Signature Assignment: Create Your Own Leadership Video
OLB 7008, Assignment 8
DuBose, Justin Z.
Dr. Rosalind Gaines
16 June 2019
As an organization, we (the Christian and Missionary Alliance) iare a global not-for-profit organization which operates in 81 countries (Christian and Missionary Alliance, 2018). While our organization is overseen by an elected board known as the Board of Directors, this board is chaired by an elected President (Christian and Missionary Alliance, 2018). As your newly elected President, I am excited about getting into my new responsibilities, which include not only leadership of the National Office but also of staff and offices around the globe (Christian and Missionary Alliance, 2018).
China is one country in which the Christian & Missionary Alliance operates. It is well documented that China is one of the most difficult countries for Christian organizations to operate in and conduct business. Therefore, we are constantly forced to evaluate and re-evaluate business practices and structure in order to efficiently and effectively in a changing environment. As your newly elected executive leader, I want to share with you today how exactly the Christian & Missionary Alliance plans to operate in China and provide executive guidance on implementing and communicating organizational change in this environment.
Implementing Change Domestically and Abroad
While organizational change has been recognized as an imperative, many various models exist for designing how change can be effectively implemented in organizations (Gobble, 2015). However, certain elements undergird all change models which must be considered during seasons of change. For example, Gobble (2015) noted that all change should be designed so that the energy poured into change efforts matches the strategic output and creates value for the organization. Therefore, we must consider which design best aligns with their desired output and creates desired value. In most change design models, existing organizational charts – which map structure, processes, relationships – must be examined and considered as possible barriers to desired change.
Gobble (2015) highlights the shortfalls of organizational charts in relation to change initiatives. Organizational charts do not assume change; in fact, they imply an unchanging system which is designed to repeat the same process and produce the same outcome. Our new change initiatives will likely require a re-structuring or re-aligning of the organizational chart to the new strategy or vision. In fact, Gobble (2015) recommends the adoption of a structural diagram map in place of the traditional organizational chart. She highlighted that structural diagram maps are inherently more likely to inhibit innovation as they are built upon what functions must be performed and not on who or what is responsible for different functions (Gobble, 2015). With these elements and assumptions understood, several different change design models exist which address these organizational issues. I have discussed each of the with the Board of Directors and want you to know was discussed and, ultimately, decided.
Two different approaches to designing change exist in current models: a top-down approach and a bottom-up approach (Senior, 1997). Within both systems, however, research has highlighted the importance of certain elements being present: organizational values and culture. Mazzei and Quarantino (2013) conducted a study in which they discovered that successful change often began with identifying values and extended these values into organizational culture. This conclusion is corroborated by McAleese and Hargie (2004) who noted that executive leaders must genuinely share and embody the cultural values they are encouraging employees to inject into organizational culture if they are to see change initiatives succeed. These findings are applicable to both top-down and bottom-up approaches to designing change and must be embraced by leadership across all organizational levels.
Another model we discussed for designing organizational change is the Star Model (Gobble, 2015). This model maps organizational interactions between five factors: strategy, policies, organizational processes, and human resource functions. This Star Model for change is generally a top-down approach to designing organizational change. A different model for designing organizational change discussed by Gobble (2015) is provided by the Bridgespan Group. This model considers organizational change from four elements and their interaction with organizational culture. These four elements are: leadership, decision-making processes, people, and systems. Like the Star model, this model for designing change by the Bridgespan Group is generally a top-down approach to designing organizational change.
A different approach to designing organizational change is what Gobble (2015) refers to as a Participatory Design. Participatory design is a bottom-up approach to designing organizational change. Within the framework of a participatory design to change, members of the organization across all levels are invited and encouraged to help shape and structure their own work environment and organizational structure. This more relational approach to organizational change is elsewhere referred to as a soft systems model approach to designing organizational change (Senior, 1997). In their study, Mazzei and Quarantino (2013) discovered that this soft systems model approach to change is often highly successful due to the soft systems model approach to and use of communication, relationships, and participation across all levels of the organization.
Values and Ethics in Change
When considering organizational changes and which model is best suited for designing organizational change in a given operating environment, I know that we must consider cultural values and ethical systems in the countries in which they operate. As value systems and ethical frameworks are different in various cultures, we must build this understanding into our change designs and the selection of organizational communication and change.
