The following executive report is a result of what our change plan achieved throughout the simulation. Our results of this simulation were positive. Although we did not reach the adoption process, we had a number of people in the aware, interested, and appraisal/trial stage ending in a total of 63.5 points.The tactics that we utilized were effective, although with 17.5 weeks left we were not able to get a potential 22 adopters at the rate we were going.
We realized early on what processes were needed for each tactic which ultimately lead to going back and forth from obtaining background information as well as arranging one on one interviews with those in charge of the operations we planned to take. Once we realized this we were well on our way in stipulating the change plans were originally devised beforehand on the basis of the stages as opposed to constructing our plans on the directors/managers that we wanted to influence.
As change specialists in the Organizational Change Simulation, my team was responsible for acting as consultants to the management level personnel in The High-Tech Products Division and persuading as many Directors and Managers as possible to adopt to Total Quality Management (TQM). Total Quality Management is used as a management approach to achieve a company’s long-term success through customer satisfaction. Given two years and 17 change tactics options, we were required to develop an effective strategy to successfully convince 24 personnel to adopt in order to make necessary organizational changes.
Prior to the simulation, we made a change plan based on the adoption process which is made up of four individual, well-defined stages consisting of awareness, interest, appraisal/trial, and adoption. Our actual simulation followed the original plan with a few alterations in between. Without much knowledge of organizational change, we were forced to take the risk in deciding an effective initial step. However, we did not make any assumptions. Instead, we carefully planned the process with the flexibility of revising our strategies in case of future obstacles. That was one of the right decisions we made.
For the first stage, the goal is to alert individual of the existence of something new and possible changes. Following the original plan, we utilized the strategy of interdepartmental unit meeting which is described as arranging a meeting with several directors or managers to discuss TQM. However, we were told to inform Vice President who is responsible for the division of our activities which began our long journey of interviews and appointments. In efforts to inform the Vice President, we chose tactic 4 which was to arrange to have a brief article in the Company Newsletter/Magazine about TQM, and the potential benefits to the division in hope that other potential adopters will be informed as well. As a result of the article, several personnel such as Marketing Director, Advertising Manager, and Liaison to Operations whose opinions are respected throughout the division happened to see the article therefore they entered the awareness and on the way to the interest phase. Tact 4 was an unexpected success and for the first time boosted our confidence in the adoption process.
Next, we decided to observe social patters of Marketing Director, Advertising Manager and Liaison to Operations in order to further spread the awareness among other directors/managers in the division. Surely, among many other personnel, Vice President entered the Awareness phase. Although it is not easy to get the VP on our side, our task will be much easier if we do. To further inform the Vice President, we employed Tactic 10 in attempt to set up a meeting and informally interview the VP. To effectively interview the VP, we had to collect some background information about him. In out second attempt to set up an interview with the VP, we realized we needed the Executive Secretary’s approval first. Therefore, we had to collect the secretary background information in order to interview her hoping to get to the VP. Fortunately, she understands the impact of TQM on the division’s performance and productivity getting us closer to the VP.
Although we never got to meet the VP, we were able to get directors as well as managers to enter the awareness and even the interest phases. After weeks and still no luck in meeting with the VP, we decided to go back to arrange several directors/manager for an interdepartmental unit meeting to discuss TQM. In order to schedule the use of a meeting room, we had to collect background information of the Physical Plant Manager and interview him. As a result, he saw our efforts to change are positive thus became aware and interested to cooperate with our requests. The seemingly small and ineffective step proved to be helpful. The turnout from the interdepartmental meeting surpassed even our fondest hopes; over 10 directors/managers gained awareness and interested in the adoption process.
For our next step, we decided to further tap into the Interest stage by arranging to have Professor Peter Brucker speak on “TQM: Its Role in Increasing Productivity” at a seminar. However, this step turned out to be excessive. Inexperienced people might be a captive audience, however fellow employees were not. Also due to lack of credibility, attendance to the seminar was sparse. This Tactic turned out to be least effective at this stage. With a step forward, it seems we took two steps backward. As a team, we realized that instead of continuing to informed our potential adopters, we should have gather more information and develop an aroused level of curiosity which is what the interest stage is all about. From this setback, we learned to consider all the elements of each strategy before putting it into effect.
