1) What were your major DO’s and DON’Ts?DO:· Make the CEO aware about who we are and what we aim to do (i.e., talk to people in the firm to build awareness) at the start and seek their permission on interacting with the Directors/Managers in the firm· Strategize and lay out tactics by extracting and using useful information· Have a contingency plan in place that is elastic to change as more information becomes available· Identify the resistors initially to spend less time and effort in their persuasion· Meet middle management before initiating meetings with directors· Spend more time collecting data on the stakeholders· Categorize all the stakeholders in their respective categories: Maven, Broker, Pragmatic, Resistors· Aim for the Managerial level for faster results (1 tier down from Directors) and to build influence when Directors are not being influenced or sold· Touch points with CEO (Anna) to show a humble approach but also keep in mind she does not have the authority to implement change without support/buy-in from top management (her direct reports), so balance out who you are doing touchpoints with· Invest time in mass communication to create awareness to the Managerial level in earlier stages· Select stakeholders that prefer the constant meetings as a follow- up· Face to face meetings to increase interest from the stakeholders (we noticed this pattern)- useful in building relations· Meet the network, coffee groups and task groups at first to understand all the social context that influence the stakeholders before any decisions are made· Gather information initially on networks, who influences one another and has a strong relationship· Schedule a more personalized face to face meeting to engage at a more personal level (more effective) after noticing disengagement with an individual using “general” and large audience structural tactics like – workshops etc.,· Make bigger decisions earlier on to buy time to recover from a bad decision· Approach mavens (ex. Frank) first in a face to face meeting to get early adopters on board· Reward and celebrate smaller wins to gain confidence and unity amongst the teamDON’T’:· Initiate preparatory meetings without meeting the key people individually beforehand· Initiate pilots too soon before having more people “buy-in”· Overuse a certain channel; just because it worked with one person does not mean it would work for the next person; need to tweak style depending on the person· Lobby too early without having the support of majority of the directors, it drastically decreased the interest· Adopt an “easy” method – ex directives/mandates are not openly welcomed and if introduced too early it can be too aggressive for the organization culture· Over-bombard top management with tactical check-in points (although imperative) as they lead busy schedules· Place too much emphasis on work-related drivers and motivators and not tap into the social capital of the networks (ex importance of social coffee groups influencers)2) What would you do differently next time?Spend more time to craft a strategy and tactics early on by gathering all the crucial information given to us about the history and dynamics of the company.
The strategy is directly correlated to the resources and constraints of this simulation. What we did not take into consideration was to plan out the timeline of how much time each resource would cost us and what the repercussions of a wrong decision would be.The team needs to spend more time getting to know the personalities we are dealing with by having a closer look at the personal profiles that were given to us and keeping track of them as we make decisions. This would have helped us understand what tailored tactics we could use to persuade them of the change that was coming to the company. Moreover, additional time needs to be invested earlier on to understand the social culture of the organization as well as taking a deeper dive into what motivates and drives each member on the team.The cliques also give us some useful information about the social context of the organization. Through the networks and cliques, we could easily identify the rainmaker brokers of the group that would proactively foster the change and ultimately save us time in the long run.
The tactics used to deploy our strategy need to be properly timed. The organization which is used to functioning a certain way will not welcome change but rather resist it. Hence, it is important to spend more time on spreading the awareness of the innovation and how it will add value. Initial communication through magazine spread, face to face, emails and memorandum can gain traction if it is given adequate time and timed appropriately (should avoid being too aggressive prematurely).
Lastly, a key insight is that an organization chart will not explain the full picture of how decisions are made. Although Anna (CEO) had to be involved in the decision-making, it is also important to know which key stakeholders to have buy-ins from prior to approaching the hierarchal leader. We would take a different approach to target the key stakeholders through a cross-functional perspective and not focusing on specific departments (ex only Finance and HR).3) Given what you know now, how does execution really work in organizations? Provide 5 keys insights. Link to course content?One of the key takeaways was how our team needs to have an effective strategy in place prior to the execution of certain key decisions. To make effective decisions we first should do ample research to understand the personalities of the people as well as the dynamics of the group (as to who key individualsassociate with and who they are influenced by). We learned in the article, “Are You Sure You have a Strategy” (Hambrick & Fredrickson,2001), that there are several indicators that will evaluate if you have the right strategy in place.
