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The third step is implementing the change. This is a very awkward phase because creatures of habit are being asked to deviate from a routine. If personnel are not given the tools and training to complete the tasks required in this new environment, then there is the perception that management is dumping something on them without supporting them. Management needs to be very supportive in this critical stage of the change process.
The last step in the change management cycle is the “evaluation phase” or “performance indication phase.” This critical final step determines how well the change took, and if it provided the desired outcome. This step may require comparing statistical analysis with that found in the needs-assessment phase.
An often-overlooked portion of this final step is ensuring that the change becomes a permanent way of conducting business within the organization. This process is sometimes referred to as “institutionalizing” the change. The change becomes a way of life, whereby the organization cannot rely or go back to the old manner of doing things.
Be A Mission-Driven Organization
A mission-driven organization is a real paradigm shift from a rule driven organization, particularly in the public sector. Private-sector organizations saw this need much earlier than their public-sector counterparts.
The workforce of today is much more educated than that of 50 years ago. Organizations have seen the need to empower employees with the ability to make decisions, be flexible and adapt to the need of the customer. Private-sector companies were forced to do this in order to stay in business because their competitors were better meeting the needs of the customer.
Government, as a rule, has not fully embraced this concept, although progress is being made. Public-sector organizations battle a well-deserved stereotype of being rule-driven, inflexible and “box-thinking” workforces. We have all experienced to some degree the government employee who answers the telephone, but is unable able to answer your question and unwilling to find the appropriate person for you to speak with. The routine continues when you are transferred to another department, speaking to another employee who can’t answer your question and is unwilling to find the appropriate person for you to speak with, and so on, and so on.
Many government agencies and departments at all levels are adopting mission statements, along with systems of core values or beliefs. Hopefully, when these organizations decide to change to this philosophy, they will implement the change using a change-management model. This will ensure that all its members accept the concept and are given the training, resources, freedom and autonomy needed to actually perform the functions of the mission-driven organization.
Last, but certainly not least, the organization needs to provide a mean of “institutionalizing” the change so that the organization cannot go back to the old way of doing things. The true mission-driven organization has been proven to have higher overall morale. This higher morale equates to becoming more effective, more flexible, more creative/innovative as an organization.
It is imperative that the mission statement and its corresponding values are etched in the minds of the employees, not merely hanging on a wall at headquarters. Then and only then can the management of the organization at every level sincerely embrace the philosophy of the mission statement. When this happens, the organization as a whole will not be dependent on a handful of executives, bureaucrats or elected officials to carry out the mission of the organization. The organization itself will have a keen sense of what needs to be done, no matter who is occupying the front office.
Managing a modern fire service organization has become increasingly dynamic as well as demanding. Rest assured there are numerous practices being battered about on how to lead, how to motivate, how to effect change, etc. One need only look at the conference titles being served up, and dished out, at the latest, newest, cutting-edge workshop or seminar.
I am not discounting the hundreds of very valuable programs that are available designed to bring organizations to a higher level of productivity. However, many employees, particularly at the mid-management level, have grown increasingly weary with revved-up workshops designed to charge one’s batteries and prepare one to set the world on fire, only to find upper management is talking the lingo without providing the catalyst to bring about the desired outcome.