The Manager and Leading Change!


By Prof. Martin M. Lwanga

“To meet our budget we are also expecting income from our privatized parking lot,” so said Enoch, the Finance Manager.  He was discussing this pressing matter with the newly appointedPrincipal, Mr Mugerwa. “However, problem is we can’t easily truck payments!”

“How come?” asked Mr Mugerwa.

Our sources of income are quite erratic, Sir!” Enoch admitted.

“You mean you don’t have any way of tracking them?” Mr Mugerwa interrupted.

“No!” Enoch confessed. “How could we!”

Mr Mugerwa had just assumed the position of Principal. What had shocked him was  to find  that  the  Institute which  he had looked  at from afar with admiration  was stuck in  the pastwhere  almost  every  facet  of its work could be  described as “manual”!  In the office he found they were even using old electric typewriters. Whenever he made a request for some information it had all to be delivered in person.

“We need to move the Institute into the information age,” in his first meeting with top management, he urged. He noticed almost all were gray haired and dressed  in dark suits. The reception was quite muted with some insisting there was no need. “We have always done well in the  past  and why  worry!”

In spite of this apparent lack of enthusiasm, Mr Mugerwa was convinced the organization had to change. He couldn’t think ofany other way about it  given the new drivers of business.  Soon after, therefore, one of his first major decision was to purchase a Management Information System (MIS). Challenged by his Top Management elderly staff why he had to spend so much, he offered, “It will help us collect, process and store data. Once information is processed it will be disseminated at the key of the button for the required purpose.

“But how?” one of the older staff wondered, genuinely puzzled.

For example, payment of fees,” the principal explained, could all be tracked by the MIS. This will help us save time and increase our productivity!”

Now that the MIS had been installed the opposition grew intofierce resistance. “No one knows how to use these things!” This became the convenient excuse.

Well, let’s organize training!” Mr Mugerwa countered.

A meeting to educate staff on MIS use was organized. But at the scheduled meeting, which was well advertised, there was a no show. The department elderly heads had conveniently failed to pass on the information for their subordinates to attend. Noticing the absence, Mr Mugerwa decided to walk down the office bloc and move from door to door directing staff to attend.

The opposition moved to yet another level. Occasionally reports came that the MIS was permanently down” though on checking  it was minor easily  rectified blockages. Once Mr Mugerwa got a call from a prospective parent who had paid fees but yet the student had not been admitted. The Institute was not responding. When Mr Mugerwa called up the Registrar, she quickly offered. “We have a volume of applications and I need to sort  throughthe paperwork!”

I thought all prospective students were now logging on the MIS!” he queried.

But some parents do not know how to use the system!” explained the registrar.

You could take them through the  system,”  he advised. “The trouble is you have left an alternative to avoid usage. What I want to see is we remove any  alternative course of action.

Here, in this case, we see the complexities of  leading change in a modern  organization. The new principal has rightly noted that the Institute  needs to embrace  new technologies  to  manage better. He comes  from  a  younger  age  group that  is well abreast with these changes  and feels  they  will  drive  the  business  forward. However, once he moves ahead to share his ideas, opposition  rises. This resistance is driven by fear  (real  or  imaginary) and  nervousness at loss of power. The resistance manifests itself both passively (failure to attend  meetings)  and  actively (disruption  of the new system).

To carry through  this  change initiative  the  Principal will  need a communication  and advocacy  plan to woo the reluctant on  board. He may also need to generate quick wins, so as  to  show and hopefully  convince the skeptics that  it all  works. If  resistance does not  abate,  he  might  have  to  isolate  the resistors, and help  the organization adopt to new  trends, which is vital for her survival and growth.

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Previous Next
Test Caption
Test Description goes like this