A values-based approach to leadership has been discovered to influence organizational and cultural change. Research proves this true not only when operating in a single culture but, importantly for us in the Christian & Missionary Alliance, across multiple cultures as well. What we are now putting in place are some agreed upon barometers for gauging how your values-based leadership is impacting both the organization as well as the environments in which we operates.
Pertinent to this decision is the research of Werhane (2014) who concluded that even though certain operating environments are unethical, operating ethically in an unethical environment can produce good, ethical results. In other words, values-based ethical leadership can have a positive effect on the surrounding culture even when that culture is generally unethical. Additionally, and of equal importance, is a study undertaken by Alas (2006). The research of Alas (2006) demonstrated that, although there are various cultural conceptions of ethics, certain cross-cultural values do exist. We are, therefore, striving to exercise prudence by nesting our corporate goals within these global values. What might these barometers look like in the real world?
Such barometers should include a reduction in the frequency of certain crimes in and around areas where our people operate. One specific example from research comes from (Cateora, Gilly, & Graham, 2011) who noted that bribery is common and accepted in many cultures. In fact, it was specifically concluded that global organizations are at a greater risk of bribery because of their cross-cultural operations. It is important to note the research of Lestrange (2013) who concluded that a strong ethical reputation is itself a deterrent for bribery, even in areas where bribery is common. This can serve as one barometer of whether a values-based approach to ethical leadership is positively impacting the area of operations. An additional barometer we are implementing is the degree to which we successfully retain and attract employees with similar value sets. If such retention is occurring, then such a values-based approach to leadership is resulting in positive cultural change.
More Cultural Differences in Change Management
Our most important and pertinent consideration as a denomination is the element of simultaneous operation in numerous cultures. Not only do different cultures observe differing business practices, but research has demonstrated that cultures respond very differently to the same scenario and circumstances Lestrange (2013). Lestrange (2013) gave, as an example, organizations and their treatment of formal business practices and structures. While in some cultures, formal business practices and structures and normal and widely accepted, in other cultures the same formalized structure would be treated with suspicion and contempt. In fact, Lestrange (2013) specifically highlighted the issue of bribery, concluding that in certain cultures bribery is more frequent when formalized practices and structures are imposed. Consequently, leadership and management in the new millennium requires leaders to operate across multiple cultures and develop organizational targets which take unique cultural elements into consideration (Neera, et al, 2010). In other words, while certain values can sustain across cultures, practices cannot. Global organizations, like ours, must then consider how these values translate into corporate objectives which are not limited by cultural boundaries. There are several examples of such practices to consider.
Sadri (2013) noted that conflict resolution is one of the most important skills that global organizational leaders can develop. This is primarily since different cultures resolve conflict very differently. The failure by executive leadership to take this important cultural distinction into account could have catastrophic results. Sadri (2013) gave the contrast of the Chinese culture of indirectness in conflict resolution and the American culture of directness in conflict resolution. A global leader and organization operating in these two environments needs to build in and allow flexibility for culturally appropriate methods for conflict resolution.
While there are many aspects of executive leadership which present challenges for myself and our Board of Directors, research concludes that these are the best practices and worthy of consideration. So, our first step is to establish organizational values which can be modeled by every individual and measured by the organization. These values are those which transcend cultural boundaries and, thus, can be kept in place across the organization cross-culturally. This not only establishes organizational values but also disseminates decision-making to all levels and across all cultures throughout the organization. Our next step is to translate these values into measurable objectives to ensure that they are influencing culture in a manner consistent with intent. This is accomplished by looking both inside and outside an organization. These objectives should be measurable and attainable, and regularly examined by myself and others in positions of leadership. Finally, I and the other members of our Board must consider how these inflexible values are applied in a flexible manner throughout the organization. Conflict resolution, for example, can be an organizational value, but the implementation of that value needs to be applied at the local level which fits the local context. The application and implementation of these values can and should be left up to the discretion of regional field directors. In observing these principles, which are consistent with the best practices recommended by research, we should experience greater success in our leadership of this cross-cultural, global family.
Examples of Effective & Ineffective Leadership
To help understand this, I’d like to give you both a positive and negative example of leadership in other organizations. Aflac and Amazon, which are both international companies headquartered in the United States, have both been featured in national news for their ethical cultures as organizations. The primary difference is that one company, Aflac, is praised for their positive ethical culture while the other company, Amazon, is criticized for their negative ethical culture. Understanding what constitutes a positive or negative organizational culture is imperative for organizational leaders of all sizes, regardless of their field or sphere of influence. These companies are included in this analysis due to their ethical approach to organizational change, the stark contrast between their approach to organizational management, and a specific instance in China where Amazon failed to properly communicate and oversee organizational changes imposed by organizational leaders on a local factory.
