Today the team had a meeting in a more social setting. I felt that it did create a more relaxed environment for working but since it was in a restaurant and it was lunch time it did get a little noisy. That probably would not of been a problem but one team member could not make the meeting and we were trying to communicate with her by phone and it was very difficult to hear her. We wanted to make sure that she had a voice in creating the charter. I felt that every member was giving input but me. I have a tendency to not speak up and I was busy trying to hear what was being said and trying to capture it on the computer. I did manage to ask a few questions to clarify a few things. The team did make sure that I had a say in the decisions. At one point we chose what roles we wanted to perform and I was given the opportunity to choose what ever I wanted. I do enjoy taking notes and I also offered to help Greg with the interviewing since I work close to him. I felt that the team was harmonious and respectful of each other. There are members on our team that have had some bad team experiences in the past. We wanted to make sure that the charter covered all their concerns to alleviate their anxiety. My observation was that everyone was supportive of charter. I felt that having a good charter would help our team move forward.
For years I have heard so much about the Capstone class; the work load, the fun, and the learning, that I was filled with fear, anticipation and excitement on the first day. Upon entering the room my fear subsided when I saw many familiar faces. I knew that I was in the company of friends and that we would get through this adventure together. I was intrigued to see that there were a few new faces in the crowd. This should make the class more interesting because I have an opportunity to expand my friendships. Another thing that will make this adventure challenging is having a somewhat new professor. Dr. Hurst is relatively new to the program so I am still trying to figure her out. I like that she seems to be up front with what she expects and assures the class she will “coach” us as needed.
During the first week of class, Dr. Hurst set up a wiki on BB. I was impressed with my classmates and how quickly they interacted with it. Kat set up a page for the team charter and added some information that might help us in defining the charter. I liked what she had written and I organized it into the 5 categories for the charter. It appears that the team is blending well, like we are thinking the same thing or that the same task need to be accomplished. The team was quick to put their contact information and bio’s on the wiki. I am liking how we are working so well together.
In my professional life I have experienced many changes. Most of these experiences were the type that top management would make the decision and the subordinates would implement the decision. During this course, my eyes were opened to the varied types of change strategies that were available in which organizations could utilize and make the changes softer, easier and more acceptable for implementation by the employees.
One leader in change that we studied was Paul Farmer. He is an excellent example of someone who dedicated their whole life to change in order to make a change in another culture. He believed that everyone was entitled to medical care no matter your race, religion, or financial status. He managed to persuade people to donate money, supplies and time to provide medical care to the people in Haiti. This was almost unheard of at that time but he managed to accomplish it. He showed how to involve people in his dream, open their minds, and get their support. He is an inspiration for people to follow.
I enjoyed the articles in the Organizational Development book. One of my favorite articles was “Teaching smart people to learn by Argyris”. Most people would assume it would be easy to teach smart people, but in real life it is quite difficult. Argyris’ discussion on this topic and suggestion was quite enlightening and helpful for the environment that I am now employed in. John Kotter’s article on “the challenge of Managing a Boss” was also informative and insightful. Some employee’s try hard to get along with the boss but never understand actually how to accomplish this. It also reminded me that “I “am the other half of that relationship.
During our class, we had the opportunity to be a change agent and this proved to be a fantastic real life experience. It allowed me to be in the trenches, reviewing an actual change that affected me, and to understand how this change came about. It helped me to understand the complicated process that the committee when through to make this change happen. It showed me how dedicated the committee was to this change and how hard they worked to make it happen in a very short time frame. The committee continued to show their dedication to this change by committing to long term follow up.
We were asked to develop a change credo and I found this to be a difficult task. I thought for many days trying to decide what I felt about change. The main idea that I kept coming back to was “change is necessary”. Finally I decided that, that must be it, but I needed to explain myself. The world is not stagnate, but rather it is ever changing. Therefore, since everything around you is changing, you must evaluate it and decide if these changes are acceptable to you, if they are acceptable,then you change how you view or do things.
