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Managing change at the corporate world

Updated on March 7, 2015

Change is inevitable

The use of the term ‘change’ in discourse has increased prominently in the recent past. Even universities have introduced courses on change management in an effort to prepare students to deal with the phenomenon. The term refers to the act of creating or taking a different form. Advancements in human civilization have led to a lot of changes. In the past one hundred years, industrialization and globalization have transformed human society. As a result, the nature of business has evolved from the family owned enterprise that it was in the past to a complicated operation that is affected by its environment. In the next one hundred years, advancements in information technology and communication promise to transform the business landscape in a significant manner. As a result, the success of managers will depend on their ability to identify the skills that are needed to thrive in a changing business landscape and taking the necessary steps to acquire them (Quast, 2011).

An evaluation of the society reveals a number of key trends that are impacting the change landscape. In this section, those trends will be addressed. In addition, the best way for business managers to respond to these changes will be addressed. The first trend involves the creation of a global village. The current physical boundaries are bound to be overwhelmed by the borderless internet. A significant drop in the cost of computing devices and bandwidth has led to a significant increase in the number of internet users. Prominent individuals and established organizations have joined forces to increase the adoption of the internet. For example, the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg has created internet.org in an effort to get all people online. Should such efforts achieve a modest result, then a large part of the world will have access to the internet. Business organizations would have the opportunity to communicate to consumers from different parts of the world through social media platforms. Similarly, they will be able access a large market through the adoption of e-commerce. However, the negative consequences involve increased competition among businesses. Furthermore, the cost of starting a business that can disrupt established industry players would be easy. Currently, students in an Ivy League hostel with a computer and internet access can start a business that could destroy an established organization. In the future, such inventions would increase as more young people become empowered around the world.

Managers have to understand the digital economy. In addition, they have to understand how social media platforms work (Yarow, 2014). In addition, there must be a deliberate attempt to understand different cultures and how to respond to them. Furthermore, they have to adopt a philosophy of continuous improvement so as to prepare themselves for any disruption in their industry.

The second trend involves the democratization of the work environment. The relationship between the employer and the employee is bound to change. The change can be attributed to increased access to education. For example, the internet has enabled millions of people to access quality education (Rothfeld, 2014). As a result, employees are more aware about the responsibilities of their employers. In the future, employees would want to work in organizations that provide flexible work arrangements such as telecommuting. Also, there will be an increase in contractual relationships where an employee would prefer to work for multiple organizations. The young employees would expect their employers to provide an opportunity for personal and professional growth.

Managers must adapt to the changing human resource environment. They must understand the values and beliefs that influence the approach of the young professionals. Organizations must also demonstrate a willingness to embrace the rebalancing of power between the employer and the employee (Pennington, 2014). In the future, employers and employees will be partners.

Another key trend is the democratization of economic opportunity. Developments in the global economy are bound to reduce the sources of competitive advantage. For example, increased energy independence in the United States of America could make it an attractive destination for investors. However, the rise of emerging economies such as China, Brazil and India could increase competition global competition. In addition, the rise of 3D printing could threaten the traditional business model. In order to survive, managers must be early adopters of technologies and changes in the market.

Change in the business environment involves other trends. For example, data is set to take a more central role in the business world as the amount of data available to organizations increases (McAfee & Brynjolfsson 2012). In addition, the cost of attaining valuable data is set to decrease significantly over the next five years. In order to survive the evolution of the change landscape, managers need to identify ways of extracting value from data.

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Change does not necessarily mean that it is good for an organization. As a result, a manager must identify the appropriate change that should be embraced. Adopting new technologies or systems without determining the value that add to the organization may undermine its competitiveness. The adoption of change must be guided by a number of factors. First, the values of the organization (Jones, Aguirre & Calderone, 2004). If an organization has placed a lot of emphasis on being a social enterprise, then it would have to embrace social tools readily than others. Second, the vision of the organization. An organization that has global aspirations would embrace change that enables it to establish distribution channels across the world. Third, the best practices in the industry. Identifying what other competitors have adopted would provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of a new system. Fourth, the culture of the organization. However, it is important to note that organizational culture must evolve to adapt to changes in the environment.