The first major difference in the two organizations is their code of conduct for suppliers. In the case of Aflac, their code of conduct includes corporate values which guide their business practices (Aflac, 2016). Additionally, they provide a toll-free number for employees to call to report any suspected ethical violations by employees and suppliers (Aflac, 2016). In contrast, Amazon has been cited by multiple media sources for their failure to uphold such supplier codes of conduct at a factory in China which produces their Echo products (Chamberlain, 2018). These failures include mistreating employees – overworking and underpaying them – as well as failing to comply with labor laws in the countries in which they operate which, in the case of this supplier is China (Chamberlain, 2018).
Another major difference in these two organizations is their treatment of community service and investing in sustainability initiatives corporately. Aflac continues to be recognized by Ethisphere as one the world’s most ethical companies due to their sustainability initiatives (Ethisphere, 2018). Aflac retains as a corporate sustainability working to eradicate pediatric cancer (Aflac, 2015). Additionally, they work in their local companies with Habitat for Humanity to build homes for individuals and families in need (Aflac, 2015). Conversely, Amazon finds themselves under attack as an organization due to the lack of sustainability initiatives by one of their factories in China. In fact, the management at this factory was specifically cited for not only failing to give back to the community, but for taking from their own employees (Chamberlain, 2018). Foxconn, the company operating the Chinese factory for Amazon was noted for accepting insurance payments from employees without applying them toward their benefits (Chamberlain, 2018). In doing so, Foxconn was deceptively, and unethically, taking from their own employees who were already underpaid and overworked. This is more than a simple failure to invest in corporate sustainability initiatives in this instance, but highlights a deeply unethical view of workplace culture, employees of the company, as well as the community at large.
Conclusion and Recommendations
As your new President, I am working with our Board of Directors to take practical steps to implementing organizational change with our work in China. Research has demonstrated the need to be aware of cultural understanding of ethics and values, as they may be drastically different from other areas. Therefore, we are now conducting an extensive study of cultural and ethical values in certain local areas in which we are seeking to implement organizational change. We plan to accomplish this goal by working alongside other organizations already operating in this environment. Once this research is concluded and analyzed by our leadership, three additional steps will be taken. These steps are only intended to be implemented after this thorough examination of ethics and values-based leadership. Additionally, these are intended to be implemented with the leadership framework of a soft systems model mentioned earlier. This is due to the research of Mazzei and Quarantino (2013) who discovered that this soft systems model approach to change is often highly successful due to the soft systems model approach to and use of communication, relationships, and participation across all levels of the organization. With this soft systems model of leadership, we are also adopting a structural diagram map in place of our traditional organizational chart (Gobble, 2015). This will increase organizational flexibility for future changes.
Within this model and organizational framework, the first step in implementing organizational changes that will result in ongoing improvement is recognizing our existing threats to change. These can be both internal and external, but internal threats can often be both the hardest to identify and the most difficult to overcome. Existing organizational culture, control mechanisms, and infrastructure can all sabotage change and limit change capacity (Edmondson, 2008). Edmondson (2008) called these obstacles “self-sabotaging traps” (p. 63). Lerner (2014) noted that John Kotter, who serves as the director of research for Kotter International, concurred with Edmondson’s findings. Kotter noted that potential hurdles to organizational change include the compensation structure, appraisal process, and even existing management (Lerner, 2014). These can all be used to “reinforce the status quo” (Lerner, 2014, p. 70).
We do not have an extensive history of operating in China. Therefore, less deconstruction of existing threats needs to be accomplished. However, like all organizations, any existing personnel, organizational strategy, lingering culture, and leadership could be a potential internal threat. As Lerner (2014) noted, the danger of status quo reinforcement can sabotage any change initiative. More importantly, however, is that the operating environment of China demands constant change and quick adaption to evolving outside. The demand for internal solidarity, then, is even more important for our operations in China.
