World affairs are often unstable. This month, the Japanese stock market faltered again, capping its worst one-week performance since the global financial crisis in 2008. Japan is not alone in its underperforming markets. However, globalization has linked countries through various elements. Financial markets are no exception. This article explores issues of change in a global environment and discusses the advantages of change agents in today’s organizations.
Change comes in many ways for organizations. In Harvard Business Review, author Rod Ashkensas laid out a framework for how to approach change: “It’s easy to beat ourselves up because of failures to manage change and the various studies that show we don’t get better at it. But we really know how to implement discrete changes.” The fundamental change in organizations is as gradual (gradual) and disruptive (radical). Incremental change can be defined as “a small adjustment made towards an end result”. Managers are either aware of the change or have enough notice so that they can respond in a controlled and predictable manner.
With incremental changes, organizations can make slow and systematic improvements. If you think about Whirlpool and its machines, one will have a good idea of how organizations are responding to the incremental changes. Customers wanted their devices to reflect societal changes. Given this reality, appliances such as refrigerators have gone from basic black and white colors to more distinct color combinations. Electronic technology has been incorporated into the smart device industry. Companies now have plenty of time to respond to consumer demand. Disruptive change does not give organizations a generous reaction period.
Disruptive change is what causes great companies to fail and respected CEOs to be fired. Organizations cannot afford to misunderstand this type of change. Unlike incremental change which may have some predictability, disruptive change can be categorized as unpredictable, illogical and unstable. All of these qualities mean greater risks for organizations. Disruptive change speaks to the changing nature of our society. Young people feel comfortable with their technology. We live in an instant society that wants everything right now. Disruptive change can provide a market advantage.
Harvard professor Clayton Christensen, author of Innovator’s Dilemmacoined the term disruptive innovation to describe how innovation changes an existing market or sector by providing customers in a simple, convenient, accessible and affordable way. In fact, product and service will be inferior to the production or service of the status quo. Disruptive innovation is one that creates a new market and value network and ultimately disrupts the existing market and value network, displacing market leaders and established alliances. Distance learning is one of the most disruptive innovations in modern education. Traditional universities have tried to ignore the model with only a modest mission. The University of Phoenix, a non-profit higher education institution with more than 100,000 students and 112 campuses worldwide, has slowly overtaken the educational market. While the university has been criticized for its business practices and lost students, no one is saying that the innovative strategy of distance learning and treating students like customers is a wrong paradigm.
Globalization, in all its wonders, is a threat from disruptive change. Organizations need leaders who are agents of change during this time in history, not just managers. Dr. Christenson points out the failures of big companies like Sears in unexpected change: “As we shall see, the list of leading companies that failed when faced with disruptive changes in technology and market structure is long…One common theme among all of these failures, however, is that The decisions that led to the failure were made when the leaders in the questions were widely viewed as among the best companies in the world.”
What is a change agent? A change agent is someone who “helps an organization transform itself by focusing on such things as organizational effectiveness, improvement, and development. A change agent has a high internal change locus. This reality means that this person is driven from the inside out. Under adversity, he has this The individual is sufficiently internally motivated to overcome external forces.Os Hellmann, author Change Agent: Use Your Passion To Be The One That Makes The Differenceargues that agents of change are special people.
In order to change a culture, Hillman notes, an individual needs to be special: “It takes less than 3-5 percent of those working on the tops of a cultural mountain to change the values represented on that mountain.” Many organizations are stuck in a rut and need a change agent to implement it. In most organizations, significant changes do not take place from the bottom up. The characteristics of an effective change agent in a global environment are: (1) brave, (2) ethically grounded, (3) global mindset, (4) visionary, (5) strategic, (6) adaptable, (7) relational, and (8) committed.
Therefore, leaders in power need to be agents of change in their organizations. Unfortunately, many CEOs are unwilling to invest their time in developing and promoting change agents in their organizations due to concerns about their shareholders and financial critics. With change continuing more rapidly and unpredictably, today’s organizations need to equip themselves effectively. They must embrace the recruitment and development of change agents within their organizations.
© 2016 by Daryl D. green
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.