Are you prepared for ‘the change’?

Change management concept in word cloud on black

Change is the only permanent. As far as it is concerned in context of the fashion industry in London, Brexit poses a great threat to major retail brands in the UK due to its agreements and policies that affect them directly. Amidst all the uncertainty, fashion companies must adapt and change their current management styles in order to adjust with the political and economic reforms (Business of Fashion, 2017).

In this blog, I will be talking about the consequences faced by a well known retailer in the UK during the changing times and how strategically can it tackle these rapid situations and move forward. With it my aim will also be to highlight effectiveness of leadership in a changing atmosphere.

mand s
source: Indepedent, 2017

Marks and Sepencers (M&S), founded in 1884  has been one of Britain’s favourite brands with high market share in the food and clothing sector along with listing on the London stock exchange.(Marks & Spencers, 2018). Due to the EU referendum, consumer spending has been affected and shoppers are uncertain of the future (Independent, 2017) leading to drop in sales. With a major chunk of suppliers in Europe, M&S will also face an increase in cost of imports as trade agreements will possibly get stringent in the coming months. (Mintel, 2016).

Many individuals are likely to acknowledge change but others refuse due to their inability to accept it (Mullins, 2016). Political and Economic changes like Brexit can affect the organization on a whole including its mechanisms and people the most.

M&S should implement frameworks to improve the operations and ability to cope up with the transforming course of action. Initially, it should follow the three step model deduced by Kurt Lewin which involves firstly, the method of unfreezing where the initial problems related to the change for example in the case of M&S is Brexit is deduced and data is thus obtained. Secondly, the stage of movement where the problems are diagnosed like increasing prices in goods due to amplification of import costs. Also, this stage helps in planning actions and following them up. For Spencers, it is highly essential that it plans to shift its suppliers from Europe to the UK and spends time in researching areas where it can manufacture. At last, the stage of refreezing arises where companies should stabilize the amendments and reinforcements through support systems and mechanisms like new policies and norms. Evaluation and collecting feedback also play a vital role in this stage. Marks should aggressively focus on its production and thus try and maintain price levels at par so that it doesn’t lose out on its market share in the UK (Burnes, B 2004: 997-1002).

kurt lewin
Source: researchgate.net

Throughout the whole process, the manager plays a key role in decision making and leading the movement.  Serious issues like Brexit, call for a long term development. In such a period of rapid change, people surviving are known as change leaders. As challenging as it sounds, these people are hungry and always look for changes; they understand the way to construct them effectively both inside and outside (Drucker, 1980).

M&S should remember that the internal organizational climate is directly proportionate to financial results (Mullins, 2016: 551). Corporations should focus on cultivating a positive environment in a negative external one. The heads of department should always try that the brand remains motivated and performance of the employees enhanced through clarity, commitment, standards, responsibility, recognition and teamwork (Atkinson, T. and Frechette, H., 2009).

ricardo
Source: HBR 2016

Over this module, an interesting case study was presented to me on the 9th week called as “Revolutionary Model of  Leadership” where Semco, a Brazilian mixer and agitator supplier was diversified and expanded by Ricardo Semco the son of the owner. Initially Ricardo had a rigid style of working where he was autocratic and used command and power over his subordinate but due to deterioration of health caused by over working and stress he decided to transform himself by bringing about a work life balance for himself and his workers. He became empathetic and empowering by listening to his staff. Semco’s values focused on motivating them and during the economy crash in 2007, they all decided to form co-management where they took a 30% pay cut, did all third party duties like cleaning toilets and running the canteen. All of this helped in maintaining break even whereas other companies were reporting serious losses (HBR, 2014). Analyzing the case, the significance of the role and attitude of leaders in a changing environment shines.

 My learning outcomes

During this module, I have developed the understanding that the world is moving and shifting fast leading to shrinkage of distance and extreme transformations. Having creative and adaptive leadership competencies are a must. As an individual, I am overwhelmed at how important the subject can be. It certainly is a huge task which when dealt well, can be profitable. Implementing the theories learnt practically in my career will help me organize my situations better where I can portray the learning’s of change management.

