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Change

In the last two years, change has been great in my world. A new job at a new company, I started a Master’s Program, I lost my mother and the one person who always had my back, I’ve experienced and survived many relationship changes with friends and loved ones, my children have become more independent, and I’ve entered the threshold of a new stage of life. Within all of this change, I have changed. For example, I’ve become more self-aware, I have gained a better understanding of communication with others as well as recognizing and respecting people have different social worlds and different acculturation and most importantly, I have become a better listener. I believe the Master’s Program education is the basis for many of the positive, personal changes, in addition to the grief process… I’ve learned so much about myself and others as a result. Change occurs at different levels: individually, relationally, and structurally or systematically (Stein and Vallers 2012 p. 2). Between these different areas or levels of change, most change takes place relationally. Relationships are so dynamic… we focus on and value more relationships in our personal environment vs. our professional environment. Professional, or structural or systematic change is generally temporary and not as meaningful as personal relationships. In efforts to better understand compassion; its roots, science and how we’ve lost our compassion in today’s world, we will focus on the relational area of change and how we can affect positive change within our daily relationships.

Although compassion has been discussed for centuries, it is only now, in the West, being studied as a science that can bridge cultures that have been separated in thought and tradition. I believe that the better we understand the emotion, its triggers, its call to action, and its essence, the better we can harness the good it has to offer and share it with the world through compassion cultivation programs. We can teach compassion to children through various mediums, including games; we can have compassion events in our communities to instill the necessity for its existence in our local neighborhoods and work places. We can teach the world about its value, and how we each play a part in making the world a better place for our children.  

I only hope that my work in this Ethical Leadership program brings others the same hope and ignites the same fire that exists in my heart to find a cure for world’s lost compassion. I hope everyone who reads this will ask the question… “what can I do to help?”  That is the question that needs to be asked and that desire to help must be transformed into action within the dynamics of our relationships.  I have been called to play a part in working to find global healing, and this is a healing of relationships among the human race. We have got to understand our likenesses as well as what makes us different; and we must embrace and celebrate both. Many joined me during the Global Unity Games campaign and we concluded with 256 teams, 500 individuals, 50 support organizations and millions of acts of compassion. Yet relationally, we all connected and forged new understandings of those we knew and and those we just met. A deeper bond now exists among those relationships we had previously, and a “togetherness” now exists within and around our new relationships. The campaign for compassion was a success. I realize that we, as a global world, have a long way to go, but this initiative has enlightened many about compassion and has inspired many more to put their compassion into action; within their daily interactions and relationships old and new. The change has begun.

Analyze and reflect on the traditions, frameworks, and concepts in the fields of social and organizational change, including examining the drivers, sources, and these causes of change: need, innovation, failure, and conflict

Artifacts
Dialogue and collaboration posts, weeks three and four.

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Rationale
In weeks three and four we focused on organizational change and the lead players as well as the internal/external drivers of change. In terms of social change tools, we were introduced to Design Thinking, of which, I am a huge fan, and we were re-introduced to Appreciate Inquiry. I have used AI in my organization and continue to use the model as our tool for improving upon our strengths, vs. focusing on our weaknesses. We have worked through the first three areas in the AI process, Discovery, Dream and Design.

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Change: I applied appreciative inquiry into my work life. I introduced the concept at a staff retreat and we paired up team members and discussed strengths, wins and dreams for our organization. We have now clearly defined our strong areas and our dreams, as well as some concerns, for those areas. We have talked about what can and should be and are working towards designing how we think we can put those ideas into action. As we move into what sustains and inspires, I can reference learning objective number three.

Analyze the dynamics and elements of change processes as they impact the trajectory of change

Artifact

Week three dialogue and collaboration posts (see above)

Rationale
This is my post for week three’s drivers of change post:

In any organization, an internal driver for change would be change brought about by factors within the organization, such as:

  • strategy
  • employee attitudes
  • stakeholders
  • workforce
  • culture

External drivers are external factors, which tend to be out of the organization’s control, such as:

  • government laws and regulations
  • labor markets
  • economic changes
  • competitor performance
  • social changes

Internal drivers would affect for-profit organizations, non-profits, government agencies and hybrids differently and also would vary by industry. However, economic changes of the external market, federal/state labor law changes, and external political factors (like an election) would have an impact on all types of organizations.

