Columbus City Schools

Columbus City Schools is formerly known as Columbus Public Schools. It is the official school district for the city of Columbus, Ohio and is one of the most progressive urban districts in the nation. Columbus City Schools is the second largest school district in Ohio. CCS has approximately 56,000 students enrolled, which equates to most of the city’s families. (2008) The district has been recognized with many honors.

Columbus City Schools employs approximately 4,800 teachers and 330 administrators. (2008) The district offers a very competitive salary and benefit package. In addition to the benefits, CCS enables certified employees to proceed with their education at no cost due to fee waiver programs at the city’s area colleges and universities. (2008)

Columbus City Schools recently implemented the Kronos Workforce Management System which has had a strong affect on the organization. The Kronos, which is a workforce management software better known as a time clock. (2003-2008)Kronos has been implemented within the district to help improve student outcomes through efficient workforce management. The district has a vision that if employees are better managed than they will deliver superior student education. The district’s top management believes many elements contribute to excellent student outcomes. Among these elements are: (1) High performing teachers and staff; (2) Minimal administrative costs; (3) Sufficient funds for classrooms; (4) Efficient district operations. In order for these elements to produce the positive student outcomes, an effective workforce management is what is required. (2003-2008)

The Kronos systems is suppose to provide our district with a comprehensive workforce management solution that enables the saving of labor dollars and maximizing education resources. (2003-2008) The systems should also do the following; (1) increase funds available for education students; (2) pay teachers and staff accurately and on time; (3) manage district operations effectively and efficiently; (4) enhance compliance with labor laws and collective bargaining units; (5) Improve teacher consistency and school support services; (6) maximize use of grant dollars. The downfall of this implemented change is that the Kronos system will not be utilized by all employees of the district but only the hourly employees, which is causes reason for resistance. (2003-2008)

The Kronos system was just recently implemented so up until two years ago, employees weren’t concerned with the tight management of their work hours which is another reason to resist this drastic and prompt change. Employees have demonstrated passive resistance toward this change. Symptoms displayed by employees include procrastinating or dragging their feet on fully implementing the Kronos, feigning ignorance as far as remembering to utilize the time clock, and allowing change to fail by again not using the time clock properly. Columbus City Schools could have prevented the resistance to this change by educating and communicating this change to its employees before drastically springing this change onto them in the mist of the ball rolling. The district could have also welcomed feedback from the employees or at least middle management. The number one prevention would have been to equally implement this change across the whole district to affect every employee and not just a select group.

I would enhance the organization’s ability to overcome resistance to change by implementing a situational approach such as Kotter and Schlesinger ‘s Methods for Managing Resistance to Change. (2006) This approach include six methods for preventing or managing resistance: (1) Education and communication; (2) Participation and involvement; (3) Facilitation and support; (4) Negotiation and agreement; (5) Manipulation and cooptation; (6) Explicit and implicit coercion. (Kotter, J 1996)
I choose this approach because I think the implementation of change should proceed through each of these six methods. I think the employees should be educated on the change and provided with the necessary information regarding the change and its effects. To ensure that the employees aren’t resisting, they should be involved in the change process. For those employees still resistant due to uncertainty, there should be resources provided. For actual and/or potential resistors, there should incentives offered. As last resorts, manipulation and coercion should be used. Offering the selective use of information and roles in the change process should be used before actually threatening with undesirable consequences. (2006)

I would implement each of Kotter’s eight step change model by using the following steps (Kotter, J 1996): (1) Increasing urgency –There would need to be a sense of urgency created around the need for change in hopes that it will spark the initial motivation to get things moving. In order to do this, I will need to create an open an honest and convincing dialogue about what’s happening within the organization, offer dynamic and convincing reasons to get people talking and thinking. Potential threats should be identified and scenarios developed showing what could happen in the future. I would also request support from top management, board members, and the community to strengthen my argument. Kotter’s model suggest that “for change to be successful, 75% of a company’s management needs to buy into the change.”(Kotter, J 1996) In other words, I would really need to work hard on step one by spending significant time and energy building urgency. before moving onto the next steps. I don’t want to act to fast because I could be risk experiencing short-term losses.

(2) Building the guiding team – In order to form a powerful coalition, I would need to convince people that change is necessary. A powerful coalition usually includes strong leadership and visible support from key people within the organization. My coalition would be comprised of influential people whose power comes from a variety of sources, including job title, status, expertise, and political importance. After the team is formed, we will then work as a team, continuing to build urgency and momentum around the need for change. (Kotter, J 1996)

(3) Get the vision right – A clear vision can help everyone understand why you’re asking them to do something. When people see for themselves what you’re trying to achieve, then the directives they’re given tend to make more sense. What I could do to get the vision right, is determine the values that are central to the change. I would also need to create a written vision that captures what I see as the future of the organization. (Rose, 2002) More importantly, a strategy on how to execute the vision would need to be created. (Kotter, J 1996)

(4) Communicate for buy-in – My vision will more than likely have strong competition from other day-to-day communications within the company, so I will need to communicate the vision frequently and powerfully, and embed it within everything that you do. When I keep the vision fresh on everyone’s minds, they’ll remember it and respond to it. A good practice to have is to demonstrate the kind of behavior that I want from others. (Kotter, J 1996)

(5) Remove Obstacles – Removing obstacles will empower the people I need to execute the organization’s vision and help the change move forward. I will also identify change leaders whose main roles are to deliver the change. I will evaluate the organizational structure, job descriptions, and performance and compensation systems to ensure they’re in line with your vision. (Rose, 2002) Recognize and reward people for making change happen. I need to put in place a structure for change, and continually check for barriers to it. Identify people who are resisting the change, and help them see what’s needed. (Kotter, J 1996)

(6) Create short-term wins – I should offer my company early victories because nothing motivates more than success. Within a short time frame (such as a 6 months or a year), I should have results that my staff can see progress. Without this, critics and negative thinkers might hurt my progress. I will need to create short-term targets that are achievable. (Rose, 2002) There will need to be a thorough analysis the potential pros and cons of the short-term targets because if we don’t succeed with an early goal, it could hurt the entire change initiative. Finally, I should reward the people who help meet the short-term targets. (Kotter, J 1996)

(7) Consolidate gains – Kotter states “that many change projects fail because victory is declared too early”. (Kotter, J 1996)Real change runs deep and quick wins are only the beginning of what needs to be done to achieve long-term change. Each success provides an opportunity to build on what went right and identify what you can improve. I will set goals to continue building on the momentum the organization has achieved thus far. I will keep ideas fresh by bringing in new change agents and leaders for my change coalition. (Kotter, J 1996)

(8) Make change stick – To make any change stick, the change should become part of the core of my organization. I will need to make continuous efforts to ensure that the change is seen in every aspect of my organization. This effort will help give the change a solid place in my organization’s culture. It’s also important that my company’s leaders continue to support the change. If I lose the support of these people, I might end up back where I started. The leaders should talk about progress every chance they get by telling success stories about the change process, and repeat other stories that they’ve heard. When hiring and training new staff, I should include the change ideals and values. I should publicly recognize key members of my original change coalition and make sure their contributions are remembered. It is important to create plans to replace key leaders of change as they move on to ensure that their legacy is not lost or forgotten. (Kotter, J 1996)

In conclusion, you have to work hard to change an organization successfully. When you plan carefully and build the proper foundation, implementing change can be much easier, and you’ll improve the chances of success. Based on my knowledge acquired from MBA 770, if you create a sense of urgency, recruit powerful change leaders, build a vision and effectively communicate it, remove obstacles, create quick wins, and build on your momentum, you can help make the change part of your organizational culture.

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