In learning about the three change strategies I found a common feature which is the whole system intervention. This is the part of change that I was not familiar with. Working within the Veteran Administration, the top down theory was always used. The subordinates never had any input into the changes that were being discussed. This is why I found the whole system very attractive because it included people from all levels of the organization. Experience had taught me to understand how the employees working in the trenches could have very good ideas to submit to the change committee. They could see where the problems were because they worked with the problems on a daily basis. It was also good to have the management in the room to help others understand if these suggestions were feasible. Together the group could have many good ideas for change.
One of the three change strategies we studied is Appreciative Inquiry (AI). This strategy gathers the organization into a room and then separates the group into two smaller units in order to interview each other with positive questions. Upon completion of the interview, the participants would regroup and a facilitator would help them find common themes. To better understand this change strategy, we were given the opportunity to implement AI with the Library of Virginia. In order to help this group bring together their common themes we utilized the mind map where the participants filled it in with topics. Once they had common themes, they used small colorful dots to make commitments to the topics of their choice. Now they can see where the group’s interest lie. I think the Library of Virginia was interested to see this information as they wanted to keep the mind map. This experience was rewarding and helped me to incorporate how to successfully carry out an AI. If the School of Dentistry were to encounter another big change strategy, this would be an option that I would recommend.
Open Space technology(OST) is a change strategy which is used when the answer to a problem is unknown. In addition it includes working with a diverse group of people who are dealing with a complex and potentially conflicting material. OST starts by using an invitation with a theme, background information, logistics, and the promises. When the participants show up, they decide what the agenda is and how to proceed. Having taught this change strategy, it was interesting to see how the participants took control of the meeting and made it flow in the direction of their interest. This way they covered the topic of their interest and made a large amount of progress. I could see where this change strategy could be useful in a strategic planning meeting and how I could suggest it for the dental hygiene department.
The last change strategy was future search. The exercise of “prouds and sorries” allows the group to list things that they are proud and sorry for. When the group discussed these lists, they begin to discover common ground. This allows the participants to begin to get to know one another better. This can promote the development of enhanced and trusting relationships which can lead to more prosperous working relationships. Another desirable feature of future search is the “not agreed list”. When participants are trying to decide on topics for discussion and they cannot agree to discuss or exclude it, they can put it in the not agreed list and save it for another day. This makes both sides happy because the topic is still available for discussion but in the future. I like the flexibility of the future search and the ability to get to know the other participants in the group which I feel will make for a better working relationship. I would like to use the change strategy future search in a dental hygiene faculty meeting to see if there is another side of my colleague’s personality that I can learn about and build a stronger bond with them.
This semester has opened my eyes to many options of change strategies. I have gained knowledge and experience from the different hands on opportunity this class has offered. Although I would not consider myself an expert on any one of these strategies, I am at least exposed to them and aware enough to know what to look for if I were in need of a change strategy.
Gallos, J.V., (2006). Organization Development, San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass
One thing I found that the three change strategies had in common was getting the whole organization in the room. This is a new idea to me because I never had the opportunity to participate in this type of change strategy. I was always victim of the “from the top” type of strategy, which I feel can be common in large organizations like the Veteran Administration. I think if you can get the whole organization in the same room that in and of itself is a great accomplishment. This also says that the organization is serious about wanting to make change and being successful.
When each area of the organization is represented, their views and opinions can be heard by all. Those participants that work in the trenches and experience the problems on a daily basis probably have logical suggestions for solutions to problems that the top management may not of considered. By having all of the participants interacting, they can come up with the best solution for everyone involved. When everyone is involved in this process they are more likely to accept the change. It would be my desire to see a large institution, like the Veterans Administration attempt a change strategy involving whole systems. It might be amazing to see what miracles could occur.
