27 Nov 2022


Mastermind Change: How to Be the Best You Can Be

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Academic level: Master’s

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Change is a difficult undertaking. The complexity of organizational change arises from the involvement of people with diverse perspectives, who have to come to a consensus on the implementation of any procedure or project. Kotter & Schlesinger (2008) argue that “ It must be considered that there is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than initiate a new order of things .” With the increases rate of organizational change globally, the need for re-organization of business entities cannot be overemphasized . Thus, a team must adapt quickly to new business surroundings for it to be effective and competitive. The fear of organizational change emanates from the fact that the procedure challenges the status quo and results in an ‘an upset of established ways of doing things’ ( Robbins & Judge, 2014; Kotter & Schlesinger, 2008 ) . This essay will discuss Kotter’s approach to organizational change. It will use Kotter’s Eight-Step Plan to create a model for masterminding change within United Parcel Service (UPS). Further, it will establish attributes of UPS that make it ineffective and suggest ways of addressing the challenges. Lastly, the essay will describe how mechanistic and organic structures affect change.

Kotter Eight-Step Plan to Organizational Change 

The Kotter eight-step plan model of change management has been highly successful in the past. Numerous organizations have used this theoretical model to ground their change strategy in both their teams and business operations. The development of the Kotter eight-step plan model was facilitated by a comprehensive study that involved one-hundred companies. Amongst them were various multinational corporations . Kotter (1995) studied the strategies employed by these organizations and the reasons efforts to create change within them failed. After noting the weaknesses of the strategies , Kotter developed a more comprehensive, error-free model to facilitate the change process. According to the model, the change process consists of several phases, with each expected to take a certain amount of time before proceeding to the next phase . Any form of error that might happen in any phase will accrue resulting in worse outcomes of the whole process (Mento et al., 2002; Kotter, 1995)

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Skipping any stage of the change process due to speed only creates an illusion. However, speed does not imply effectiveness. Thus, the responsible personnel must be keen on the way they manage the change process and ensure that the team goes through all the necessary steps (Kotter, 1995). Despite this adherence, numerous errors are likely to arise during the change process. Firstly, there may be a failure to create a sufficient sense of urgency. For instance, change cannot take place when an organization doesn’t understand the threats to its competitive advantage. In this case, the company might not be aware of where to implement change. The second error is the failure of an organization to form an appropriate team to oversee the change process. In most companies, major change programs are initiated by very few individuals. However, the efforts to effect change will be futile if a company’s entire workforce is not engaged. When a team to oversee the change is in place, it becomes easy to share the vision with other people. This would be reinforced by the establishment of sufficient communication channels and strategies. Other notable errors in the change process include under-communicating the vision, failure to remove obstacles to the vision, lack of systemized procedure for and creating short-term goals, declaring victory too soon before the whole process is over, and lastly not anchoring the vision for change on the organization’s culture (Kotter, 1995) .

Therefore, informed by the Kotter eight-step plan model of change management, and taking cognizant of the errors above , creating change in UPS would entail the following eight steps;

Establishing a sense of urgency. This can be done by examining the market and the current competition. 

Forming a powerful guiding coalition/team that will oversee the change process through teamwork and collaboration.

Establish a strong vision for the change process. This will help in directing the organization’s efforts and in drawing strength from the reorganization strategies.

Communicating the vision to others throughout the organization and establishing a reformed culture of practice beginning with the guiding coalition.

Helping the coalition to empower others to act on the vision by removing obstacles such as processes and systems that hinder the implementation of the vision . This would include taking risks and embracing of non-traditional ideals .

Planning for and creating short-term goals

Consolidating improvements and creating more change through replacement of old systems and policies.

Institutionalizing the novel approaches by mainstreaming them into the organization success.

United Parcel Services Organizational Change 

United Parcel Services was founded in 1907 by James Casey. Initially, most deliveries were made by foot. However, in 1913, the company began to use consolidated delivery systems, combining several parcels of a particular region into one vehicle. The company’s first conveyor belt was installed in 1924 (Opidee et al., 2003) . Later, the company became the “first package delivery company to provide air service via privately operated airlines” (Opidee et al., 2003). Owing to this development, it was able to expand its services to the eastern coast. The delivery operations on retail stores started in New York between 1929 and 1930. By the year 1975, UPS had become a nationwide parcel delivery company. Ten years later, it pioneered its international services. The company fully acquired its airline in the year 1988. The 1990s saw the company embracing technology in its operations. For instance, electronic package tracking of all ground parcels was established in 1992. The company’s official website was launched in 1994 (Opidee et al., 2003) , and its international hub began operations in the year 2002. Despite the strides made, the company is still affected by both physical and technological challenges (Opidee et al., 2003) .

A major problem exists in the company’s loading process. Many of the UPS car loaders have in some instances found to load parcels to the wrong vehicles. This problem costs the company highly both in terms of time and resources. Technology can be used to address this challenge. For instance, the number on the package can be matched with the number of the car ferrying it to avoid confusion. The new scheme should be mainstreamed in the change process and the required resources availed so as to make its implementation a success. The company’s change coalition can communicate the implications of the loading errors to the company ’s bottom line . Likewise, a committee must be formed to oversee the change. The team must draw a clear vision of what needs to be done , the kind of technology and the expertise required to implement the change. The vision must be communicated to the entire organization and the matching of parcels to vehicles embraced by all centers. The organization must also invest in training its personnel on how to work under the new procedure while getting rid of any system that may hinder the implementation of the new strategy. Moreover, progress must be monitored closely while learning from every success and failure. Finally, the consolidated system must form the new culture of business practice for UPS.

The organizational structure used by a firm is vital to the change process. The two common structures are; mechanistic and organic. The former applies to organizations that operate in stable environments. The approach to authority in these organizations is centralized, and the management enjoys strong loyalty. On the other hand, the latter is used by organizations operating in unstable environments ( Burns & Stalker, 2000). Due to this, these organizations have to change regularly . The two structures may affect change in various ways. In mechanistic structures, there is a small level of quick analysis of decisions, creativity, and innovation. Thus, change in these organizations is not necessary. Likewise, they are less likely to adapt their structures. Conversely, organizations with organic structures thrive on change. Thus, their speed of processing, analyzing and distributing both knowledge and information is fast. Due to the attributes, organizations using organic structures can compete adequately with their rivals. Overall, organic structures are more receptive to organizational change compared to the mechanistic structures.

With increasing global competition, every organization is required to change so as to remain relevant. Service delivery must be enhanced, and commitment by the entire workforce strengthened . Creating change within UPS would, therefore, entail following the Kotter eight-step plan model of change management procedure to the letter. On the other hand, matching parcels to vehicles by their numbers should be explored to address the loading challenges. However, for the proposed changes to be successful, UPS must adopt the organic organizational structure.


Burns, T., & Stalker, G. (2000). Mechanistic and organic systems of management. Technology, organizations and innovation: The early debates , 24-50. 

Kotter, J. P., & Schlesinger, L. A. (2008). Choosing Strategies for Change. Havard Business Review

Kotter, J. P. (1995). Why Transformation Efforts Fail. Harvard Business Review , 59-67. 

Mento, J. A., Jones, R. M., & Dirndorfer, W. (2002). A change management process: Grounded in both theory and practice. Journal of Change Management , 45-59. 

Opidee, E., Patel, A., & Davis, S. (2003). United Parcel Service. UPS. 

Robbins, S., & Judge, T. (2014). Organization Behavior (16 ed.). NJ, Pearson/Prentice Hall: Upper Saddle River. 

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