Transformation Change

Running head: Characteristics of Transformational Change
Characteristics of Transformational Change
Coretta Casley
Limestone College

Transformational Change can be personal or within in an organization or business. Transformational change is when a person or business has the desire to improve something within. This research paper will focus on the characteristics of transformational change. Once a company identify there is a need for change or restructuring within the business; the leaders of the company or organization should let the characteristics of transformational change be their guide. They would need to review the company??™s learning cycle; identify the problem; create a plan to address the problem; and put the plan into action.

Characteristics of Transformational Change
When a leader of an organization or company wants to take their business to the next level or want to make improvements within the company; the leader may want to consider a transformational change. Business Dictionary defines transformational change as ???A shift in the business culture of an organization resulting from a change in the underlying strategy and processes that the organization has used in the past. A transformational change is designed to be organization-wide and is enacted over a period of time.??? Transformational change has four major characteristics a leader must review when making changes within a business. The leader must address the leaning cycle; identify the problem; create a plan to address the issue; and then must put the plan into action. Once a company identify there is a need for change or restructuring within the business; the leaders of the company or organization should let the characteristics of transformational change be their guide.
Learning Cycle
The Learning Cycle is noticing there is a problem. What is triggering the companies need for change Transformational change is triggered by the environment. Companies and organizations have to look at the way technology is changing. The company may have to consider downsizing or to consolidate with another business if the business is not generating revenue. Most companies will not consider a transformation change until a problem or problems surface. In most cases the company has to feel threaten. Even then the leaders and most employees don??™t want the change to be radical.
Identify the Problem
According to a study conducted by Professors Tushman, Newman, and Romanelli(2009); transformational change occurs in response to at least three kinds of disruption.
1. Industry discontinuities: sharp changes in legal, political, economic, and technological conditions that shift the basis for competition within an industry (p.506)
2. Product life cycle shifts: changes in product life cycle that require different business strategies(p.506)
3. Internal company dynamics: changes in size, corporate portfolio strategy, or executive turnover (p.506)
Industry discontinuities, product life cycle shifts, and internal company dynamics cause companies and organizations to question there mission, values, structure, systems, and procedures. The company would have to identify the source of the problem. Is this a technology issue; development issue; or a lack of revenue issue
The leaders must decide how much change is needed Does change need to take place within all departments The leaders of the business could seek the help of an OD to help identify the problem. The OD could conduct interviews with employees or hand a questionnaire for employees to complete to help identify the problem.
Once the problem has been identified leaders must confront the problem. Business leaders must look for ways within the company to become more efficient and flexible. With the help of the OD the problem should be analyze while trying to think of a solution. Internal and external analyses should be performing. A popular external analysis that could be done is a ???PEST??? analysis. PEST stands for political, economic, social, and technology. An internal analysis would take into consideration employees; structure of the organization; operational cost, etc.
The results of the analyses could produce some ilrelevant information. In that case the leaders and the OD should sort the results of the analyses by its relevance to help solving the problem. The results would have to be narrowed down to make them manageable. The OD would sort the results by the pros and cons. Once that has been completed the OD would begin to come up with a plan to address the issues.
Creating the Plan
When creating the plan leaders and the OD will review the company??™s mission. What exactly is the company purpose Should a new mission statement for the company be established Objectives and goals would have to be set. The objectives and goals need to be realistic and measurable. Someone within the company would need to monitor the process and make adjustments a needed. Leaders may want to follower Kotters eight steps to change when creating the plan.
John Kotter a professor at Harvard Business School. Also a world known change expert, introduced his eight steps to change process in his 1995 book ???Leading Change.???

Kotter??™s (1995) eight-steps to change are the following:

Step One: Create Urgency
For change to happen, it helps if the whole company really wants it. Develop a sense of urgency around the need for change. This may help you spark the initial motivation to get things moving. (para 5)
This isnt simply a matter of showing people poor sales statistics or talking about increased competition. Open an honest and convincing dialogue about whats happening in the marketplace and with your competition. If many people start talking about the change you propose, the urgency can build and feed on itself. (para 6)
What you can do:
??? Identify potential threats, and develop scenarios showing what could happen in the future.
??? Examine opportunities that should be, or could be, exploited.
??? Start honest discussions, and give dynamic and convincing reasons to get people talking and thinking.
??? Request support from customers, outside stakeholders and industry people to strengthen your argument. (para6)
Step Two: Form a Powerful Coalition
Convince people that change is necessary. This often takes strong leadership and visible support from key people within your organization. Managing change isnt enough ??“ you have to lead it. (para7)
You can find effective change leaders throughout your organization ??“ they dont necessarily follow the traditional company hierarchy. To lead change, you need to bring together a coalition, or team, of influential people whose power comes from a variety of sources, including job title, status, expertise, and political importance. (para 8)
Once formed, your “change coalition” needs to work as a team, continuing to build urgency and momentum around the need for change. (para 9)
What you can do:
??? Identify the true leaders in your organization.
??? Ask for an emotional commitment from these key people.
??? Work on team building within your change coalition.
??? Check your team for weak areas, and ensure that you have a good mix of people from different departments and different levels within your company. (para 9)