Another key determinant of whether an organization should embrace change involves an evaluation of whether it will increase the effectiveness of its operations. The change landscape is characterized by the presence of options. For instance, a manager needs to select one Enterprise Resource Software from a number of available options. As a result, managers must be able to identify the needs of their organization. The ability to do so will enable them to select tools and systems that are suited for their organizations. In addition, the impact of implementing the change must be quantifiable. The business community values the ability to measure performance. Change agents must show that implementing a new system or approach would result in a significant increase in the operational efficiency of the organization (Worley & Vic, 2005). The observation can be attributed to the fact that implementing change involves a lot of trade offs for the organization that can have a significant impact on the organization. A lot of money is often involved in implementing change. In addition, the process involves a lot of time. Time is an important resource in the business world because it is not reusable.

One key characteristic of change is that it is constantly evolving. A technology that was deemed as revolutionary five years ago is now obsolete. In the next five years, the pace of change will have increased as the barriers to innovation are broken down. For instance, more people are able to access education in the world. As a result, more young people have the ability to innovate. Furthermore, globalization has led to the spread of tools to the rest of the world. In the next five years, established industry players will have to worry about innovations from other areas beside the Silicon Alley. Managers will have to identify the technologies that are bound to last for a prolonged period. If they fail to do so, then the organizations will be forced to invest in change on a perpetual basis. The move would be expensive due to the financial, human and time resources involved.

The business world has a lot of interest in upholding the rule of law. Organizations depend on it to enforce contracts. In addition, it relies on it to guarantee the security of its property. The business community has a responsibility to work towards a society that is based on the law. Consequently, the implementation of change must be done within the boundaries of the law. For example, the introduction of a new currency in the online marketplace has raised a dilemma among business organizations as they debate if they should embrace it. In the next five years, new payment systems and currencies such as bit coin will cause a lot of challenges for business organizations. Change agents must ensure that the systems that they embrace do not violate the laws of the countries they operate in. The rise of big data will raise privacy concerns as consumers worry about the large amount of data collected by the organizations (Miller, 2014). Managers must ensure that they respect the legal obligations that they have to their consumers. In addition, they must be able to communicate clearly and persuasively to the people within and outside the organization to ensure that they understand the context of the change.

Organizations are different. They have different cultures, visions and financial ability. The nature of the organization will play a significant role in determining its ability to embrace change (Buckley, 2013). For instance, Google has the financial muscle to create a work environment that is responsive to the emerging needs of employees. In contrast, a startup would not be able to implement the same. Furthermore, technology companies may allow telecommuting but that would be difficult for most financial positions. Furthermore, Japanese organizations that emphasize the importance of working as a team would be reluctant to embrace flexible work arrangements. In the future, the line between work and home life will be crossed as the two intertwine (cipd, 2014).

The nature of change varies depending on the situation. Some types of change have a limited lifespan. Others have the ability to withstand the test of time. Managers must be able to distinguish between fads and developments in the society that would have a lasting impact. Successful mangers will take advantage of the fads without allowing tying themselves to it in a long-term manner. However, they will embrace those challenges that are bound to last for the long term fully.

The process of leading and managing change strategic change involves the ability to demonstrate vision. Managers have to plan for an uncertain future based on the current trends. However, the evolving nature of the change landscape has transformed the ability to project the future. In the past, managers could create strategies and implement then with low margins of deviation. In contrast, in the future managers will face an uncertain business environment. In fact, five year plans will have to be revised constantly in order to adjust to the new global landscape. Managers must be willing to improvise on the spot. The uncertain business environment may be transformed by new technologies. Additionally, new legislations may affect the way business is conducted.

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The components of change highlight the competencies that are required in order to successfully navigate the change landscape. One of the most important competencies involve the ability to collect and process information The rise of big data means that mangers will have a lot of information. However, it is important to note that data is not equal. There is useful data and useless data. The success of the organizations that they lead will depend on their ability to determine the right sources of data and what to do with the insights gained from that data.

The second competency for managers and organizations is the ability to communicate to the people within and outside the organization. The change agent must communicate the importance of implementing change to the employees. In addition, they must communicate to the consumers. Although there is a belief that consumers do not know what is good for them, managers must educate them about impending changes. The move will demonstrate that the organization cares about its consumers. Moreover, it will enable them to adopt the changes readily. Also, they have to court the market analysts. Although the success of the change effort does not require the approval of industry analysts, it is important to ensure that they understand the perspective of the change agent. They play an important role in shaping the image of the brand. Also, they have a significant impact on the investor community that is critical in the success of any change effort in an organization.