For further knowledge and interest one can read the following article: https://www.ccl.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/TYO.pdf

         References

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13 Comments Add yours

  1. Gautam Kapoor says:

    The post has been very well written and it is a true fact that leadership in an organisation is very important. It can drive a company to the peak or drown it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading my blog post and liking my writing style. Leadership has many facets out of which some are explored through this blog. I truly agree with your last statement and hope the world creates valuable leaders. Thanks much:)

      Like

  2. Raunaq CHANDAK says:

    A very well written blog about the requirement for the constant change in today’s industry and about how cutthroat the industry can be.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Raunaq:) i am delighted that you liked my writing style and the importance of changing management in the env.

      Like

  3. Bhanu Prakash says:

    The blog is very systematically organised and addresses all the issues the fashion industry would face in the short and long run. A very informative and must read blog for those wishing to enter the fashion market.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Mr. Prakash. I am very happy you found it systematic and I could use my learnt writing skills in this blogpost. I believe imparting valuable information is strongly required due to changing times. Thanks much 🙂

      Like

  4. Dr Ritu Rana says:

    This one is my favourite, I do believe change is the only constant. This blog adds to my knowledge of various tools available for managing change in an organization, thanks Ms Dawar for this information.
    I totally buy your ideas that in today’s world having creative and adaptive leadership competencies are a must. Your blog reminded me of an old read- who moved my cheese by Dr Spencer Johnson.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am glad you liked my work and it added value to your ever so knowledgeable self. There are many theories and ideas which can help mitigate issues in the changing env. As I said and you pointed out, it boils down to adaptation. These traits are a must to survive any change. Thanks Dr. Ritu 🙂

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  5. Bhanu says:

    Good thoughts there talking about the importance of leadership in the times of volatility. One particular highlight in your blog brings out the importance “situational leadership”, an overarching agility to switch leadership style to adapt to macroeconomic factors that are beyond the control of top management. The case you spoke about Brazilian business owner, and the need of the hour at M&S – both are clear examples.

    I’m sure we’d find many such cases around us – how Kodak vanished with the advent of digital photography, and how IBM transformed itself from a pure product company to primarily a services company. What is the best course of direction when a major disruption invades the industry (technology or political or even war!).? A critical question with no easy answers that every CEO must be willing to answer? Of course, the best ones are those who can sense early signals and prepare their strategies for possible outcomes ( example – Could M&S have prepared for both outcomes of Brexit Referendum even before the results were out? )

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I adore your comments and will definitely agree with you on these matters. I’m sure that there are relevant examples in all industries but we individuals don’t learn unless faced with those situations in that particular time. Your comments regarding early preparedness to deal with such changes is extremely helpful and should be learnt from. Thanks much:)

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  6. Brexit is surely a significantly important change that has not only affected the major retail brands in UK but the wider industry. A change which was not foreseen by so many organisations and hence not much time to be prepared for it, in their long term future planning. Not all change is negative, and as they say ‘is the only constant’, I really appreciate the way in this blog you have highlighted it as an ‘opportunity’ for good leadership to be at the forefront. In the example given about Ricardo Semco, you have explained very well his transformation through the changing situations and how very well he himself alongwith his team adapted to it. Through empowering his team, and the formation of the ‘co-management’ he demonstrated how genuine ‘co-working’ can turn such uncertain times and overcoming losses which was not the case with many other companies in similar situations. I will surely share this with my team-mates, which will help facilitate constructive conversations around this topic, and most importantly to reflect ‘are we ready for the change?’

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am delighted that you read my blog with utmost interest and deciphered the way Brexit or any significant change impacts organizations. It brings out the leadership skills; like they say that when an individual is put through harsh situations, either they break or they come out victorious. I think troublesome times are an opportunity to showcase one’s abilities. Ricardo’s full case can be found on harvard business review and is one of the most interesting pieces I have read through which one can pull out many learnings.
      Thanks much 🙂

      Like

  7. Sukh says:

    Change is the only constant is the absolute truth. True leadership lies in adapting the changes and turning it into opportunities. This blog focuses on how when the change in an organisational set up is used efficiently, greater heights can be achieved!

    Like

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