All entries for Sunday 17 November 2013

November 17, 2013

Issues surrounding change management – PMI

Our group work ahead of Monday's presentation on issues surrounding change management when using Six Sigma and commiting to a process improvement programme led to some interesting discussion on the issues that can occur, why they occur and how to attempt to create situation where these issues do not occur. From our discussions on the work, we determined and established that in order to prevent any problems that occur with change, such as conflict, a loss of motivation, fear over new processes, a loss of job security, negative pre judgements, the following processes need to be looked at and implemented.

Management obviously needs to be commited to the change, to buy into the ideas and be able to positively portray this across to individual employees within the organisation. If senior management doesn't buy into the new ideas, why will employees? Furthermore, understanding the cultural change that needs to happen to ensure new processes and policies are embraced needs to occur. Communication needs to be open, flexible and easily accessible, so people at all levels are informed of the changes and if any people or department suffer problems, that they can express these issues. There needs to be an environment where employees are able to contribute and develop these new work processes and solutions to problems, and to understand the reasons as to why the change is occuring. The relevent training that is required needs to be implemented, with the organisation potetntially being restructered to avoid any departments or individuals becomming overworked if productivity increases. Perhaps most importantly (and briefly touched upon) is employee involvement. If employees are seperated from the processes when they are designed, and subsequently don't understand why they need to be implemented, they are a lot less likely to buy into the new ideas. If an employee/department helps design and/or refine a new process, they are much more likely to be motivated and committed towards helping to successfully implement the new process.

If these processes occur, change can successfully occur. This is outlined in the PMI improvment cycle which aims to ensure these problems and challenges are overcome. Essentially key problems needs to be addressed, with the gains understood by all in the organisation aiming to solve these problems. Then the gains need to be secured with the organisation repositioning itself which leads to the system as whole (as opposed to individual departments) being optimised.

Forms of learning

The EFQM Model promotes a culture of continuous learning with employees, along with Deming and his theories on organisational behaviour. However, just by allowing and facilitating the opportunity for learning and the sharing of knowledge will not necesarily create the desired results or outcomes. Essentially a key componenet of organisational learning is the implicit learning that occurs between employees without it necessarily being apparent. Most uncodified knowledge is obtained through participation in social events and activites (i.e. being able to discuss problems with a supervisor, or an employee using a concept such as an intranet (see my blog about Caterpillar Inc.)).

It is therefore important that an organisation who wants to encourage learning and share knowledge (perhaps leading to a 'Learning Organization' (or perhaps not, just a quality journey)) that the correct processes are put in place to facilitate knowledge. Creating a culture where the workforce feel confident enough to share knowledge, and ask for help is extremely important, as employees who don't feel supported, or don't feel that they are being offered training or knowledge may lose motivation. Therefore, the following processes can help to encourage the sharing of knowledge: participation in groups, working alongside others, consultation, and having tackling challenges to solve, (to name just a few) can help to create work processes where learning is a by product. Furthermore, processes such as having direct supervision, mentors, shadowing other employees and coaching can also lead to the acqusition of knowledge (although these processes may be more time consuming and expensive to run).

Much learning at work occurs through doing things and being productive, and having the opportunity to share this obtained knowledge is extremely important. Finally, appraisals can also help reinforce learning, highlight areas for improvement that in turn can further motivate employees (provided relevent help and training is offered to strengthen these areas). However, they could also have a negative impact, highlghting the gap between what an employee can do and what an employer wants them to do, leading to a loss of motivation and commitment to an organisation if they feel they aren't good enough to fulfil the aims of the organisation.

I feel this blog highlights some of the more practical elements that the EFQM Model argues to implement, along with Deming's SOPK, and that in this case, this blog covers the section about sharing knowledge. It aims to highlight how organisations and employees can share knowledge, and how sometimes poor processes can lead to adverse results.

November 2013

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