Identifying and addressing internal threats is one of the first steps in bringing about positive change and increasing the ability of an organization to change effectively. Researchers have coined the term “change capacity” in identifying the ability of organizations to change effectively (Buono and Kerber, 2010). Lerner (2014) noted that while change is essential for organizations, changing effectively and adapting to change is the battleground for organizational leaders. Change capacity has been defined as “the ability of an organization to change not just once, but as a normal course of events in response to and in anticipation of internal and external shifts, constantly adapting to and anticipating changes in its environment” (Buono and Kerber, 2010, p. 10).
While internal solidarity is the first necessary step in bringing about successful organizational change, increasing the capacity for change is a necessary subsequent step in continuing to change well. This can be accomplished effectively by implementing an incentive program for existing employees as well as the implementation of a stringent hiring program for new employees. The longer we go without being forced to be flexible, the greater will be the difficulty in injecting flexibility. As employees become more flexible, so will the structure and processes of the organization itself. This process will be facilitated by rewarding existing employees based on their adaptation to and encouragement of new cultural standards as well as hiring employees who value flexibility and already possess a more flexible nature.
Buono and Kerber (2010) suggested that communication during times of organizational change should be honest and transparent. This allows for all voices and viewpoints to be expressed, increases organizational learning, and creates opportunities to express a shared purpose and common change language. In addition to these benefits, communication initiates the process of “meaning-making” for employees effected by change (Huevel et al., 2013, p. 15). The process of meaning-making facilitates “integrating challenging/ambiguous events into a framework of personal meaning using value-based reflection” (Park, 2010, p. 265). This allows meaning-making to increase an individual’s willingness to adapt to change (Huevel et al., 2013). Huevel et al. (2013) concluded that the process of meaning-making also translates to successful adaptation for employees when it allows them to reflect on organizational changes and link or align their own personal values to the changes.
Thus, our final action step is to focus on communication with employees. Fitting with the recommendation of Buono and Kerber (2010) is the recommendation that communication from executive leaders to those within the organization be honest and transparent. Without pro-active communication on the part of leadership, resistance to change will persist and grow, ambiguity will turn to distrust and, ultimately, hostility will develop toward those in leadership. Communication will not only positively impact the employees, but other stakeholders (national office personnel, local domestic churches, etc.) who can also contribute to healthy growth through change.
This communication will include a few important elements. Firstly, all communication will include addressing the underlying fears associated with the changes. These fears are best discovered through an initial listening phase prior to implementing the necessary changes. We will be initiating this phase in the coming weeks. Mazzei and Quarantino (2013) noted that a listening, information-gathering phase at the outset of change enhances chances of success for organizations. This finding was supported by Erving (2006) who noted that a low level of support for change is a strong predictor for change success or failure. Gauging this level of support is often made possible by organizational leaders initiating a listening phase. Furthermore, Stroh (2007) noted that successful change depends greatly on employee involvement in the change process. Inviting and encouraging participation by all employees can be accomplished during this listening phase. Our communication, then, will include addressing information gathered during this initial listening phase. Secondly, communication will include specifics on our proposed timeline of change initiatives. This will also address these underlying fears of uncertainty with specific dates and times in which the looming changes will take effect. Included in the communication of timeline will be incremental steps that you can take to ease the transition into the new organizational norms and processes. Finally, communication will include how these changes are beneficial to the individual as well as the organization. While resistance to change is normal and expected, we understand that employees are more likely to receive organizational changes favorably when they are able to process the changes and understand how these new changes will positively impact them and the organization to which they are committed. With these action steps, it is our hope that we will be in a better position to change and adapt well in our operations in China.
Aflac. (2016). Corporate social responsibility report. Retrieved from https://www.aflac.com/about-aflac/corporate-citizenship/corporate-social-responsibility-report/default.aspx
Alas, R. (2006). Ethic in countries with different cultural dimensions. Journal of Business Ethics, 69(3), 237-247. doi: 10.1007/s10551-006-9088-3
Buono, A. F., & Kerber, K. W. (2010). Intervention and organizational change: Building organizational change capacity. EBS Review, (27), 9-21. Accessed at http://ebsjournal.com/ on June 16, 2019.
Cateora, P. R., Gilly, M. C., & Graham, J. L. (2011). International marketing. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Irwin.
Chamberlain, G. (2018, June 17). Amazon supplier in China will tackle illegal work practices. The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/jun/17/amazon-foxconn-china-will-tackle-illegal-work-practices
Christian and Missionary Alliance. (2018). About us. Retrieved from https://www.cmalliance.org/about/
Edmondson, A. C. (2008). The competitive imperative of learning. Harvard Business Review 86(4), 60-67.