Step Three: Create a Vision for Change
When you first start thinking about change, there will probably be many great ideas and solutions floating around. Link these concepts to an overall vision that people can grasp easily and remember. (para10)
A clear vision can help everyone understand why youre asking them to do something. When people see for themselves what youre trying to achieve, then the directives theyre given tend to make more sense. (para11)
What you can do:
??? Determine the values that are central to the change.
??? Develop a short summary (one or two sentences) that captures what you “see” as the future of your organization.
??? Create a strategy to execute that vision.
??? Ensure that your change coalition can describe the vision in five minutes or less.
??? Practice your “vision speech” often. (para 11)
Step Four: Communicate the Vision
What you do with your vision after you create it will determine your success. Your message will probably have strong competition from other day-to-day communications within the company, so you need to communicate it frequently and powerfully, and embed it within everything that you do. (para 12)
Just call special meetings to communicate your vision. Instead, talk about it every chance you get. Use the vision daily to make decisions and solve problems. When you keep it fresh on everyones minds, theyll remember it and respond to it. (para 13)
Its also important to “walk the talk.” What you do is far more important ??“ and believable ??“ than what you say. Demonstrate the kind of behavior that you want from others. (para 14)
What you can do:
??? Talk often about your change vision.
??? Openly and honestly address peoples concerns and anxieties.
??? Apply your vision to all aspects of operations ??“ from training to performance reviews. Tie everything back to the vision.
??? Lead by example. (para 14)
Step Five: Remove Obstacles
If you follow these steps and reach this point in the change process, youve been talking about your vision and building buy-in from all levels of the organization. Hopefully, your staff wants to get busy and achieve the benefits that youve been promoting. (para 15)
But is anyone resisting the change And are there processes or structures that are getting in its way (para 16)
Put in place the structure for change, and continually check for barriers to it. Removing obstacles can empower the people you need to execute your vision, and it can help the change move forward. (para 17)
What you can do:
??? Identify, or hire, change leaders whose main roles are to deliver the change.
??? Look at your organizational structure, job descriptions, and performance and compensation systems to ensure theyre in line with your vision.
??? Recognize and reward people for making change happen.
??? Identify people who are resisting the change, and help them see whats needed.
??? Take action to quickly remove barriers (human or otherwise). (para 17)
Step Six: Create Short-term Wins
Nothing motivates more than success. Give your company a taste of victory early in the change process. Within a short time frame (this could be a month or a year, depending on the type of change); youll want to have results that your staff can see. Without this, critics and negative thinkers might hurt your progress. (para 18)
Create short-term targets ??“ not just one long-term goal. You want each smaller target to be achievable, with little room for failure. Your change team may have to work very hard to come up with these targets, but each “win” that you produce can further motivate the entire staff. (para 19)
What you can do:
??? Look for sure-fire projects that you can implement without help from any strong critics of the change.
??? Dont choose early targets that are expensive. You want to be able to justify the investment in each project.
??? Thoroughly analyze the potential pros and cons of your targets. If you dont succeed with an early goal, it can hurt your entire change initiative.
??? Reward the people who help you meet the targets. (para 19)

Step Seven: Build on the Change
Kotter argues that many change projects fail because victory is declared too early. Real change runs deep. Quick wins are only the beginning of what needs to be done to achieve long-term change. (para 20)
Launching one new product using a new system is great. But if you can launch 10 products, that means the new system is working. To reach that 10th success, you need to keep looking for improvements. (para 21)
Each success provides an opportunity to build on what went right and identify what you can improve. (para 22)
What you can do:
??? After every win, analyze what went right and what needs improving.
??? Set goals to continue building on the momentum youve achieved.
??? Learn about kaizen, the idea of continuous improvement.
??? Keep ideas fresh by bringing in new change agents and leaders for your change coalition. (para 22)
Step Eight: Anchor the Changes in Corporate Culture
Finally, to make any change stick, it should become part of the core of your organization. Your corporate culture often determines what gets done, so the values behind your vision must show in day-to-day work. (para 23)
Make continuous efforts to ensure that the change is seen in every aspect of your organization. This will help give that change a solid place in your organizations culture. (para 24)
Its also important that your companys leaders continue to support the change. This includes existing staff and new leaders who are brought in. If you lose the support of these people, you might end up back where you started. (para25)
What you can do:
??? Talk about progress every chance you get. Tell success stories about the change process, and repeat other stories that you hear.
??? Include the change ideals and values when hiring and training new staff.
??? Publicly recognize key members of your original change coalition, and make sure the rest of the staff ??“ new and old ??“ remembers their contributions.
??? Create plans to replace key leaders of change as they move on. This will help ensure that their legacy is not lost or forgotten. (para 25)
Implementation of the plan should include the employees if possible. Employees will be more willing to accept the change if leaders keep them informed and involved with the changes. If a new mission statement is needed. The leaders should seek input from employees. The results of the implantation would need to be measured and evaluated. Adjustments should be made as needed. Feedback from employees is important if the implantation is to be successful.
When a leader or leaders of a company or organization wants to take their company to the next level; or want to make improvements within the company they take transformational change into consideration. Most employees first reaction is to transformational change are to resist the change. They may question why the change is necessary. Employees will look for logical reasons for the changes and new implementations within the company. The leaders of the company should be willing and ready to involve the employees with all phase of the implementations within the company. Overall transformational change is meant to and should be a positive change within a company.

Business Dictionary [definition]. (n.d.). Retrieved June 12, 2011, from
Cummings, T. G., & Worley, C. G. (2009). Transformational Change. In Organization Development & Change (pp. 505-509). Mason, OH: Cengage Learning.
Kotter, J. (n.d.). Kotter??™s 8-Step Change Model. Retrieved June 16, 2011, from