In the initial trial our team went in without a concrete strategy to understand the environment and the pace of decision-making needed for this particular simulation. That resulted in very lucky coincidences that allowed us to increase our adopters without any meaningful strategic tactics that we could evaluate. In our second trial, we focused on very particular key insights, including laying out a strategy that asks some crucial questions: “does our strategy fit in with what’s going on in the environment, can we exploit key resources, and lastly is our strategy implementable given the time and resource constraints?” (Hambrick & Fredrickson, 2001)A key observation was once we implemented a more thought-out strategy, the decision-making was more meritable. We could foresee some of the consequences of the buy-ins we were getting from the top management. By asking all the right questions in the planning and strategizing stage our team was able to accelerate the decision-making pace and effectiveness.A second key takeaway was about changing the company culture approach. In our learnings from Session 4, we learnt that some tactics to change company culture are not through mandate but rather through a movement (Walker & Soule, 2017).
The company culture under Anna (CEO) is designed and trained to work at the present conditions and vision of the company. As an external team that wants to get in there and change the behaviour of the employees towards an innovation, we first need to help the employees identify the need for such change. We must work with the personnel already employed under Anna and harness the existing networks in top management to be that leader in this change.In our initial trial, we were picking managers at random according to their interest or the connections they had with Anna. As the simulation went on, we realized we had to find an effective change agent that will lobby for the innovation and has that support amongst their peers. A perfect example was Frank, a top management leader that was fully engaged to change, and with a little bit of convincing he was on board but we could not rely on him to be that agent of change because of his credibility in the company. In Frank’s case we had to target a “co-chair,” in his team it was Quentin, that had seemingly more integrity and credibility amongst the network to effectively lobby and lend support to this new change (Battilana & Casciaro, 2013).Our third crucial takeaway was that in order to convince the top leader and the company of this change, we had to deploy the correct art of persuasion.
Our reading, Harnessing the Science of Persuasion (Cialdini, 2001), points to several characteristics of the main framework of persuasion. Given the network information we had about their coffee groups, gym memberships and work teams, we were able to categorize some of the top management according to their liking, reciprocity, social proof, and authority (Cialdini, 2001) and target the key individuals and tailor our approach accordingly. These principles of persuasion gave us the tools to extract the useful information out of the excessive information available to us about the networks. As a result, we were able to use the right tactics at the right times to get a buy-in from a larger number of adopters at a time.Fourthly, as part of the strategy to re-do the simulation, we re-assessed the types of agents the top management was a part of. In our learnings from Session 6 in class, our Professor Tina Dacin talked about the graph of how adopters go through a cycle of change before they are fully on board to be a promoter of that change (Stages: Maven, Broker, Pragmatic and Resistors).
The simulation introduced us to many such agents but at times it was difficult to categorize as to where they fit into that change cycle. When we were assessing the information we received from personal profiles, networks and other announcements, we quickly realized some of the top management personnel could fit into two categories given theirpersonality traits and their likeability amongst the team. An example of this is Donald, given his personality was a Maven, who would quickly adopt the new change and a Broker, who also could convince peers to try the new change.
Thus, it is important to understand that in the process of identifying key change makers, an agent can be categorized under multiple categories within the change cycle.Lastly, we realized that the 80/20 economic principle (Gladwell, 2000) is a great tool in understanding where to invest our time and resources that will provide us with optimal buy-ins. By focusing on the right people and spending more time influencing the right people, change can be implemented a lot faster and more effectively than attempting to get buy-in from all employees. The goal is to focus on 20% of employees that are central in their network, who bridge disconnected groups and are close to mavens and therefore have the ability to be accountable for 80% of the employee buy-ins (Casciaro, Tiziana Casciaro and Miguel Sousa Lobo, & Jones, 2014). The key is to not focus on employees like resistors, as their chance of being influenced by the 20% of employees is unlikely anyway.
An example of the 20% of employees were Ivan, Quentin, Donald, Sylvia and George These employees would also be the Mavens and Brokers in the change cycle who had strong relationships and were influential to others. By running through the exercise, we noticed that it was these employees that made a significant impact to the others’ buy-ins and hence, we decided to spend most of our time on them.