During today’s session of Leadership in a Global Context, we participated in a simulation where we had to convince 20 employees of a company we work for to adopt a program that will make the company’s products more sustainable. There were two attempts of the simulation: one where you were CEO of the company in a high urgency situation and one where you were a director of product innovation in a low urgency situation. After working through both simulations and participating in a debrief, I think the largest takeaway about leadership that I learned is the importance of credibility and relationships in the workplace. I learned that the way that employees view you and respect you is largely based on how much credibility you have. I also learned that it is easiest to convince an employee to adopt an idea when their friends and direct coworkers have also adopted the idea. Next time I find myself leading change, I will be sure to assess how much people in the work environment respect me and see how I could increase my credibility. I will also be sure to conduct individual interviews often to see how people feel in order to inspire the next moves to continue leading change.
One key lesson I learned about change management is that building credibility is the first step to success and working on a distinct business plan is the next step and then finally to conduct change, there can be a focus on individual employees and their training and involvement. This can be seen from the simulation because as I continued implementing different change decisions, I saw that in the first steps of the process, general information and facts about success and the organization’s missions is what transferred employees to the awareness stage. Once employees were at this awareness stage, it was important to get support from some of the top members of the organization that have a lot of work connections. Once these employees were on board with an entire, the rest of the organization slowly followed suit. Once there was a smaller number of employees that had to be transformed from the trial to the adoption phase I found that training and making coalitions helped push these people over the edge.
As a result of the simulation, my thoughts about power changed because I witnessed first hand how much easier it is to change people’s minds about a decision when there is a high level of power. As a CEO, changing people’s minds about the adoption process was much quicker and much less pressure. When credibility is already established because of power through a position, you get to skip the weeks that it takes to build that credibility from the bottom. From a position of lower power, I found that it is much more difficult to reach a larger group of people when educating about a change that needs to be made. The contacts you have in the workplace are much more limited and it is necessary to first make yourself a prescience in the organization’s eyes before any real change can be introduced. Going off of the importance of power in an organization, my thoughts of influence changed in a similar way. After the simulation, I became aware that in order to have a substantial influence on other employees, there must be a certain level of awareness and trust between each employee. From this simulation, I also learned how urgency affects decisions being made to lead to change. If there is a high urgency for results, employees are more likely to listen and adopt real change. With a low urgency for results, employees tend to focus more on their other jobs within the organization and need to be fully convinced of the importance of change. Low urgency situations require more attention on the success of the change and the full plan and implementation process of the change.
When comparing this simulation to the last simulation we did about the zombie apocalypse, there were a lot of similarities and differences. Some of the differences was that for the zombie simulation, I worked on a team and learned more about how to be a leader in a team setting. For the simulation we did more recently, I learned about how to make decisions individually based on how others are feeling. Additionally, the zombie apocalypse simulation taught about taking high risks to gain high rewards while the simulation we did more recently focused more on making the decisions that should happen chronologically, no risks involved. Some of the similarities between the two simulations is that both had lessons about how to be more successful in making decisions on complex environments; an important skill for the future. Both were high pressure situations where a decision had to be made while considering all factors and choosing what would be most beneficial to your plan.
Crisis management is different from urgency because change management focuses on the idea that an organization sometimes needs to adapt to improve its ability to succeed in an increasingly competitive market. This change can be exemplified through a sense of urgency. By implementing urgency into an organization, the employees will focus more on the idea that change is necessary and the process of creating change will be more efficient. In the simulation we just completed, the change management portion referred to how decisions were being made in order to persuade employees to welcome and embrace change. The urgency that was created related to how important it was for the company to actually make a change. In a low urgency setting, employees were more restrictive on accepting a change and focused more on improving the company’s current state. In high urgency situations, employees understood the reason that change was necessary and were more open to accepting new ideas. In the first simulation we did about the Glucose testing device that had a malfunction, the crisis management referred to making decisions in order to improve public image and restore faith in the company. The urgency referred to how important it was to resolve the issues at hand and how quick the decisions to avoid crisis had to be made.