This semester has opened my eyes to many change strategies. It is hard to say which one I like the best but there is something very comforting about the Future Search. I believe it is the finding common ground. The exercise of “prouds” and “sorries” allowed the group to not only find common ground but to learn more about the people that they are working with. The group I was in have worked with for several years still found out many new and interesting things about each other. I feel that this made me more comfortable with the group and in time would create a sense of trust. Once you have the bond of trust, I feel that the group can progress at a faster pace and accomplish great things.
Another feature that I like about future search is the not agreed list. Many organizational meetings can get hung up on an item that not everyone in the room is in agreement on. This can take hours or even the entire meeting. With future search this item will be placed on the not agreed list and the meeting can continue. This way the meeting will continue to make progress.
Unfortunately, I am not in a role to utilize change strategies, but if I was I could see using it in dental hygiene faculty meetings, where all faculty, full time and part time were invited. It would be interesting to hear the part time faculty’s views and see if they have any thoughts that the full time faculty may have not thought of. An example of this might be how to calibrate all the faculty? or how to make sure that all faculty are on the same page with use of different products?
Upon completion of reading Open Space Technology (OST), I was nervous. This change strategy appeared with very few boundaries and guidelines. I am a person that is used to working within many guidelines and that is what makes me comfortable. This new change strategy was very much against my way of doing things, but it seems that this was comfortable for many people.
So, with the help of classmates, we set forth and tried OST. It was surprising how easy it was. We chose the topic, “The Cloud”, which seemed to be of interest to many in the group. Like myself, many of the group was not sure what was included in “the Cloud”. As OST indicated, the groups literally took over the session and it went the way the group wanted it to go. Although the group ask for permission to proceed in that direction, it was not necessary to ask. I believe that the group solved their curiosity about the cloud and as the saying goes. . whatever happens is the only thing that could have. It was interesting to see OST play out as it was intended and to see it succeed. I can only imagine how a complete session would appear.
My change credo is “change is necessary”.
In the world you live in there are many changes happening all around you. Some of them are in your personal life, others are in your professional life. It is up to you to investigate this change and decide whether you are going to accept or deny these changes and in time you will realize that “change is necessary” to survive in the world.
In the year of 2012, you will find that our world is not stagnate. There is an abundance of change happening all around you. Keeping this in mind, you must be open minded and understand that with new discoveries comes change and in order for you to be a part of this changing world, change is necessary for you.
In today’s world change is all around us and for some individuals that can be very frightening. These people are most comfortable in their stable, secure, environment. They need to see that not all change is bad. In their personal lives it may be a health issue or family issue. Sometimes in these circumstances individuals get a choice to change and other times they don’t. This will create stress and sometimes pain but with help from others they will survive the change.
The organizational world is constantly experiencing change from internal to external. They must decide what type of change and how much change they are willing to invest in. They have a group of people that are specialist that guide them on the strategies to implement the change. Once the organization has made the decision to make a change, they must then get the employees on board with the change. The best way to implement this is to have the employee’s input from the beginning. The employees must believe in their organization and have a dream or vision of what they would like to see the organization become. Hopefully, this change is in line with the employees dream or vision. If the employees are not supporting the change then it may fail and in the end the business may fail. Once again, change is necessary for success.
The organization must keep up with its competitors in order to survive, which means change is necessary and this change may include a change in technology. The change may require the employee to learn a new way of doing their job. The decision the employee makes concerning whether they want to participate in this change can have an effect on their long term employment in this organization. The organization may use this decision in the future to decide if the employee should get an advancement, demotion, or termination. Therefore, employees should consider all aspects of change before making their final decision.
As you can see, change surrounds people in their personal and professional lives. They must evaluate these changes and decide if the change is appropriate for them, keeping in mind the long term effect of their decision. Only the individual can make the decision and it is the individual that pays the price for their decision.
For those of you who do not know me, I worked at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Richmond Va for 31 years as a dental hygienist. For most of those years I loved my employment and especially loved the patients which came in all types. They were mentally, medically, and physically challenged but I loved them just the same. The VA is a typical governmental institution and is run as such, need I say more.