Elving, W. (2006). The role of communication in organizational change. Corporate Communications: An International Journal, 10(2). Doi:10.1108/13563280510596943
Ethisphere. (2018). Leading practices and trends from the 2018 world’s most ethical companies: An ethisphere research report. Retrieved from https://bela.ethisphere.com/practices-trends-2018-wmec/
Gobble, M.M. (2015). Designing for change. Research-Technology Management, 58(3), 64-66. doi:10.5437/08956308X5803005
Heuvel, M. V., Demerouti, E., Bakker, A. B., & Schaufeli, W. B. (2013). Adapting to change: The value of change information and meaning-making. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 83(1), 11-21. doi:10.1016/j.jvb.2013.02.004
Lerner, M. (2014). Successfully adapting to change. Independent Banker, 64(3), 68-72. Accessed at http://independentbanker.org/ on June 16, 2019.
Lestrange, J. J., & Tolstikov-Mast, Y. (2013). Can global organizations use values-based leadership to combat bribery and corruption? Journal of Leadership, Accountability, and Ethics, 10(4), 41-56.
Mazzei, A., & Quaratino, L. (2013). Designing organizational change: Learning from a grounded research project. Journal of Management and Change, 30(1), 166-179. Accessed at http://emeraldinsight.com/journal/jocm on June 16, 2019.
McAleese, D., and Hargie, O. (2004). Five guiding principles of culture management: A synthesis of best practice. Journal of Communication Management, 9(2), 155-170. doi:10.1108/13632540510621399
Neera, J. & Anjanee, S., & Shoma, M. (2010). Leadership dimensions and challenges in the new millennium. Advances in Management, 3(3), 18-24.
Park, C. (2010). Making sense of the meaning literature: An integrative review of meaning making and its effects on adjustment to stressful life events. Psychological Bulletin, 136, 257-301.
Sadri, G. (2013). Choosing conflict resolution by culture. Industrial Management, 10(1), 10-15.
Senior, B. (1997). Organizational Change. London: Pittman Publishing.
Stroh, U. (2007). Relationships and participation: A complexity science approach to change communication. International Journal of Strategic Communication, 1(2), 123-137. doi:10.1080/15531180701298916
Werhane, P. H. (2014). Competing with Integrity: Richard De George and the ethics of global business. Journal of Business Ethics, 127(1), 737-742. doi: 10.1007/s10551-014-2183-y
Create Your Executive Leadership Philosophy
OLB 7008, Assignment 7
DuBose, Justin Z.
Dr. Rosalind Gaines
9 June 2019
Columbus Christian Academy
Columbus Christian Academy is a private, Christian educational institution which serves approximately 175 students from grades pre-k through 12th grade with a full-time staff of approximately 15. The current operating budget of the organization is approximately $500,000 which is managed by an appointed school board of 6 individuals. The campus encompasses 30 acres of land which includes an education building, a gymnasium, and several athletic ballfields. Our staff-to-student ratio is 1:12 and our current campus allows us plenty of room to grow.
In deciding on the executive leader of Columbus Christian Academy, it is imperative that the board understand the personal leadership philosophy of the executive, the first year initiatives they wish to execute, as well as their plans for future initiatives and continued sustainability. As a potential candidate for the executive leader of Columbus Christian Academy, this letter outlines each of those important elements.
Personal Leadership Philosophy
While many leadership theories and styles exist, the leadership theory of servant leadership is what best describes my leadership style and which, I believe, is most suited to successfully serving in this position. In 1977, Greenleaf developed the theory of servant leadership (Landis, 2014). Servant leadership states that leaders who serve others make the most effectual leaders (Landis, 2014). Servant leadership espouses the idea that leaders who genuinely care about the people they lead will generate the greatest level of motivation and dedication throughout all echelons of the organization. Beyer (2012) noted that behavior traits of servant leaders include helping following to succeed and grow, bring emotional healing, empowering followers, and creating value for those within the community and/or organization.
