To successfully implement any change within a digital learning environment, leaders need to come to the forefront to assist and help nurture these changes, big or small. Based on my readings and discussions with my colleagues, lack of leadership and planning could easily cause a project to fail, leaving the staff feeling overwhelmed and vulnerable, with lack of insight and direction. There are a variety of methods and theories on how integrating change can and should be successful, yet not a lot of literature on how or why a project could be unsuccessful and how this could affect the people involved: “reasons behind organizational change failure have attracted limited attention” (as cited in Al-Haddad & Kotnour, 2015). The diagram shows what a leader should implore, in my opinion, when dealing with a change model and the attributes they should possess to make both the leader and the implementation of the design a success. Planning and organizing was discussed as positive models by several authors such as Fayol, the “father of the first theory of administration” (as cited in Al-Haddad & Kotnour, 2015), Weihrich and Koontz, and Sink and Tuttle.
When consulting with several of my colleagues, I asked them to provide me successful examples of change management, but was met with overwhelming negativity regarding the topic. The example provided by two of my colleagues was when we recently made a switch/upgrade to our current software. The consensus was there was a lack of leadership and communication to help assist the staff with the transition. There was harboring hostility from one colleague from years ago, when the college made a switch from Blackboard to D2L, which was a “drastic and unexpected change,” then most recently, an upgrade from D2L to Brightspace “which was at least better communicated, but no discussion or feedback was taken.” This is why communication is listed at the top of the diagram. Kurt Lewin believed “organizational structure was becoming more team-based” (as cited in Al-Haddad & Kotnour, 2015) therefore, taking group dynamics into consideration is imperative to function within a team environment.
Discussing the failures with my colleagues made me think of how the integration of the technology could have been turned into a success and what our change leaders could have done to prevent such a negative experience. The entire department had to undergo the same online training, which meant our management team and leaders had to take the same training at the same time. The support fell to the I.T department, who were bombarded with questions from faculty, management and students which made my colleagues feel “ignored and brushed aside.” Having a subject matter expert or having a plan in place would have been beneficial. Anticipating these complications would have been beneficial as well as allocating resources and asking for participation would have helped ease a stressful transition. Weisbord and Janoff (2010) state that we should “promote the idea of participation when discussing organization development and change” (as cited in Al-Haddad & Kotnour, 2015). It was also noted that when the participation of team members are explored, more creativity and unification is identified.
Innovation is a highly sought after trait and one that any great leader should possess. Soderholm (1989) “argues that leadership is about the innovation of new ideas and new concepts that brings new desirable outcomes.” I had to stand back and look at what my colleagues were saying from an objective lens, but sadly I too felt that our software integration was unsuccessful and we fell into the statistic where change initiatives have less than a thirty percent success rate (Al-Haddad & Kotnour, 2015). I listed three methods which could have allowed our leaders to foresee possible issues and road blocks that were encountered, issues that with more foresight could have been easily spotted and eradicated. By researching and applying different approaches, I believe it could have made the change model a success, with less aggravation and a happier, more content staff. We are meant to look at our change leaders as visionaries, motivators and people who can perceive changes and prepare to counter possible road blocks (Al-Haddad & Kotnour, 2015). I feel that our department made the mistake of misinterpreting management with change leaders, as we clearly needed a more “integrated approach” which would have driven a more systematic change, one that could have addressed the consequences and helped minimize the destructive barriers we had to address without the assistance of a true leader.
Al-Haddad, S., & Kotnour, T. (2015). Integrating the organizational change literature: a model for successful change. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 28(2), 234-262.
Beer, M. and Nohria, N. (2000), “Cracking the code of change”, Harvard Business Review , Vol. 78 No. 3, pp. 133-141.
Biech, E. (2007). Models for Change. In Thriving Through Change: A Leader’s Practical Guide to Change Mastery. Alexandria, VA: ASTD [Retrieved from Skillsoft e-book database]
Full assignment with images: LRNT525 Assignment 1