University of Charleston Organizational Development and Change Paper The change leadership paper is a critical reflection on change leadership considering

University of Charleston Organizational Development and Change Paper The change leadership paper is a critical reflection on change leadership considering the leader’s knowledge, skills and abilities required for leading change at the team level, with stated implications at the individual and organizational levels. The 10-page paper (excluding cover page and reference page) will have the appropriate use of APA style and format.This is a two-part paper: In Part 1, using the model on page 173, Figure 9.1, (see attached PDF) The Change Agent Compass, you will create a plan to make an organizational change. This change can be within your organization or department, or with an association to which you belong. It can be changing a process or a methodology, a training program or a mindset/culture (please run a few ideas by me to make sure it is something I am comfortable in, I am in the military so something along those lines would be helpful). Be sure to define your key stakeholders and who you consider your ‘client’. You will also include how it will affect the individuals involved and the organization as a whole. Because the leader’s knowledge, abilities, and skills are essential to a successful change, include those in your analysis. In Part 2, will be your reflection: Now that you have laid out your plan, where are there gaps in your thinking? What could go wrong that you have not thought about? Lastly, include how you will bring about this change. Feel free to use your discussion question responses (and your classmates’), along with your team assignments, as additional information for your paper.Please follow attached Rubric! Copyright © 2016. Information Age Publishing. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher, except fair uses permitted
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CHAPTER 9
A CHANGE AGENT
COMPASS FOR SYSTEM
TRANSFORMATION
Harnessing the Use of Self
Aremin Hacobian
The term change agent refers to those individuals whose work involves transforming a system from its present state to some desired future state in a sustainable manner. Although there are many theories and models for how
systems—at the group, organization, and societal level—experience change
and progress through the change cycle, in reality we are typically confronted
with change that takes place on multiple levels and in multiple systems. The
model presented in this chapter focuses specifically on change agents who
work simultaneously with multiple systems, faced with the challenge of drawing from numerous and varied system theories, grounding those concepts in
project-specific data and desired outcomes. Based on nearly two decades as a
project manager and change agent in the biopharmaceutical industry, I often
searched—without success—for direction, a compass if you will, to guide my
actions, behaviors, intentions, and impact on the client system. In order to
further my own effectiveness, I have developed a compass to guide such sysConsultation for Organizational Change Revisited, pages 171–183
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171
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172
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A. HACOBIAN
tem transformation, with hope that this approach will resonate with change
agents and support their day to day work, reflection, and personal growth.
The change process itself is often described in terms of a continuum, from
the Gestalt Flow of Continuous Experience (Nevis, 1987) and Transitions
Model (Bridges, 2004) to Theory U (Scharmer, 2007). These models are
useful as a guide for change and transformation at a macro-level, but they
also recognize that various people in an organization or societal system will
often be at different places on the change curve. In fact, the same person
can be on different parts of the change curve at the same time. An underlying challenge concerns how change agents can address such complexity
and diversity of perspectives when managing a transformation project that
involves multiple stakeholders, often across different groups, regions, and
cultures. Moreover, the very presence of a change agent within the system
can readily impact people’s attitudes, behaviors, and willingness to change.
As a result, with so many factors to monitor and manage, it is easy to see why
so many change efforts fall short of their desired outcomes.
Figure 9.1 is intended as a reference point for change agents—from
project managers and OD practitioners, to HR partners and beyond—to
assist their work within a client system while also providing guidance for
managing one’s own presence and impact. Never intended to be static, the
model represents an ongoing opportunity for self-reflection, learning, and
growth. The chapter explores the challenge of transforming systems, drawing on examples from a project with a large global pharmaceutical company to provide context and guidance for application.
The Change Agent Compass consists of four dimensions and three guiding principles. Chosen deliberately, the compass metaphor likens a change
agent to a hiker who has set off in the wilderness for an adventure. Even
with the best preparation and planning, the change agent often encounters unexpected challenges, surprises, and risks that can result in a minor
change of direction (e.g., slight refinements of a meeting agenda) or a
major detour to a new destination (e.g., full revision of project scope and
objectives). The compass seeks to organize foundational organization development (OD) theory and values into a framework that is practical and
useful for those navigating the wilderness of system transformation. Continuing with the compass metaphor, the guiding principles serve as the directional needle that should always be top of mind for the change agent
in every interaction with a client organization. The four dimensions of the
model are similar to directional markers, which help guide the ideas, behaviors, and actions of the change agent based on the situation. One will
often have to operate in two or more dimensions at a time, and an artistic
management of presence occurs when a change agent balances these key
considerations within and across dimensions and achieves a desired impact
in service of client objectives.
