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Chapter 2 recapitulation

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1 Leading and Managing Change Lecture Two based on Beech & Macintosh textbook

2 Chapter 2 recapitulation
Ch.2 categorized conceptual nature of change along the lines of Scale – large vs. small Origin of drive for change – internal vs. external Speed – revolutionary vs. evolutionary The categorization idea above were presented in terms of the four approaches to change The four approaches are to be appropriately seen as four inspirations, four perspectives with which organization changes are to be addressed

3 Ch. 3 of Beech & Macintosh Ch. 3 chapter overview
Setting change objectives Consequences of the way that objectives are framed: Implications of change objectives Change analysis and actions take the lead from objectives – ‘a pattern of decisions’ idea in strategic planning Provide an approach that is applicable to large-scale and smaller scale strategic change The advantages and limitations (disadvantages) of setting clear, specific change targets

4 Intuitive view on change
A logical and linear process Diagnosis followed by treatment In practice Often the process of change is re-oriented, adjusted, ‘retooled’ and tinkered along the way The need to adjust may not be a result of mistakes in setting the objectives, tone and nature of the change at the outset

5 But only in response to new information coming to light and/or new development in the context of the change Change agents/change managers should be aware of the above so that they do not hesitate to redefine the change out of fear of looking bad – the idea of honest self-criticism (Lecture 1)

6 Framing problems and the consequences of framing
‘to convert a problematic situation to a problem, a practitioner must do a certain kind of work’ (Weick, K. 1995) Weick is referring to problem framing or problem setting – the process to define the problem Problem setting – define the decisions to be made – the ends and the corresponding means Changing the definition of the problem, ‘…reveal one aspect of reality by virtue of disregarding others’ (Martin, 1986)

7 Dyson’s bagless vacuum cleaner dislodging the incumbent market leader as an example
Different personnel in one competitor of Dyson defined the change problem/challenge differently Marketing & sales: consumers want a more powerful machine Design engineers: our machines are too powerful and therefore too heavy and expensive to customers’ liking; improving product reliability and reducing cost through standardization and streamlining production is the way to go Executive managers: the cost base of our operation need to be lowered – move the U.K. based factory to eastern Europe

8 The final decision to move the factory was solving the wrong problem – remember the Coca Cola new formula fiasco? Therefore, important to consider that it may not be possible and/or even appropriate to have a precise definition of the change challenge at the outset of the change process

9 The consideration of clarity vs. ambiguity
Describe the problem With precision and clarity vs. Deliberately with a sense of ambiguity Ambiguity could provide different impetus to the change process Such paradox represent the essence of strategic management/planning Remember the ‘No best practice, no sure-fired formula’ notion in Lecture 1? Such is a reflection of the complexity of strategic change; complexity that calls for good sense of judgement on the change agents’ part

10 Closed vs. Open problem framing
Closed problem framing: Clarity and specificity is intuitively attractive Might galvanize efforts to meet the challenge of change More likely to produce a solution; yet that is not to say the ‘solution’ is necessarily good or even appropriate Closed framing of a problem may be more helpful in some change circumstances than others

11 Closed vs. Open problem framing:
Closed problem framing: Closed framing of a change problem may be more helpful in some change context than others When decisions and actions need to be taken quickly Perhaps when change is driven by some externally imposed (‘prescribed’ as opposed to be ‘constructed’) pressures Yet, the right way to deal with an imposed challenge, e.g. a WTO ruling, DSD legislation, abrupt termination of investment immigration to the HKSAR, could still be very much debatable

12 Closed vs. Open problem framing
Helps in two ways First, it helps keep a wider range of stakeholder groups engaged. Stakeholder groups such as Direct vs. indirect Wide vs. narrow (Evans and Freeman) Active vs. passive (Mahoney) Legitimate vs. illegitimate With that, it might lead on to a more confrontational change process which could be more conducive to a more well-balanced strategic solution (re: conflict could be good)

