Change is inevitable, but at the same time, people are resistant to change regardless of how good the outcome might be. At Kauflauf GmbH, the company seems to be doing better than its competitors, which are large and small businesses, and the arrival of the new assistant Jess Westerly brings a new idea of how the organization should operate to gain more revenue. Out of the analysis that Westerly carries out, it is evident to her that the company can be more profitable by concentrating on the large account clients and it can do away with the smaller account customers (Gabarro & Kaftan, 2012). The idea is great and embraced by the management, but most of the field consultants, who are directly affected, react to the situation with dissatisfaction, and this leads to the failure of the first trial. However, in the second trial, Westerly will have to be more convincing to be able to get her idea accepted by the majority. This essay aims to discuss the effectiveness of Jess Westerly as the assistant product owner at Kauflauf and the communication required in her next course of action to ensure that she will achieve success in implementing the call for pattern changes at the organization.
Jess Westerly at Kauflauf GmbH
The organization has a well-run managerial system that works like a conveyor belt. In other words, a change in one department will automatically affect the rest of the group. In this case, the primary stakeholder is Jess Westerly – the assistant product manager seeking to bring the change in the body. The other players are the regional sales directors, who are located in different regions, and their response towards the move will be determined by the nature of the market in their areas. Some might have to head the sectors that have more large account clients, while others might find having a relatively high number of small and mid-sized customers (Gabarro & Kaftan, 2012). There are also the field consultants, who do the actual duty of interacting with the customers, and their response will be based on the kind of clients who dominate their areas of operation. Lastly, there is the management, whose primary objective is to increase the profitability of the business; therefore, they do not have any resistance towards any well-orchestrated idea that will enable the company to increase its revenue.
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Statement of the Problem
The major challenge that Jess Westerly faces is the fact that she has an idea that contradicts the organization’s culture. The group has managed to overcome the competitors by targeting the small and mid-size clients who have given the team an advantage over the years. Changing the pattern, in which the team has been run means that the field consultants will find it hard to shift their tactics besides targeting other areas that will offer more required clients. The second challenge, which Westerly will face, is the infrastructures currently used in the organization. They have been formulated in line with the customer base that had been targeted initially, and therefore, changing the pattern of client support will mean upgrading the infrastructures to be in a position to cater for the needs of more of large account clients (Gabarro & Kaftan, 2012). The third challenge manifested is the theoretical analysis performed by Jess Westerly, which may not be necessarily an accurate picture of reality. This means that the field consultants are the ones interacting with the clients on a daily basis; thus, they are more conversant with the nature of customers in their location. Finally, Jess Westerly is faced with the challenge of being short-lived in the organization. Consequently, other employees feel that it is still early for her to bring so many changes in such a short time.
The challenges faced are both long-term and short-term, whereby the latter will be easier to deal with since the company will need the stakeholders to understand the bigger idea. The short-term problems include that attitude of the field consultants and their regional sales directors, while the long-term problem lies in setting up the infrastructures that will enable the organization to meet the clients’ demands (Markgraf, n.d.). The best thing is that Jess Westerly has been successful in her previous company, and this will make her more useful in implementing the new idea and winning the endorsement of the stakeholders who are still resistant to the change in call pattern. Therefore, Jess Westerly will be left with one decision – she will have to stand firm with the change she aims to achieve and come up with more efficient communication skills that will enhance the understanding of her idea to the rest of the organization so that it could be embraced by all.
