Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Organizational Change - May 2011

My reflections from the readings and discussions to this point in my exposure to organizational development have given me relevant insight as to why this is an important field to study.  The need for organizational development and planned change within organizations exists due to the reality that environments in which organizations operate are dynamic and in an ever evolving state of change.   Changes to the environment could come from internal factors as well as external ones.  Countless sources such as change in customer behavior, changes to supply and demand, pressure from regulators or other oversight agencies and countless other factors that must be considered as part of a long term plan for success within any given field.  It is because the need to respond to change is such an integral part of any organization future that the study of organizational development is becoming more important to the leaders of any organization that is working to achieve or maintain long term success.
            I believe that most people within a given organization have a fundamental aversion to and general negative attitude towards the concept of change within the organization.  People fear changes within an organization because change carries with it the potential to have a negative impact on their lives.  My real world experience with organizational change is from the point of view of the employee who has had little or no input into the process.  Decisions that are handed down by leadership teams are often very stressful and unsettling for the workers not involved in the decision making process.  I've often labeled many of the management approaches to change within my organization as the "ready, fire, aim" method.  I believe that it is the people within the organization that make it a success or failure and I am encouraged to see that this is acknowledged on page 78 of Organizational Development and Change where the authors note, "Certainly, OD consulting is as much a person specialization as it is a task specialization."  This speaks to me about the importance of acknowledging the human factors involved in this field.  As I grow and become more educated in the field of OD, I am interested in learning methods and best practices around implementing changes in such as way as to minimize stress and trauma to the workforce.  Creating an environment where employees or volunteers understand the need for change and embrace those changes are areas where I believe more organizations need to focus.   Communication needs to be appropriate and thoughtful.  I'd like to explore the facets of OD that focus on creating a culture changes to the organization take the steps necessary to ensure the vision of the change is shared with those who the changes will impact in a respectful manner.  Security is a fundamental human need and too often changes within an organization and the justifications and ends desired by those changes are not properly communicated to those who ultimately are called upon to implement and execute around the prescribed changes. 
            I am interested in learning more about the processes involved in arriving at quality decision making.  I do not see myself pursuing a career as an OD specialist, but I certainly see the importance and relevance of understanding these concepts as a frontline sales manager.  Sales and sales management is where my career path has taken me.  I do not see myself pursuing a role as specialist in the field of OD either internally or as an external consultant.  Cummings and Worley paint a picture of a hectic career that demands 15 hour days and 6 day work weeks.  Perhaps I was better suited for such work 10 years ago.  They warn us that this is a field with a career focused lifestyle that can cause you to burnout quickly.  I already have high anxiety in my current career; I'm not interested in going from the frying pan into the fire.  I am interested in learning more about OD and how it can help me become a better decision maker and become more effective as a frontline sales manager.  While I do not desire a role as a full time consultant, I would welcome the opportunity to have my opinions heard by upper management when called upon to participate in OD issues.  Understanding what works and what doesn't work in an organization and taking that knowledge and incorporating it into quality recommendations for continued success or for improvement is what I'm most interested in.  Understanding how people think about change and respond to it is also something that I'm interested in because I understand that change is inevitable.  I want to learn the practical application to the theories presented in this course.  I want to learn how to apply these theories in my own daily interactions to help create better outcomes not only for the organization, but for the people who the organization serves, for the employees and for anyone who interacts with the organization. 

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