13 Closed vs. Open problem framing
Second, clear focus (closed framing) could simply relegate other pertinent issues into the background In the Dyson example above, lowering the cost base does not hit on the crux of the problem facing the dislodged market incumbent Framing the change challenge in a more ambiguous sense at the earlier stage could open up a wider range of possibilities such as new products, new business models, and even diversification into other unrelated options(re: the three horizon strategic planning idea in J&S Ch. 1)

14 The paradox of clarity vs. ambiguity
What is pertinent here is the issue of focus The issue of resources allocation as in strategic planning The paradox of specificity (clarity) vs. ambiguity What is intuitively attractive and comforting may not be so appropriate, in fact, downright misleading and damaging in certain change scenarios

15 One interpretation of problem framing
John Shotter opined that specifying a change issue is a gradual and interactive process ‘the expression of a change process is, as a process of temporal unfolding, the passage from an indeterminate to a more well articulated state of affairs’ (Shotter, 1983)

16 Specifying change challenges
A two-stage process: First, consider whether it is possible and appropriate to define the change problem with any precision at the outset (open framing vs. closed framing) Second, as the clarity of the problem is subsequently determined, it is time to write a closed problem statement for action (closed framing)

17 The problem-framing cycle
Is precision helpful here?Yes/No Y: Apply closed format Gather feedback from change N: Apply open format

18 Open problem framing Promoting a sense of ambiguity is an invitation to others to read into the problem Engaging stakeholders in dialogue to inject diversity and variety in the diagnosing and framing of the problem (The strategy lens of variety and lens of discourse idea in J&S Ch.1) Involve the stakeholder engagement and stakeholder mapping concept in B&M Ch. 4 & 5 The hope is to facilitate the emergence of a (compromised?) consensus for the second stage (closed framing), despite creating chaos and conflicting views in the meantime

19 Open problem framing – the Dyson example
Illustrated by the Dyson example: Inviting individual department and outside consultants to frame the change challenge Employees as stakeholders to consider the proposed solution of a 35% costs reduction – likely unfavorable reaction Shareholders as stakeholders to consider the same suggestion would likely be favourable despite the fact (in hindsight) that it is not going to help the company at all

20 Open problem framing – the Dyson example
Strategic planners/corporate executives to consider the same problem might entail both top-down planning and bottom-up planning Top level executives, the board of directors, supposedly contribute to the framing process with the benefit of their command of information and therefore their far-sight Frontline personnel including the sales floor staff to provide their sense of the gauging on the pulse of the marketplace, the customers, with their first-hand information

21 Open problem framing – the down side
Open framing can be an hollow exercise if it occurs by default In other words, open framing is pursue only because no body is sure about or willing to express an opinion on the way forward In a wicked change situation, it is necessary for someone, likely the leader, to have the audacity to take the bull by the horn and wrestle with the problem Inactivity, inertia, indecision may result leading to a loss of the golden timeframe to deal with the change problem

22 Closed problem framing
Two difficulties of closed framing: First: The very act of writing the problem down can be difficult Possibly the ‘writer’s block’ is a likely cause for the difficulties Second: Writing a closed statement obviously requires some prior work done The danger is that the closed statements are like self-fulfilling prophecies – the eventual solution is naturally embedded in the problem statement, thus limiting further possibilities in the finer execution details, the implementation options

23 Closed problem framing – the statement
The closed problem statement need to be succinct – concise and to the point A rule of thumb is to be limited to fifty words The statement should feature certain common themes Objective goals (SMART requirement) Process (of the delivery of the change) Resources (to enable the change strategy) Time frame (within which the change is to be completed)

24 Closed problem framing
The statement described above correspond to what is referred to the WXYZ approach in B&M textbook Re: Fig. 3.2 in B&M Ch. 3. Closed problem framing using WXYZ – the change challenge facing the organization is to achieve W by doing X with Yin the time frame Z This is synonymous to the strategic planning process On a grander scale, to liberate and recreate On a tactical scale, from corporate level (liberate, relocate, develop), business level (build & develop) leading all the way down to the operational level (fix and maintain) strategies Problem definition/framing is an interactive process. Interaction is exactly what the enquiry-action framework (B&M Ch. 1) is trying to facilitate. As such, communication is at the heart of change management

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