Moving onto the Appraisal/Trial stage in which the new idea is tried out in a trial operation, we applied Tactic 9 by having a particular Manager such as the Marketing Director to lead a session on creative uses of TQM within his/her department. Before employing the new idea throughout the entire division, it would be safer and more effective to test it out on a single department in the company. After a few weeks of the trial period, the leader of the experimental group will summarize and educate the rest of the division with the possible benefits as well the hidden drawbacks of the change idea, if any. Once the idea is proven to be constructive, potential adopters will be more open to accepting organizational changes. Unfortunately, we were naive in thinking that a Director/Manager is going to lead a session without being interviewed. To overcome this obstacle, we interview the Marketing Director who approves of TQM and discusses it at lunch therefore it was essential to find out his/her lunchmates in order to further influence them to adopt as well. To follow up on our request to ask the Marketing Director to lead a internal workshop, he/she was not able to instill the same enthusiasm he/she has within his/her department.
In our final attempt to attract potential adopters, we employed the Sample Survey strategy by sending a survey to several Directors and Managers to gather information about interest in TQM. However, it is very possible that the Organizational Development Manager will misunderstand our role unless we have a talk with her so that she will not think that we are usurping her position. At this point, we had used up 34 weeks out of our 104 weeks quota. Although we did not get anyone to completely adopt, we did do a great job in getting most potential adopters to the last stage of the adoption process ending in a total score of 63.5.
Number of persons in Awareness17 x 1 point = 17
Number of persons in Interest 13 x 2 points = 26 Number of persons in Appraisal/Trial 1 x 3 points = 3 Number of weeks remaining70 x .25 = 17.5
As all change methods vary, we found certain tactics to be more effective than others. The more interactive methods such as those involving meetings and workshops (Tactic 8 and 9) were found to be more effective in attracting people’s awareness and interest to the TQM change plans. The process which lead to making these meetings and workshops happen involved one on one
meetings with those who mattered most. In most corporations once you obtain the interest of a head manager, Vice president, or even executive secretary you earn a lot more interest from those they associate themselves with. We learned early on in this simulation that knowing who lunched with whom earned us points as well as directors and managers points.
Another tactic we found to be useful was the company newsletter (Tactic 4). We used the company newsletter earlier in our steps to inform the company about the TQM itself; what it was and how it benefited the company. On our way to doing this we learned that we had to get the approval of the executive secretary as well as keeping the Vice president up-to-date with our plan.
Tactics that we found less effective was the seminar (Tactic16). The seminar deemed less effective due to the fact that it had no real credibility which ultimately did not earn the respect of those attending this seminar. In most companies holing a seminar must be held by someone who is credible and respected for others to actually attend and give interest to.
Steps that should have been taken:
By following the tactics that we had initially took we learned that it would have been more effective if we had started with obtaining background checks (Tactic 2) for a majority of top needed management to adopt the TQM change plan. After obtaining these background checks we would have applied tactic 3, 11, and 17 to gain additional information in order to capture the interest of as many managers/directors as possible by knowing what committees they are in, who did these people take their lunch breaks with, and with whom they associated with as far as social patterns go.
Our next step would be to schedule interviews with first the executive secretary (Tactic 10) in order to achieve her approval to schedule a meeting with the Vice President (Tactic 10). After meeting with the Vice President we would have consecutively sent out the company newsletter (Tactic 4) to catch the interest of several directors/managers.
In our next few steps to further gain the interest of members of the company we would plan to meet with the Physical plant manager in charge of scheduling the meeting rooms that we need for our next step (Tactic 8); To effectively gain support from as many directors and managers as possible we plan to organize an interdepartmental unit meeting (Tactic 8). This tactic worked very well adopting several directors and managers including the Vice president as well as the executive secretary.
In our next attempt to obtain more interest we plan to have a particular director lead a session on creative uses of TQM within his/her department. In order to do this we have to refer to a head of one of the departments. We would have then chose the Marketing director to discuss his role in arranging the internal workshop through an interview we have (Tactic 10). After getting an approval we would further establish this internal workshop by utilizing Tactic 9. Instead we would continue doing the workshops getting the approval of each of the other department managers to lead their own workshops.
The last strategy we would have planned to use is the sample survey. Upon knowing how many directors and managers were drawn to our TQM change plan we would construct a sample survey with the approval of the OD manager (Tactic 10). To further this process in acquiring the sufficient feedback of this survey (Tactic 15) to gain the essential 22 adopters needed to support the TQM change plan.