Just in the last year two years alone, the American Red Cross has assisted the tornado victims of Joplin Missouri, which claimed more than 150 lives in 2011; helped hose afflicted by numerous wildfires burning in various parts of the West; supplied aid to victims of floods in Florida, due to Tropical Storm Debby; provided much needed help to those living near the Northeast coast who suffered from extensive power outages and damage from Hurricane Sandy, and many, many more vital services that go largely unmentioned throughout the country (Red Cross, 2012).
The American Red Cross, clearly, will never run out of work; which requires a leader that is creative, resourceful, dynamic, fluid, and up for complex challenges in an ever changing landscape. Organizational Development Needs The first step in approaching a national giant such as the American Red Cross is to obtain a meeting with current president and CEO, Gail McGovern, for a meaningful dialogue and assessment of her vision for the future of American Red Cross the brand, and American Red Cross the organization (I. . Employees, volunteers, contributors). Clear expectations and limitation on what the organization development consultant’s role will be during the process, as well as future follow-up assessments, must be defined. A well established theory of organizational development, tailored to the American Red Cross, must be adhered to. In this case, I commend the socio-technical systems theory first developed by Eric Tries.
This theory incorporates the idea that organizations are comprised of, and interdependent of, two systems: social and technical; realizing that changes in one cause changes in the other. This approach is best utilized by organizations that directly rely on their material means for their output, and at the core of their existence lays an almost indecipherable difference between their human and non- human systems (Van De Even ; Joyce, 1981).
Together, the consultant and the CEO will determine how these two components (social and technical) interact within ND around the American Red Cross organization, and assess feedback and synergy between the systems for optimal effectiveness. Secondly, a data gathering method must be decided upon to obtain the most relevant and accurate information for basing an organizational strategy upon. There are several methods available, each with inherent positive and negative considerations.
However, the CEO must establish what types of information the consultant may and may not have access to; this will limit the choices of methods available. For a national organization that is also a part of a global organization, such s the American Red Cross, a survey/questionnaire is recommended, which focuses on the current climate of the cultural perceptions of the organization by the employees and volunteers. This method allows a consultant to quickly yield data, anonymity, and easily repeat the process for follow-up purposes for the next two years and beyond.
Other data gathering methods such as observation and focus groups are also recommended but with full disclosure and acknowledgement that they are both time-consuming and limited for a national organization; consideration should be given to reserve these methods for upper-level management as needed Anderson, 2012, up. 119-1 50). Once the information desired is agreed upon with Gail McGovern, then the method and design of the data gathering tool can be implemented. Next, gathering and interpreting the data correctly to ensure maximum benefit for the proposed intervention(s) is critical.
I suggest using a detailed system of deductive analysis that makes coding data easier, helps with data interpretation, and communicating it to the client. It would also be useful to also incorporate inductive analysis as well to pull out key themes that may be evident (Anderson, 2012, up. 19-150). Once, this is done, a feedback meeting, with Gail McGovern, should be set up to discuss the results derived from the data, proposed intervention(s), and strategic planning.
Keep in mind, however, the data should be reviewed at least one more time prior to the meeting to ensure that it accurate, and has not violated any established ethical considerations. This attention to detail cannot be emphasized enough as the interpretation of the data unveils the strengths and weaknesses of the organization. This, in turn, will directly affect the stability and future direction of the organization as it strives to grow and thrive in a vastly competitive environment over arguably shrinking economic resources.
Organizational Development Recommendations Based on the results and interpretation of the data, intervention(s) may be suggested that are in line with Gail McGovern vision for American Red Cross; a vision for stability and increased revenue and partnerships (Red Cross, 2012). Therefore, I would turn your attention to the Cotter’s Model (Cotter International, 2012) as a step-by-step guide for a national organization, with a global reach, that embraces change and is ready to whole-heartedly commit to such a program that is proven to yield incredible performance benefits when followed long-term (see both Chart 1 and Chart 2-peg. 2). Implementing step one is vital, developing a sense of urgency (Cotter International, 2012). The CEO must develop a sense of urgency, regarding her vision for the future of the American Red Cross, amongst the employees, volunteers, and contributors. This is accomplished by first determining the current climate of the organization through the data gathering methods mentioned previously, which establishes a base-line from which to monitor progress, and then devising organization strategies (media, social-media, print-media, etc… ) to disseminate the vision quickly and develop the sense of urgency necessary.
