In an effort to create a diverse team which possessed all the listed attributes, the COO organized a cross-functional team which consisted of representatives from every major funcition of the company including, human resources, corporate affairs, finance, and IT (Kotter & Cohen, 2002). Cross-functional teams, as stated by Ivancevich, Konopaske, and Matteson, are teams which consist of members from different functional departments which are formulated to resolve a specific issue or problem. In the case of "The New and More Diverse Team," it was resolving the issue of growth. These types of groups are beneficial to companies in a multitude of ways. Specifically, according to Ivancevich, et al, cross functional teams, though sometimes challenging

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