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A Change Agent Compass for System Transformation
Figure 9.1
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173
The Change Agent Compass.
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174
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A. HACOBIAN
USE OF SELF
The Need for Authenticity
The Use of Self is a fundamental aspect of organization development. As
Seashore, Mattare, Shawver, and Thompson (2004, p. 59) note, “Using one’s
Self in creative ways to optimize one’s own growth can be coupled with effective Use of Self in helping individuals, groups, and organizations move towards achieving their own potential.” One of the ways that change agents can
achieve greater levels of awareness and understanding of Self in their interaction with the client, which is coupled with enhancing their awareness and understanding of the client system, is the concept of presence. Positive presence
is achieved when a change agent is able to be authentic and intentional in
every client interaction, fully harnessing his or her Use of Self. A related concept is presencing, “a blend of the words ‘presence’ and sensing, presencing
signifies a heightened state of attention that allows individuals and groups
to shift the inner place from which they function” (Scharmer, 2007, p. l).
Presencing impacts the way people perceive and imagine the future, as “the
forces shaping a situation can shift from re-creating the past to manifesting or
realizing an emerging future” (Senge, Scharmer, Jaworski, & Flowers, 2005,
p. 7). The lesson for change agents is to understand, hone, and harness Use
of Self in such a way that their presence within a system enables true presencing
across the individuals and groups of that system.
As an example of this dynamic, working as an internal OD consultant
within a division of a global pharmaceutical company, my Use of Self during a conversation with the Division General Manager served as a catalyst
for the firm’s “Global One” project, which had three main objectives, to:
(1) create a culture that enables the “Right Decision, Right People in the
Right Positions, Empowerment, Trust and Accountability”; (2) anchor and
inform decision making across the organization; and (3) optimize strategic
deployment of global resources and capabilities. The Use of Self moment
involved putting voice to something that had been bothering me for a few
weeks. The term “Global One” had been used in various Town Hall presentations and internal documents, and was increasingly being used as a
tag line in every day conversation—but there seemed to be a lack of substance beyond the tag line. I asked the GM for his definition of “Global
One”? Although he provided a very thoughtful definition—one which involved an agile approach to managing resources and expertise across regions and sites—in that moment I decided to question him further, asking
if his leadership team would have the same definition. He chuckled, and
quickly acknowledged that the members of his leadership team—15 people
spanning multiple regions and cultures—would likely have 15 different
definitions. At that point we focused on the need for an aligned definition
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A Change Agent Compass for System Transformation
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175
for “Global One” across the leadership team, and how that aligned vision
might be developed. From that five minute conversation, a change strategy
for the “Global One” project was launched, with the potential to impact
an 800-person division with the goal of transforming the organization’s
culture, decision-making, and effectiveness in ways that could be sustained
over time. This change strategy would first require alignment across the
leadership team, but would then rapidly require engagement and accountability from deeper levels of the Division.
As an internal OD consultant, I took some risks raising this point to the
GM. The inquiries about him and his leadership team could have raised his
defensiveness and may have come across as disrespectful if not articulated
in the right way. He might not have seen the value in aligning the leadership
team around the definition of “Global One,” and the work that would be
required to instill a vision and key guiding principles across the Division. At
worst, I could have come across as a non-scientist employee trying to drum
up a project to justify my employment. Use of Self, in this case, required
me to process these potential reactions and then act in an authentic and
intentional manner to express an issue that I believed to be important for
the organization. Reflecting on this experience, it is important to underscore that the manner in which the client is approached—introducing the
topic and facilitating the conversation—is just as important to the outcome
as the topic itself. It is important for change agents to manage their presence
in ways that minimize client defensiveness and foster an environment conducive to presencing. In this way the client is better able to envision project
outcomes that directly support business priorities. As suggested by this brief
example, in order to fully harness Use of Self, it is necessary to build awareness outside of one’s Self and understand the perspectives, behaviors, and
emotions of others within the client system.
The chapter now turns to the remaining three dimensions of the model—planning the change, respecting the individual, and being aware of client focus—and how they can help to further build awareness and understanding outside of one’s Self while supporting the stated objectives of a
transformation project.
PLANNING THE CHANGE
Engaging Stakeholders and Defining the Desired
Future State
Planning the change involves engaging key stakeholders in the design
and implemention of the desired future state. Drawing on Kotter’s (1995,
p. 59) eight step transformation processs (see Figure 9.2), this dimension
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A. HACOBIAN
Figure 9.2
Adapted from Kotter’s (1995) Transformation Process.
seeks to engage the right people throughout the change process while setting realistic expectations of the path forward:
The change process goes through a series of phases that, in total, usually require a considerable length of time. Skipping steps only creates the illusion of
speed and never creates a satisfying result.
