Sometimes, it takes a lot of thought to come up with a very simple concept. Biech clearly states that you need to have a plan in order for change to be successful. I was reminded of one of my first-year teacher so many decades ago whose mantra was: failing to plan is planning to fail. As first-year students, we rolled our eyes, but eventually learned the wisdom of his cliche. Perhaps he was a budding management consultant.
A plan is key. Why state the obvious? Why would change occur without a plan? Because in my experience oftentimes change is a reaction to a situation. Reactive thinking is often not planned; the decision-making process isn’t a result of thorough research with the stakeholders.
Biech and Weiner both assert that in order for the implementation of the plan to be successful, it requires the engagement of the employees and/or stakeholders.
“The more organizational members value the change, the more they will want to implement the change, or, put differently, the more resolve they will feel to engage in the courses of action involved in change implementation. (Weiner, 2009)”
Much like the axioms of my first-year professor so many years ago, this sounds like common sense. The question I ask is: why would you not engage your stakeholders? What led to the creation of a set of ideas or management principles that would assume that stakeholders need not be engaged? Is it patriarchal thinking? A dismissive attitude towards the stakeholders? A lack of empathy?
I’m not qualified to take on the role of historian taking a deep dive into the evolution of corporate culture. I speculate that perhaps this disconnect is rooted in the tension between Theory E and Theory O management theories. Theory E is concerned with maximizing profitability and shareholder value; Theory O places the greatest importance on creating a robust, capable and dynamic workforce. Two different priorities can yield two very different work environments.
To look for leadership theories that align with my own approach to leadership, I circle back to the tenets of reflective management and how it builds on the values of Theory O by respecting and valuing the workforce as individuals. Trust, openness, self-esteem; these are the principles of reflective management. I believe that recognizing the value of your stakeholders is an important step in to, in turn, having them value the change initiative. As Weiner simply states: “The more organizational members value the change, the more they will want to implement the change. (Weiner, 2009).”