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Managing and leading change in a family oriented business involves succeeding on a relationship level. In order to redefine organisational structure and various goals, leading to business advancement, working with business family members calls for making sense of emotional situations and an ability to communicate ideas. A requirement for leading discontinuous change is to understand the importance of behaviour-based communication (Carol Kinsey Goman, 2000).

Moreover, a key skill needed by those promoting change and the extent to which it helps others adopt to change is communicating vision and direction to others (Sally Woodward & Chris Hendry, June 2004). In Sheryl’s case the board is ambivalent to her new vision of the company, demonstrating a lack of political skills on her part and failing to create alliances in managing the board.

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Instead of respecting the company’s values and opinions she insists that things be done her way and does not make an effort to understand the feelings of other board members or the reaction of the Union. Sheryl’s approach to transformation was viewed as an event rather than a mental and emotional process (Carol Kinsey Goman, 2000). Moreover, successful large scale change involves momentum (Kotter, Ch. 1), which in Sheryl’s case is missing, in an effort to try to do too much at once.

Thus, successful interaction of leading change that will result in the production of well coordinated performances involves acting with the environment rather than acting on the environment (Sally Woodward & Chris Hendry, June 2004). Through implementing organisational changes at a fast pace particularly in a small company creates a resistance to change since people want to protect their identity. Changes threaten an individual’s sense of stability and can present anxieties while reducing the sense of autonomy (Nadler, D. 1993).

Resisting change may function as a survival mechanism where change is perceived as a threat creating a type of organisational autopoiesis, exhibiting a strong resistance when something valuable is under threat (Goldstein, J. 1988). An important part of a CEO’s competence for managing change is to explore room to manoeuvre ways to expand a sense of identity. By carrying out a benchmarking process through providing examples of similar companies that have succeeded, would facilitate positive accommodations and adaptations to change.

Reducing people’s reaction could be enhanced by explaining and displaying convincing reasons that change would involve incorporating the company’s history while reinventing its identity with new elements. Novotel – Over viewing the ‘Back to the Future’ Change Project In Novotel’s case of renewal, a need for change was identified early, as top management paid attention to signals such as a decrease in occupancy despite profits and customer dissatisfaction as part of a general lack of flexibility such as rigid room rates.

The process of change was rapid and involved an array of re-engineering strategies and restructuring organizational traits and tactics. The context surrounding intervention was based on three parameters of clients, management and people, all three reflecting business benefit and development. To this extent, emphasis was placed on enhancing human resources capabilities (‘Progres Novotel’) by training and reinforcing workers directed towards responding and adapting to different tasks while establishing changing routines.

Structure improvement efforts involved a flattening of the current work system by promoting greater autonomy both for front line workers and managers. By removing layers of management employers were empowered to make decisions while in the procedure communication channels in the hotels were facilitated. Furthermore, a set of communication and improvement practices were introduced involving informal and formal meetings, called the Reflective Clubs and Progress groups respectively.

The Reflective Clubs offered in an informal fashion the chance for workers and managers to set issues of improvement regarding services and clients while the Progress groups were on average monthly formal management meetings to efficiently discuss progress and productivity on the ‘Return to the Future’ Change Project. These meetings contributed to the refinement of the project and designed an emerging organisational change. Thus, rather than seeing change to be top-down driven, this approach tends to see change driven from the bottom up (Banford and Forrester, 2003; Burnes, 1996, 2004).

Overall, organisational change at Novotel could be viewed in terms of three processes-unfreezing, moving, and refreezing (Lewin, 1951). During the unfreezing stage ‘open-space’ meetings between managers indicated a need for change by requesting more autonomy and initiative for employees. At the next change stage moving new people who were committed to change were appointed while the work system underwent a simplification with abandoning the 95′ Boulons quality control system and establishing more flexible one’s.

The refreezing stage change became institutionalised by an establishment of new norms of behaviour throughout the organisation, such as cooperation, a union of purpose among staff, displaying a rigour spirit while combined with a sense of fun. To a further extent, organisational transformation occurred by preserving a sense of Novotel’s past identity and renewing it by adding new elements and enhancing its present structure. For example, the founders of Novotel were two as the appointment of the two new co- CEO’s, representing the company’s past and future.

At the same time while denoting a global identity and structure, local Novotel’s were influenced and incorporated different elements relating to the situated area, such at the Quebec Hotel where receptionists were dressed in Canadian attire. Preserving successful change implementation involved maintaining momentum. This was attained through regular meetings of the progress groups and the clubs, during which valuable feedback was drawn, new flow of concepts were introduced and team work of all levels was strengthened.

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