Another key competency involves the ability to solve problems. Although the competency has played a significant role in management, the skill will play a significant role in the future. The society is moving towards embracing solutions that make their lives easier. In the past one hundred years, human beings were concerned with breakthroughs that led to advancements in civilization. In the next one hundred years, the society is concerned with improvements that make their lives more comfortable. Furthermore, consumers are always in the lookout for a better product or an improved customer experience. The loyalty that consumers had in the past has changed. The rise of social media means that human beings can share their experiences about the organizations that make their lives easier.

The ability to identify trends in the industry and the society will play an important role in the success of organizations in the future. Managers have to understand the impact that policy changes will have on their industry in the future. In addition, they have to understand how changes in another industry may affect their industry. An evaluation of the business sector demonstrates that there is a significant interdependence among the different industries (Lepore, 2014). For example, advancements in the technology industry may have a significant impact on the entertainment industry. For example, the development of a smartphone was focused on creating a device that would enable consumers to communicate through texts and calls in an effective manner. However, its utility did not just stop at communication. Instead, it transcended into the entertainment industries as developers created apps for streaming music and videos on the smartphone. Furthermore, most young people consume news on their mobile phones. As a result, it has impacted the media industry. The camera business has been disrupted by mobile phones in a significant manner. Currently, most individuals prefer to use their mobile devices for taking photographs. The significant investment on creating more powerful smartphones will impact more industries (Schiller, 2014). For instance, the adoption of mobile payment services could result in the adoption of mobile phones as wallets. The move could disrupt the credit card industry.

Furthermore, empathy will play a significant role in the successful management of strategic change. The change agent has to understand the fact that human beings are different. They have different cultures and varying interests. In addition, most people are afraid of embracing change. Empathizing with different people will enable them to implement the changes in an effective manner. One of the key skills that future mangers should have is emotional intelligence. The skill will enable them to respond to interpret the feelings of people. The ability to work well with people will increase in importance as organizations rely on collaborative effort to achieve their goals. Managers must be able to collaborate with leaders within and outside their industry for the organization to increase its competitive advantage.

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An evaluation of my competencies demonstrates that I am prepared to lead organizational change. The observation can be attributed to the results of applying a competency framework in evaluating my skills and readiness to identify changes in the business environment and in the society and to respond effectively. I have studied on the subject of change. For instance, before writing this paper I had to research on the subject. The process involved literature review of published material on the subject. As a result, I learnt how to define change in a business environment. In addition, I learnt about the key trends that are going to affect the change landscape over the next five years. Furthermore, the process led to an understanding of the necessary steps that organizations need to take so that they respond to change in a manner that enhances their competitiveness rather than undermines it.

I understand the role of a manager in an organization. A manager should recruit, motivate and retain talented individuals (Piplits, 2010). As a result, I will provide leadership in the implementation of the change process. The success of an organization depends on the ability of its leaders to inspire the employees to pursue a big vision. Moreover, I understand that finding employees with the right cultural fit is very important towards the ability of responding to a changing business environment in an effective manner.

I have developed analytical skills in the course of my academic life. The skills have been acquired from high school and developed in the university. Analytical skills involve the ability to study a situation and to identify the implications that changes in the environment would have on the organization. In the future, analytical skills will be a significant quality for those who want to lead organizational change. For example, business managers will have to identify the changes in the business environment that would have a direct impact to their industry. Responding to all changes in the society without understanding the impact that they will have on their particular industry would undermine the competitiveness of the organization. Furthermore, technological advancement and innovations would result in the creation of multiple business tools (McCool, 2014). Moreover, there will be a lot of strategies for the organization to choose from. Consequently, a manager should have the ability to analyze the implications of adopting all the strategies and business tools. They should be able to identify which tools align with the vision and values of the organization.

