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Reflection – Lokesh Ramani

by on November 26, 2007

Change Management Mechanisms – Different Mechanisms to Reach Common Objectives

Jill Woelfer discussed about the change management initiatives in her organization – Phillips and possible lessons that can be learnt from specific jazz related improvisations from bands in the 1930’s. It was interesting to understand the scope of the change management initiatives that were pursued in Phillips, trying to change some of its market and brand positioning to the external customers and to improve organizational efficiencies by changing its outlook towards a “simplified” workplace.

The two Jazz bands under investigation were the “Goodman’s Orchestra” and “Basie’s Orchestra” whose outlook towards their band performances and jazz improvisations were at the opposite ends and subsequently the change management analogies were two contrasting models. This brings in something pertinent that is widespread across any business. Organizations are increasingly operating as individual internal sub-businesses spread across different countries, with different organizational cultures and varying organizational mission and goals.

After establishing common change management related objectives, it is critical to devise pertinent mechanisms to achieve the aforementioned objectives based on the organizational environment that is under a transition of change. Both the jazz bands were able to appeal to their respective target audience irrespective of the outlook adopted towards their improvisations. This brings out an important point that has to be acknowledged in large scale businesses. Change management mechanisms would be effective and possess minimum side-effects, if the core components of the organization that are the central subjects of change are analyzed and the dynamics of these components are reflected in the respective change management mechanisms.

During Jill’s discussion, I was under the perception that the success factors established for the two jazz bands under study were their popularity in their respective shows and the quality of their performances. While I acknowledge that these two bands employed the style of music as the central component to initiate change in the jazz music scene outlook, I would like to see the effects of other factors that contributed towards this change management initiative. Some factors that I think may be pertinent in contributing towards the success factors are the band’s reputation, any single band member’s charisma, nature of the target audience, trends in the jazz music scene, etc. In organizations, some of the aforementioned factors translated to the appropriate business terminology may be additional important factors that can play favorable roles in making a change management initiative successful. By also studying certain individual charismatic leaders like Jack Welsh, Steve Jobs, etc, we may be able to derive some key insights about how additional factors related to a leader’s personality may be effective in delivering successful change management mechanisms.

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