This dimension requires change agents to develop a solid understanding of
the organization at an individual, function, and system level, enabling them
to serve as a trusted advisor on the change process as the client begins to
move toward its desired future state.
When facilitating conversations around the desired future state, an appreciative inquiry (AI) approach is recommended, in which the change
agent invites dialogue around possibilities, even those perhaps not previously imagined. As Watkins, Mohr, and Kelly (2011, p. 243) argue, “If organizations are imagined and made by human beings, then they can be
re-made and re-imagined. The constraints of scientific management theory
that imagines organizations as machines are lifted and the possibility of
new approaches and configurations emerges.” Throughout the process, the
change agent can help the client evaluate emerging possibilities against
the current reality of the system. The primary objective in this dimension
is to define an appropriate desired future state that can be supported by a
realistic implementation plan.
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177
Turning back to the “Global One” intervention, the project was organized into three distinct phases: planning, implementation, and evaluation.
The planning phase focused on initial stakeholder orientation to the “Global One” project and its objectives, as well as data gathering to understand
the current organizational landscape and the various perspectives for how
the desired future state for the Division might be defined. At this point, the
primary stakeholders were the members of the 15-person leadership team,
and I conducted interviews with each member and then gathered further
data via survey. A planning team was then formed to help with analysis of the
data and preparation for a two-day Leadership Offsite. The implementation
phase kicked off with the Leadership Offsite, which delivered a leadership
team charter, vision, and draft guiding principles for the desired future state.
Four critical workstreams were created to involve and engage the broader
organization: Extended Leadership; Sites/Functions Roles & Responsibilities; Project Team Member Assignments; and Prioritization of Divisional
Resources/Activities. The Extended Leadership workstream called for the
formation of an extended leadership group beyond the executive leadership team, in an effort to empower the next level of leadership and drive
accountability for decisions to the right level of the organization. Implementation was also supported by a communication plan to promote awareness
and understanding of the vision and guiding principles, and to highlight
objectives and milestones across each of the workstreams.
Finally, the evaluation phase reviewed progress to date, clarified roles
and responsibilities of the leadership team and extended leadership group,
and developed metrics to assess the ongoing health of the organization as
it worked to realize its vision. The “Global One” project plan as described
above spanned nearly 12 months across all phases, and was developed very
early on in consultation with the leadership team. Kotter’s (1995) eight-step
process served as a valuable reference for this planning phase. Too many
change efforts start out with a good design but ultimately fail due to poor
planning during the implementation phase and unrealistic expectations
about the length of time necessary for real organizational transformation.
In the “Global One” project, during the latter part of the evaluation phase
the Division was between Kotter’s fifth and sixth steps—between the need
to empower others to act on the vision and planning for and creating shortterm wins. System transformation that can be sustained over time, transformation that involves true shifts in behaviors, mindsets, and culture, requires
much more time than typically realized: “Until changes sink deeply into a
company’s culture, a process that can take five to ten years, new approaches
are fragile and subject to regression” (Kotter, 1995, p. 66). This is where the
change agent can play such a critical role, working with stakeholders to understand and plan for the real pace of change, while maintaining the ability
to build engagement and commitment throughout the process.
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178
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A. HACOBIAN
RESPECTING THE INDIVIDUAL
Acknowledging What Is Changing and Where People Are
Respect for the individual asks the change agent to acknowledge that
change is difficult and that individuals within an organization may be in
different places on the change continuum. As Bridges’ Transitions Model
(2004) emphasizes, the change process is not static but is rather fluid in
nature (see Figure 9.3). An individual can be in multiple stages of the transitions curve at any point in time, and different individuals can be in different stages at the same point in time. A key takeaway is that a one-size-fits-all
change methodology is often not the wisest approach. The project plan developed during the Plan the Change dimension should serve as a guidepost
for the change agent, not to be rigidly followed to the point where valuable
feedback and reactions at individual and collective levels are ignored.
Throughout the “Global One” project, I routinely encountered three
distinct types of behaviors and mindsets, and would adjust my Use of Self
based on my understanding of the experiences and perspectives of that
individual or group. The first type is best described as those organizational
members who fondly remembered the past, longing for the organization
to return to a culture and working environment that no longer existed.
The second type represented those people who are in what Bridges (2004,
p. 80) would describe as the “Neutral Zone,” where they “are receiving signals and cues as to what [they] need to become for the next stage of [their]…
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