The success of organizational change efforts depends on the ability to build a coalition that includes all the stakeholders. For instance, a manager should be able to convince the employees to embrace the evolving nature of work (Irving Wladawsky-Berger, 2014). In the next five years, the job description of most employees will be redefined as technology renders some positions redundant. As a result, some employees may be forced to invest in learning new skills. In addition, the manager will have to convince the investors to invest in new technologies. Sometimes that investment will require spending money on things that do not have an immediate impact on the performance of the organization. A good example is adopting sustainable practices. As consumers become more environmentally aware, they are developing high expectations for the business community. They expect them to engage in eco-friendly practices. Another example involves investing in big data. The move would not have an immediate impact since the organization needs to collect a lot of data, manage it and then use it to improve its competitiveness. Consequently, a manager should have the ability to communicate his ideas in a clear and persuasive manner. I am ready to perform this role since I have invested in developing my communication skills.

Another critical factor in organization change involves the ability to understand different cultures (Hall, 2008). The process also involves the willingness to empathize with people from different cultures. As a manger, I would be able to implement organizational change because of my ability to appreciate the different cultures in the world. In addition, I understand that human beings are different. As a result, there are individuals who are early adopters and those that are slow in adjusting to new realities. Implementing organization change should involve an effort to incorporate the early adopters as evangelists without alienating the slow adopters. However, I have the ability to stand up to the slow adopters in an effort to ensure that they do not impede organizational change. Furthermore, I have the ability to communicate to individuals outside the organization such as consumers and market analysts. The consumer experience must be improved by the changes in the organization in order for it to be a viable approach (Root, 2015).

Furthermore, I have other key abilities whose importance in a changing business landscape is increasing. First, I am comfortable working in a team structure. The future organization will rely more on teams in order for it to achieve its objectives (Molinsky Davenport, Iyer & Davidson, 2012). Second, I am decisive and can solve problems. The fast pace of change in the business world will require managers to respond in a quick manner in order to turn it into a source of competitive advantage (Vaughn, 2012). Third, I have developed the ability to obtain relevant information and to process it. The growth of the internet has made it easier for individuals and organizations to obtain information. However, it is difficult to determine the right information. Moreover, there is a skill involved in establishing its relevance to the change effort in an organization.

In conclusion, it is evident that the business world is facing a lot of change. The change can be attributed to developments in information technology and communication. In addition, globalization has played a significant role in transforming the nature of business. Consequently, disruption and innovation have become common terms in the business community. The continued success of organizations depends on the ability of their managers to respond to the evolving change landscape in an effective manner.

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List of References

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Cipd 2014. Management skills boost needed to ‘future-proof’ UK PLC. Cipd. [Online]. Available at http://www.cipd.co.uk/pm/peoplemanagement/b/weblog/archive/2014/01/17/management-skills-boost-needed-to-future-proof-uk-plc.aspx

Hall, F. Shelley 2008. BPM How Change: a Company Can Prepare. Business Finance. [Online]. Available at http://businessfinancemag.com/business-performance-management/bpm-change-how-company-can-prepare. [6th January 2014].

Irving Wladawsky-Berger 2014. The Future of Management. Irving Wladawsky-Berger. [Online]. Available at http://blog.irvingwb.com/blog/2014/10/the-evolution-of-management-in-the-decades-ahead.html. [6th January 2015].

Jones, John. Aguirre, DeAnne & Calderone, M. 2004. 10 Principles of Change Management. Strategy+Business. [Online]. Available at http://www.strategy-business.com/article/rr00006?pg=all. [6th January 2015].

Lepore, Jill 2014. The Disruption Machine. The New Yorker. [Online]. Available at http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/06/23/the-disruption-machine. [6th January 2015].

McAfee, Andrew & Brynjolfsson Erik 2012. Big Data: The Management Revolution. [Online]. Available at https://hbr.org/2012/10/big-data-the-management-revolution/ar. [6th January 2014]. McCool, Scott 2014. How Tech Leaders Can Prepare for the Future of Work. Entrepreneur. [Online]. Available at http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/238455. [6th January 2014]. Miller, Ron 2014. If you think Big Data's big now, just wait. USA Today. [Online]. Available at http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2014/08/11/big-data-on-the-rise/13890959/. [6th January 2014]. Mind Tools 2014. The Leadership Pipeline Model. Mind Tools. [Online]. Available at http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/leadership-pipeline-model.htm. [6th January 2014]. Molinsky, Andy. Davenport, H. Thomas., Iyer, Bala & Davidson, N, Cathy 2012. Three Skills Every 21st-Century Manager Needs. HBR. [Online]. Available at https://hbr.org/2012/01/three-skills-every-21st-century-manager-needs. [6th January 2014].

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