The second step of Cotter’s Model involves putting together the right coalition of people to lead a change initiative which is critical to the success of McGovern vision for the future (Cotter International, 2012). The American Red Cross currently has a stellar mix of dedicated people at the highest levels. However, objective observation current synergy, or lack thereof, and add team building workshops as needed to address and facilitate trust, relationship building, communication and collaboration across various branches of the organization.
In a rapidly changing world, complex organizations, such as the American Red Cross, are forced to make decisions more quickly and with less certainty than they would like. Effective leaders must make productive decisions under these circumstances; therefore, it is paramount that all of the teams develop a level of trust in one another. The third step involves establishing a clear vision which serves three important purposes (Cotter International, 2012).
A clear vision simplifies the complex, motivates people, and helps implement the actions efficiently. McGovern must be unmistakably clear in stating her vision for the American Red Cross, the path in which the organization must follow to be successful in accomplishing the vision, the expectations of each leader who reports directly to her, the benchmarks for measurement of progress, and a method for objective follow-up. The fourth step is gaining an understanding and commitment to a new direction (Cotter International, 2012).
This step is imperative to core of the vision. In order to establish an understanding and commitment to the new vision for the American Red Cross from the current leaders, McGovern must commit herself to communication in all ways, and at every level of the organization possible. Multiple channels of communication must be used to enforce the message of the vision, and up-dates on the progress, frequently to keep everyone aware of the goal, and their importance to the overall success of the organization.
This can be accomplished in various ways, such as: daily motivational huddles (1 5 minutes or less to focus on the days objectives), monthly meetings to maintain continuity, quarterly newsletter to monitor regress, yearly meetings with upper-management to communicate goals and celebrate achievements. The fifth step involves empowering broad-based action (Cotter International, 2012). Having a clear and realistic understanding that creating a new vision, and establishing new cultural norms, is not without its obstacles is essential to McGovern as she attempts to realign the American Red Cross with her vision.
Implementing proven management problem-solving methods, as well as on-going training is crucial. Furthermore, all action plans must be analyzed in order to ensure that management as all of the necessary tools and up-to-date information for successful implementation of the change vision. Lastly, utilizing electronic surveys help to speed up feedback and provide information for people to do their Jobs more efficiently. The sixth step for a CEO in the middle of a long-term change effort, are essential short-term wins (Cotter International, 2012). Research shows that companies that experience significant short-term wins by fourteen and twenty-six months after the change initiative begins are much more likely to complete the transformation” (Cotter International, 2012, Step 6, Para. 1). There are many benefits to turning benchmarks used to measure progress into short-term wins-?the key is to make sure that the wins are visible and related to the vision. If the short-term wins are both visible and relatable, they have the power to increase optimism, morale, productivity, and further embed a sense of urgency.
They also serve to undermine critics, and can be used a The seventh step may be hard at times but necessary for sustaining the future of the American Red Cross, “Don’t Let Up! ” (Cotter International, 2012). While celebrating short-term victories is recommended, and can provide crucial momentum, McGovern just not let up prematurely before her vision has come to full maturation. Therefore, newly established behaviors that promote the desired cultural norms must be continually re-enforced to ensure long-term success.
The last step is anchoring new approaches (Cotter International, 2012) in the American Red Cross culture for sustained change. Social forces are strong and cannot be underestimated; therefore, once change is initiated and momentum is gained, the process and progress must be ingrained into the organizations cultural as frequently and deeply as possible. That is why the Cotter’s Model provides some ere important general rules about cultural change (Cotter International, 2012, Step 8, Para. ): * Cultural change comes last, not first * You must be able to prove that the new way is superior to the old * The success must be visible and well communicated * You will lose some people in the process * You must reinforce new norms and values with incentives and rewards – including promotions * Reinforce the culture with every new employee Effecting change in large, complex organizations presents its own unique challenges and obstacles.
The American Red Cross has been in existence for over en-hundred years and requires dedicated and skillful leaders that are sensitive to the subtleties and nuances of change, as well as understanding the necessity to firmly and clearly state the vision of change without alienating those who are essential to the success of the organization. McGovern is in a unique position to bring a fresh approach and breathe new life into the American Red Cross as she conveys her vision to streamline the organization, modernize the IT system, provide safe blood products and continue to blaze the social frontier (Red Cross, 2012).