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Causes of the Problem
According to Lewin’s Force-Field Theory of Change (Schein, 1996), resistance to change has many forces, and it is better for the management to know the various concerns that may cause such a resistance. In the case of Kauflauf, the employees are uncertain of the new implementation. They have done their tasks in a way they are used to, and this culture of the organization has been productive. Now, they feel unsure of the change since they depend on the profitability of the organization; therefore, it will be Jess Westerly’s task to assure them of the better outcomes from the proposed change (Lunenburg, 2010). The challenge of infrastructure is the result of the fact that most regional sales directors and the field consultants are aware of the company’s weakness. They understand the strengths and weaknesses of the organization, and they feel that the proposed change will be a challenge if the current capacity of the organization remains unchanged. The other cause of the problem is the fact that Jess Westerly has not yet interacted with all the regional sales directors as she has stated in her email, which means that she does not understand the actual situation of these regions (Gabarro & Kaftan, 2012). Thus, the RSDs are unsure of whether the proposed change will work in their areas as some could have the highest numbers of clients with a small account. Others are concerned about the personal loss since the change may prove futile and render them jobless, which can be depressing to those with many dependents.
For Jess Westerly to ensure that the communication on the issue is understood at all levels, it is important that she has already communicated the idea to the management and they have given their permission to proceed. Getting acceptance from management is the greatest step towards the actualization of the change (Lotich, 2014). Roeder is also of the opinion that Westerly should do more and wait for some time before she can explain the ideas to the three RSDs at the personal level so that upon understanding her strategy, they could change their attitude towards her proposed change (Gabarro & Kaftan, 2012). Since she has already carried out her analysis and waited for a while, she should now relay the idea of change to all the stakeholders involved and inform them about the benefits that come with the modification. When the RSDs see the point being put across and with their understanding of how it will work for the improvement of the organization, they will try to convince the field consultants. Thus, this will help in changing their attitudes towards the modification of the call pattern. At least six months would be enough to enable the different departments to make the necessary adjustments that will put into place the infrastructures that will enhance the change in the organization. Jess Westerly has been useful in carrying out her duties, especially in the former company in the United States, where she held a similar position and had managed to grow its market shares (Gabarro & Kaftan, 2012). The strategy she has come up with will also be a success, provided that the rest of the employees offer their cooperation.
Dunphy and Stace’s model of change is another approach that Westerly can use (D’Ortenzio, 2012). She will have to sell the idea to the management and let them adjust it to their desired design. Thus, in such a way, she will start the changes from the top. Consequently, the change will take place without much resistance since the management will be the one to begin the change. The advantage of this alternative is that those, who feel they cannot work in the organization with the changes being made, can resign, and the management will hire new employees who will be comfortable working with the new change. This will make the change faster, and the benefits will be realized much earlier as well. The disadvantage of this approach is that the organization may experience a setback if the proposed change happens to fail, and at the same time, they will have lost some of its experienced employees. This can make the company lose much revenue, and to some extent, it may lead to bankruptcy.
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Recommended Solutions, Implementation, and Justification
The recommended solution would be Dunphy and Stace’s, model. The change to be introduced will transform the culture of the organization, and therefore, it will be more appropriate for the change to be caused by the top management so that it could consider other necessary minor modifications (D’Ortenzio, 2012). This approach will also help in gaining the cooperation of the majority since every employee will take the change seriously and work towards its success. The management also has the power to fire uncooperative employees; thus, with the fear of losing jobs, most of the employees will have no option but to accept the new change.
The contingency plan, in this case, will involve the division of regions where the changes will be made in phases. This will mean that the area with the lowest number of small account clients will be the first area where the change will be implemented, and the result analyzed to determine its effectiveness. If the outcome is positive, then the change will begin in the next region, where it will be evaluated again to determine its viability (D’Ortenzio, 2012). If the change proves not viable in the first phase, then the management will opt to leave the old call pattern and reject Jess Westerly’s proposed call model.
The challenges to be encountered will involve competition from the other organizations that have already put in place the infrastructures that can accommodate the high number of large account clients (D’Ortenzio, 2012). The change will also require training of the field consultants who will be an extra cost to the organization besides disorganizing the area experts from the way they have been used to carrying out their duties. In addition, new problems will be created, and this will include the loss of small account clients who may talk badly about the organization and ruin its reputation.
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