Here is an article on how internal and external factors drive change: http://study.com/academy/lesson/how-internal-and-external-factors-drive-organizational-change.html (Links to an external site.)

Change: I am now able to identify and recognize change drivers and have a clear understanding of the dynamics of a change process (need, innovation, failure, and conflict). This is a good place to start. Being able to plan for anticipated change is empowering, yet simply being able to realize, or make the connection between the cause and possible effects internal and external factors may have on me increases my peace of mind. I am also knowledgeable enough to share my knowledge of change management with others. I can design a training and present it to my team members at work.

 

Understand alignment and learn to identify resources and processes that sustain change

Artifact
Week five collaboration post.

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Rationale
A ToC that includes  no surprises, constant communication, team decision making, frequent recognition of wins, transparency, and a vision for change in which most could support and own is  key to aligning the team with organizational change and ensuring sustainability. A leader must create a culture that embraces change and sustains that change. I want to integrate Clarke and his video “Embracing Change” because it reveals an understanding of why people resist change and a way to introduce change in a way that decreases resistance is so very vital to alignment and sustainability. If the team is prepared and ready to embrace the change, they are also much more open to efforts of sustaining the change. Overcoming fears and resistance, aligning the team before implementing the change; these are things a change leader knows and understands how to do. I also listed tips for driving change that can be embraced and sustained. Small, mid-size or large, I believe any size organization can create and drive successful change by following these guidelines:

  1. Clearly state your vision for the future

Teams are more likely to embrace change when they are aware of what is happening and when. Don’t create a culture of secrecy. Instead, be transparent and frequently communicate your vision so everyone is on the same page.

  1. Set short-term goals

It is much easier to focus on goals and tasks that can be achieved in the immediate future than the end result that’s years away. Introduce change in bite-size chunks that are achievable and manageable.

  1. Start at the top

Employees will look to the CEO and C-level for support and direction. Ensure leadership buy-in and make sure they are a unified front.

  1. Ask employees what they think

Make time to talk to the people on the ground to understand how they feel. You need to hear their needs, concerns, and fears to successfully implement something new.

  1. Stay on top of resistance

Doing things differently will make some employees uncomfortable. Be aware of anyone who has a sudden negative attitude, and address any unhappiness or issues the moment they arise.

  1. Create new communication channels

Your team will be hungry for information and updates, so beef up your steam of communication. Maintain visibility, be more accessible for impromptu conversations, and keep your employees regularly updated.

  1. Become an early adopter

When you walk the walk, your employees will be more inspired to follow you. You will be seen as a role model adapting to this change rather than someone telling everyone else what to do.

  1. Keep a positive attitude

Change can be stressful and confusing, but you can keep the corporate climate positive by remaining upbeat and enthusiastic.

  1. Give frequent feedback

Personal, immediate feedback can be very motivating as employees’ jobs and culture change. Build their confidence and shape expectations by providing real-time feedback (Wang, 2015 pp.1).

Change
I am fortified with the ability to plan for change. I can design a ToC for several types of change. I am able to access resources such as the guidelines above to execute a ToC properly, aligning myself and the team for the best possible outcome.  One thing I remember from this particular week’s discussion with classmates is that with change, adapting is a stronger trait to have than other traits. One’s ability to adapt to change is beyond survivability, it can take one to a state of flourishing, when others who cannot adapt are merely struggling to survive.

 

Analyze practices and acquire tools needed as an agent of change

Rationale
In week two, we had a video by Clarke as a resource. It had such an impact upon me and made me reflect upon how I have experienced change in the past and whether it has been introduced to me in a manner in which I am likely to embrace or not. Clarke gives an excellent tool and explains why people resist change… which is key to designing a method for implementing change. We must understand the fears and the reasons why people do not like change so that we can design change and tools for change around those factors. Clarke’s four door tool is one I will use going forward when introducing change to a team.

