In the spring of 2020, like many organizations, our organization had to make swift changes in response to the Covid-19 pandemic which resulted in temporary shutdown and layoffs. The organization decided to create online learning offerings to our employees in place of previously facilitated safety meetings. The goal was to keep employees engaged and let them know that they were valued. It was important to let employees know that layoffs were temporary and they still had a future with the company while at the same time providing valuable refresher training.
The technology, content, and implementation were carefully planned even with limited time and resources however, there was little planning and communication for the people who would be affected by the change. The second step in Biech (2007)’s CHANGE model is to harmonize and align leadership, this step was missed with little to no communication or consultation with leaders across the organization who would be responsible for managing their people’s participation. The result, leaders did not understand why this change was necessary because they were not aware of the vision or goals of the organization with this change. Many leaders only saw that they were being asked to complete extra work during this stressful time because the vision of creating a community of engagement through this initiative was not shared with them. Locations with leaders who had this sentiment experienced very low participation rates.
Change requires strong, aligned leadership (Biech, 2007) and without that, success of a change project is at risk. Sometimes, change happens or needs to happen quickly, and important steps can be missed. There is significant value in the application of a change models such as Biech’s CHANGE model or Kotter’s 8 Step model to ensure that all the steps required for successful change are considered. In the future, my recommendation to the organization is that no matter how small a change is or how quickly it needs to happen that an effective change model is applied and followed in the change process.
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] https://royalroads.skillport.com/skillportfe/main.action?path=summary/BOOKS/22651
Kotter JP. (2008) A Sense of Urgency. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Press; 2008. https://www.scirp.org/(S(vtj3fa45qm1ean45vvffcz55))/reference/ReferencesPapers.aspx? Reference ID=1970793