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Assignment #5 MGT5016 Managing Change

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007

I finally got back my graded Assignment #4 and I am very pleased with my grade. Dr. S. made some comments on the paper that were encouraging. I have been outlining Assignment #5, and so far it is not much more than a skeleton! I am writing about my company and the change processes that we are working through. One topic that I will explore is the plateau or stagnation during a change initiative. I have been through several “transformations” and there always seems to be a leveling out – lots of progress at the beginning and then we hit a wall. That is where we are at work. Almost everyone got on the bus to go, then the bus broke down! How do we avoid a breakdown?

Tonight Husband and I put together three metal shelves that I bought at Target and put them in the utility room. I have a lot of canning equipment and mason jars and we are using one shelf for these. On another, I will put Christmas decorations. In this house we don’t have a usable attic because of the vaulted ceilings. In the other house we had an attic with a floor.  It feels *Good* to take a step toward getting organized!

Tomorrow evening is reserved for grading papers.

MGT5016 – Assignment 4

Sunday, October 14th, 2007

I finally finished assignment 4 in MGT5016, Managing Change, and submitted it this morning. It has been tough now that I am back to grading papers and teaching. There is one paper more left to write. This has been a particularly stressful class because the assignments require that I write as if I were a CEO implementing change in my organization.  I chose to be Bob Nardelli, new CEO of Chrysler, LLP. Through the course of the four assignments, Bob has had to deal with a number of challenges as outlined in Peter Senge’s The Dance of Change: The Challenges of Sustaining Momentum in Learning Organizations. Poor Bob!

I had already picked the “new” Chrysler as my company when I heard that Bob would be CEO. The company has also trudged through issues with the UAW, including negotiations and now agreement. Wow, could that have been more Twilight Zone? In one way, I was lucky to have picked a company that that has had a lot of change, but then most of the recent changes are appearing in periodicals, not peer-reviewed sources. It generally takes several months for authors to submit analytical papers to journals for publication. My peer-reviewed sources are “pre-LLC” so in some cases I had to hypothesize how Chrysler would manage some of the issues now. “Now” meaning as a privately-held firm managed by Cerberus and under the leadership of Bob Nardelli, ex-CEO of Home Depot.

I am working on the last assignment:
Final Paper: There is a final paper for the course.The paper should be written on some aspect of change the Learner would like to know more about or the paper could be on the selection of another company the Learner leads through a change process. onsider yourself the CEO if you are writing about another company.The normal length of this paper is 15 pages, excluding references, title page and table of contents.

  • Know how governance of change and diffusion of change are accomplished.
  • Be able to define the strategy and purpose of change for an organization.
  • Learn about the challenge of change and how to generate change.
  • Become aware of the importance of envisioning change.
  • Identification of change barriers such as lack of time, fear of change, etc.
  • Recognize ways to implement change.
  • Know how to assess and measure change.
  • Identify the recipients of change.
  • Understand the roles of change agents.
  • I am focusing on my own organization, MeadWestvaco. We have experienced a lot of changes, some of which have been effective and others have been mere window-dressing. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it is a duck, even if you call it a horse. It seems as though corporations have a peer group that they must keep up with….and “transformation” is the new mantra. If you don’t have a change initiative going on somewhere, you just aren’t in the “in” group. I want to explore what is truly change and what is not. I have some ideas and I sent a note to my Mentor, Dr. Arthur Smith, today for clarification. I am itching to get started on the writing part (and get it over with).

    For the rest of the afternoon, I am planning to work on the basement getting it ready for company at Thanksgiving and putting together another file cabinet for my office. And of course, preparing the lesson plans for Monday’s class. That class is in week four of five.

    Keeping My Head Out of Water

    Sunday, October 7th, 2007

    Sometimes I feel overwhelmed. I have a full time job, plus I have begun teaching at a local college in the evenings, just as I did in Georgia before the move. I am also a student, and the demands of researching and writing papers can get me down. I get tired but I know that I can’t quit. I have spent my whole life working to this point and quitting is just not an option. But I get tired of working ALL OF THE TIME.

    Other people I know go on vacations. My vacation days are used up either seeing about family things, writing papers or grading papers. When others watch TV, I am working. It is very hard to be “all business” and “no play.” On top of all of this, I often feel as though I can’t get anything done. That is a funny thing, because I get lots of things done but for some reason I don’t feel like it.

    I dream about writing papers. I dream about grading assignments. I dream about preparing class outlines. My mind never stops or rests. The right thing to say is that all this is worth it….that I am doing the right thing. It has been very difficult keeping my head out of the water this week. And to top it all off, I don’t know how to swim.

    Catch Up

    Saturday, September 29th, 2007

    This is a catch up post because I have neglected thinkPhD! I finished up the last course with an “A” and have completed three assignments out of five for MGT5016, Managing Change, with Dr. Arthur “Lee” Smith. This is my fourth class at Northcentral which leaves about 13 more. Today I am working on Assignment 4 and frankly, delaying the inevitable….writing!

    Work has been going fairly well but some things that have made the adjustment difficult. Employees in the corporate office tend to be just that – employees. A number of them have little or no engagement in the business. After coming from a mill setting where everyone had personal buy-in, this has been difficult for me. There are a bunch of little fiefdoms all around the office with conflicting goals for each group. For example, one group wants me to do something (that will increase numbers on my side) that will decrease numbers on theirs. They don’t even want to entertain thinking about what would be best for the company as a whole. They are so afraid of not meeting imposed metrics. Indeed, there have been a number of firings and leavings ….enough to make anyone worried. It is sad that there is so much division and competition among the groups.

    Mom and Dad have decided not to move to our City, but to remain in Alabama. Daughter is adjusting to her teaching work schedule and Son is adjusting to his Senior Year at the University. Daughter’s Boyfriend has gotten a job new near their new home in NC and is enjoying the work. Step-Daughter has a new job as a Police Dispatcher and she is doing great. I am very proud of all of them.  

    This month we started on a path to remove debt from our lives. Dave Ramsey’s website is a great resource and I highly recommend it. My Sister-in-Law recommended that I check out the resources there, and we used September to create a budget. October we will start cash-basis only with no credit.

    This week, I started teaching a GEN300 with the University of Phoenix here. I have been working for them in our previous town for several years. It has taken a few months to get in on the rotation. With all of my other responsibilities (work, Northcentral PhD, home, etc.) I am going to go slow and only teach one or two classes at a time.

    I suppose I need to get started on the next paper….