Clarke, J. (2010). Embracing change. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPhM8lxibSU .  Other excellent tools are Design Thinking and Appreciative Inquiry. During week six, we were asked to list tools and resources we have available to us to implement change. I listed several in my post:

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Change
I now have a better grasp on why people resist change. I have some insight into the human mind and why it behaves the way it does when change is introduced. This knowledge is powerful because it gives me the ability to design ToCs around these factors of resistance, thus increasing the chance of the best possible outcome.

 

Develop approaches to creating visibility and generating insights for change

Artifact
Week seven resources and discussion posts.

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Rationale
The greatest resource from this course is the MIT toolkit: http://www.kstoolkit.org/Critical+Moments  introduced to us in week seven. This tool includes many insights for change and real-life tools and examples we all can access and apply anytime in our personal and professional lives for seeking help, creating visibility within the community, and examining potential ways to implement change. My week seven dialogue post discusses how I could have used the toolkit for my Capstone project:

Within the Tool Kit what I found useful was the module on “help taking action.” Under this section there is a “model for getting started” and “conducting a direct action campaign”.  For my Capstone, I created and launched a compassion campaign with a group of local community members. All the elements in this toolkit were either 1) what we did as part of our planning process or what we SHOULD have done (some are not applicable). For example here’s a list of elements, and I have identified which we employed and which we did not:

Another area in which I found useful for my Capstone was ‘best change processes”. Under this umbrella, I found “changing community conditions and systems” and “achieving widespread change in behavior” great resources. Specifically “making outcomes matter” is what I took to heart and really, what all agents for change I’m certain area looking to do. Making Outcomes Matter is a process that uses feedback on progress and differential rewards (i.e., incentives and disincentives) for change and improvement. It is not simply about “accountability” – a thumbs-up or thumbs-down final assessment of the merit of the effort. Rather, the process of Making Outcomes Matter occurs over the lifespan of an initiative, and aims to use information about progress to prompt action and make adjustments. Feedback — on levels of change and improvement and incentives for progress — are used to enhance levels of organizational capacity, implementation, and community change and population-level improvements (Fawcett, Francisco, Paine-Andrews, & Schultz, 2000; Paine Andrews, Francisco, & Fawcett, 1994). This process works best when linked to other key processes that help to (a) outline the conceptual roadmap and indicators for change (Developing a Framework or Model of Change (Links to an external site.)) and (b) measure and understand what an initiative is doing (Documenting Progress and Using Feedback (Links to an external site.)). My project, a compassion campaign, had a means for measuring change and improvement on a digital map and a channel for people to tell stories about what acts of kindness they conducted. Sustaining the changes we initiated is what we are interested in now, and the toolkit also offers resources for this.

Change
I can draw on this MIT resource to bring about durable changes in my personal and work environments. I can also use it to plan for continued implementation through times of change. It will help me to refine and combine perspectives with other resources and community partners to help particular issues are addressed, and to build an organization capable of carrying out meaningful work.

 

References

Clarke, J. (2010, December 21). Embracing Change. Retrieved from:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPhM8lxibSU .

KU, Community Toolbox: Developing a Framework or Model of Change.

MIT Center for Reflective Practice, Critical Moment in Reflection. Retrieved from: http://www.kstoolkit.org/Critical+Moments (Links to an external site.)

Phalpher, R. (1999). Leader Values. Change; Sustaining Organizational Change. Retrieved from: https://www.leader-values.com/article.php?aid=72 .

Simkovitz, H. (2002). Business Wisdom. Creating, Supporting and Sustaining Change. Retrieved from: http://www.business-wisdom.com/articles/ArtclCreatingSuppSustain.html.

Stein D., & Valters, C. (2012), Understanding “theory of change” in International Development: A Review of Existing Knowledge. JSRP Paper 1. London: The Justice and Security Research Programme (JSRP) and The Asia Foundation.

Wang, D. (2015). Tiny Pulse. Successful Organizational Change Examples You Need to Copy. Retrieved by: https://www.tinypulse.com/blog/sk-successful-organizational-change-examples.

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