I have enjoyed the reading on Appreciative Inquiry. It has opened my eyes to a new way of introducing change to an organization. I was intrigued by the 4D cycle and the 8 principles of AI and how this new way of organizational change shifted from deficit-Based change to an positive change. You better believe that the VA did not use the positive change method and employees did not have any say in what was happening. I was so excited by Appreciative Inquiry I wanted to go back to the VA and ask my old boss if there was any change coming down the pike, and if he was interested in trying a new method to introducing this change. I spoke with him and as expected he was not on board with my enthusiasm or my change idea. This is so typical for the VA. They introduce a new change or should I say they force a new change down your throat and everyone smiles like they are trying to understand why they are learning it because it doesn’t make sense. Months down the road, everyone soon begins to forget the new standard or change because there is nothing in place to make you practice the new change and people tend to go back to the old way. I wonder how many years it will take the VA before they will realize their way does not work? Possibly never because after 31 years they haven’t changed.
Our meeting started out as expected. Everyone was excited about having pizza(their favorites were provided). We held the meeting in the place of business so we had windows open to nature, the walls were covered with brightly colored posters, the overhead lights were turned on so we could all see and we chose not to use a table but to sit in a circle. We felt that the stage was set for a perfect meeting. Kristin prepared an agenda in the shape of an album to keep us on the business theme. We felt that the clients would appreciate an agenda so they could follow the course of the meeting. We also gave them a copy of our recommendations. Our meeting was ready to proceed but remember, you never know what to expect at a feedback meeting. We gave our clients support for all the many things that they had been well and then began to discuss the first recommendation which was the web site. After presenting research on how this venue would benefit their business the primary client spoke up. He informed us that the person that originally designed his web site had stopped by the store last week and informed him that he was working on a new web site for him and it should be ready in the near future. This news was great for the business but really surprised us. The primary client had not mentioned this information to us or we would not of put so much time into research trying to convince him that this was a good venue for him. Obviously, he agreed with us. This kinda made me sad that we did not have a great idea to offer him that he had not already decided on, but it was great that he had already decided on this venue.
Our biggest contribution to our client was the unveiling of the communication problem. The client was aware that he was not a great communicator but I do not think that he was aware of the need for increased communication between all the staff. They all seemed interested in starting regular meetings but needed to agree on how often. We suggested quarterly but they seemed to want them a little more often, which we were pleased with. You never know where all this communication might lead this business too.
Once you have had your feedback meeting ask yourself-did your meeting go as you planned? Did the client accept any of your recommendations? one of them? Do you feel like you accomplished anything?
It was an honor and pleasure to have Robin present to our class. I did not know what to expect, young/older, tall/short, what color of hair, or loud and aggressive/ quiet and meek. I know that these characteristics have nothing to do with her qualifications as a professor but I like to have an idea of who to expect. So to sum it up I was impressed with Robin. She was an easy person to communicate with and interesting to listen to.
The article that we read, The Dynamics of Organizational Culture, was quite technical and heavy reading. I found areas of it to be repetitious and a little confusing. It was easier to understand and apply Schein’s Model of organizational culture (1985) which stated artifacts-values-assumptions. Ms. Hatch’s Cultural Dynamics Model of values-artifacts-symbols-assumptions was more difficult to apply to situations. Robin was fantastic at helping the class to better understand what Mary Jo Hatch was trying to say and gave us examples of how to apply her model. It was interesting to listen to her talk about her research and how she is trying to make it work with Ms. Hatch’s model. Robin had us break into three groups for a class exercise. She broke the paper into three sections and then gave us and assignment. . My assignment was on the end of the paper which was dealing with the Figure 3 on page 683. Karen and I decided where you(the researcher) would be on the circle given certain circumstances. I found this exercise helpful in understanding Ms. Hatches work. Also, by listening to my classmates summarize their areas in the paper, this helped to clarify those areas of the paper. Overall, I thought the evening was a success and would enjoy having her lecture to us again.