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Reflection – Jun Shao

by on November 27, 2007

You have to find you own way to Roma in change management

Today Jill presented a creative idea of change management, using Jazz metaphor to associate organization changing. The traditional model of Benny Goodman and the complex adaptive system (CAS) model of Count Basie are proved to be successful. It seems that all roads lead to Roma. However, I am a little confused that why we still have problems in change management. Why organizations still have the so-called changing pains nowadays?

I totally agree that jazz organizations can be described as business with management. They have products, customers, investors, managers, and employees. However, despite similarities, we might not neglect their differences and explore those differences to see how they influence change management. Therefore we can draw a solid conclusion of change management.

Organization difference
The first glance is that a jazz band is much simple than a business organization.
· Scale of employees
A band does not exceed 100 people while Philips has 128,000 employees. Large international companies usually have over tens of thousands employees.
· Geographic distribution
A band members play on a single stage even when they travel across the United States. Philips has over 100 sites all around the world. The distribution has some unavoidable problems in management. A well-known issue is the time-zone one. As Jill mentioned, she has to wake up before 5 a.m. to have a conference meeting with her German colleagues every week.
· Organization Complexity
Jill told us that the Seattle team and the German team are quite difference in the way they manage changes. Different organization structures, processes, and customs. While in a single Jazz band, even its musicians come from other countries, the members still share a same organization and way they play Jazz.

A great number of business organizations have a problem in communication. That’s why we have to develop a vision and communicate the change vision in Kotter’s eight stage change process. Considering the scale of employees, geographic distribution, and organization complexity, Jazz bands have those great advantages over business organizations in change management which contributes to their success of metaphors However, some large organizations might have problem in applying changes due to the mentioned disadvantages.

Jill’s idea is practical since we can apply changes to a limited scope. Changes are always divided into phases based on their timelines and teams based on their functions. Therefore, we will explore their change contexts and their interactions to check Jazz metaphors and business changes.

Context difference
· Customer
The audience of Jazz is their customers. They have already bought tickets before they listen to the music. Also, because they like Jazz, they pay for it. In the business organization cases, customers buy products or services out of diverse purposes. Some band funs, such as luxuries, might have the same feeling of those Jazz fans. However, some customers might have high expectations. They have little tolerance of mistakes of business organizations and ask for refund if they do not like changes of products.
· Competition
When driving on the road, you can switch to different type of Jazz music in hours. Your can buy a lot of Jazz music products at the same day. However, in most cases, you will like to drive a same car for years. Business organizations have to face much more intense competitions since most of products are more exclusive than music.
· External environment
The environment of Jazz is stable while business organizations, especially today, have to face a fast paced global market. The preferences of Jazz audience will not change greatly. Also, they are little restriction of Jazz and musicians are quite pleased to satisfy customers. They play freely on stages. As we know, the first priority of business organizations is to pursuit profit. However, there are lots of restrictions such as law, custom, and culture. They have to dance in cages.

Overall, we have checked the contexts of Jazz metaphor and business organization changes. Jill’s idea can apply to some cases. However, they have to rely on their contexts. In the following paragraph, I would like to explore change themselves.

Change difference
As Jill describe, when performing in public, jazz musicians often exhibit a great freedom that gives the impression of the ability to change successfully take up new ideas at the moment’s notice. Musicians drive changes, not to adopt it. While in the business cases, organization changes to adopt it. Despite great freedom during their performance, the Jazz musicians can get the immediate feedback from their audience. Well, business organizations have to pay for surveying and collection customer feedback.

Conclusion
In all, Jill’s idea is practical as to change management based on certain conditions. The nature of change is its diversity. Facing its diversity, we have to find our specified solution. We are exploring our own way to Roma.

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