Rome wasn’t built in a day. The old saying has become somewhat of a cliché recently, but I think it still offers valuable insight when looking at managing change. Simulation 3 on ‘Change Management – Power and Influence’ demonstrated the time and effort that it takes to make meaningful change within an organization. Creating effective change doesn’t just rely on the wishes of one powerful individual, rather it takes altering the skillset, mindset, and vision of multiple people within an organization. The next time I’m thrust into a situation of change management, I’m going to play things more long-term. I’m not going to try to bring about change as rapidly, and instead, I’m going to take a slower and more credible approach.
That all being said, going into the simulation today, I was mostly aware of this prior to the simulation. I knew that creating change took patience and dedication. What the simulation did teach me was better techniques used to implement change. There was one lesson that I had not considered prior to this simulation that I feel far better off now knowing. Change occurs first in the minds of individuals before it manifests itself into action. That means that people share ideas of change when they communicate with one another. The bigger the network of people, the faster ideas of change spread. That will ultimately lead to tangible change. So, how does a change agent facilitate change in the most efficient manner? They do this by learning who is in what social circle and targeting ideas spread strategically. In the simulation, I used this when building a change coalition. I tried to include people from different circles so that the impact of my coalition would leak throughout the entire organization. This is an aspect of spreading change that I had not considered before, and so I consider it my most valuable lesson.
This simulation really reinforced the idea that power comes in a variety of forms. When I think of power, I think of the ability to compel someone to do what you want them to do. Yet, this simulation demonstrated how power is much more than this. Power is the ability to plant ideas in people’s heads. It’s also the ability to share your vision with someone, and lead them to take steps towards implementation of that vision. Power comes in both direct and indirect forms. I also learned just how tied power is to a feeling of desperation or urgency. These were both useful insights that will benefit my leadership in the future.
This simulation added a new dimension to decision-making. Previously, when we made a decision, we were given options and we selected the one which we viewed as the most optimal. However, this simulation introduced the concept of time. We not only needed to identify which decision to make but when to make it. That makes this simulation more realistic than the previous ones. It was also more challenging. This simulation taught me that knowing when to make a decision is almost as important as making the decision itself. Yet this simulation also had another difference. There was a defined goal. Therefore, we could accurately track progress, a luxury not afforded in the other simulations. Overall, this simulation simulated a different aspect of real-life decision-making, and I found the experience highly valuable.
Crisis management deals with intense problems where the situation is constantly evolving. In contrast, urgent situations aren’t necessarily as fluid. Instead, they are simply situations that require immediate attention and limited time to resolve. One key difference between the two is the value of planning. In crisis management, planning is not as useful as adaptive leadership, since the situation evolves constantly. This was evident in the Patient Zero simulation, where we had to deal with new outbreaks and new technological developments. Contrast this to the Power and Influence simulation. In this simulation, we had defined goals and a pre-prescribed decision set. This allowed us to make a plan, and with minor deviation, stick to it.