Servant leadership establishes trust by genuinely caring for those within the organization. As concluded by Landis (2014), this trust will generate the greatest level of motivation in followers to excel as members of the organization. Due to the building of trust between leader and stakeholder, servant leadership also creates open and honest lines of communication. As employees are encouraged to communicate, their input is invited into the decision-making processes of the organization. Servant leaders will also relationally invest in their employees as a result of their genuine care for their well-being. Servant leaders who demonstrate a care for those within their organization will base such care upon ethical stances and values rooted in compassion and empathy. Washington (2014) concluded that servant leaders are integral in establishing ethical climates, and that establishing ethical climates drives those within the organization to increase their own ethical standards and behavior. Servant leaders establish an organizational climate where employees are not only motivated to perform and behave well, but also to continually increase the standard of their performance and behavior. Leaders are poised to not only tap into stakeholder motivation and personal values, but, more importantly, to increase and expand motivation and personal values by motivating them to take such values to higher levels (Washington, 2014). These reasons highlight that servant leadership is not only the most effectual means of motivating employees to perform in a general sense, but specifically in the not-for-profit sector.
While serving with the philosophy of servant leadership, there are several initiatives I would like to implement in my first year. While there are many initiatives that could be implemented, these initiatives are, I believe, the most urgent. These proposed initiatives target not only a commitment to a culture of servant leadership, but also aim to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the organization.
First Year Initiatives
One of the major issues for Columbus Christian Academy is the ongoing struggle with Information Technology. This struggle not only leads to an increasing gap in our ability to deliver educational content in a practical, relevant way, but it also will contribute to a healthier staff culture. As many of you know, one ongoing staff issue centers around our faculty and support staff not feeling adequately prepared and trained in the execution of their duties. After speaking with many of you, this seems to largely be seen as a funding issue. In other words, the funding is not there for either adequate equipment or training. Thus, my first (and perhaps most important) initiative is a commitment by the leadership to invest in IT equipment and appropriate training for staff is needed to continuously improve organizational impact.
As for our use of technology, I recommend that we shift our focus in utilizing and implementing technology strictly from a cost-saving measure to more of a revenue-generating measure: from a bottom line approach to a top line approach (Colvin, 2006). While this will require initial investment in the form of new and upgraded technology, the result, if integrated deliberately and properly, will likely be increased revenues over time. The staggering and sustained growth of the Australian economy in the 1980’s and 1990’s was proven to be directly tied to their own revolution in information technology (Shahiduzzaman, 2014). There is reason to believe that this would be true for Columbus Christian Academy as well.
The second recommendation is to set organizational goals which are specific and measurable and which strategically align with fulfilling the organizational mission and vision. The most obvious measurable goal that can be set deals with assisting local churches. At present, there are no initiatives which are strategically aimed at building relationships with local churches. These initiatives can be implemented in the upcoming school year and can be measurable in a certain number of churches, or number of presentations given. Most of our teachers are actively involved in various local churches, and this would empower them to be an advocate for the school in a way which would positively contribute to both the growth of the school and, simultaneously, make them feel like a trusted and valued member of the Columbus Christian Academy team.
The third recommendation is to align our leadership positions throughout the organization with individuals who fit a certain leadership style which has been pre-determined by the board to be the most beneficial to organizational needs at that time. Specifically, at this time, I would initiate putting together a profile for individuals who embody collective leadership characteristics (Dinh et al, 2014). This leadership style is inherently innovative by working collectively with others to bring out both problems and creative solutions which will expedite the process of innovation. This exercising of “collective leadership” creates a “dynamic process in which a defined leader, or set of leaders, selectively utilizes the skills and expertise within a network as the need arises” (Friedrich, Griffith, & Mumford, 2016). This process of “collective leadership” would allow and encourage input from all participants, while still leaving a focal burden on goal attainment and missional fulfillment (Friedrich, Vessey, Chuelke, Ruark and Mumford, 2009). One study focused on organizations that implemented such collective leadership and concluded that such leaders bring out a curiosity which “contributes to creative performance” (Hardy, Ness, & Mecca, 2017). This leadership profile can be developed collaboratively by the existing leadership even if there is no pressing need or vacancies for such leadership. This recommendation allows for a proactive approach to leadership which allows for a profile to be compiled before the need and arises and allows leaders to be scouting such a leader before the time is pressing. With that, we will examine the effectiveness of such a leadership action plan.
How exactly will these recommendations increase effectiveness? In other words, what exactly will be the positive effect of implementing these changes? Firstly, technological initiatives directly improve mission fulfillment and goal attainment by providing a more excellent service, better training for staff, and a more complete development of student potential. The greatest hindrance to technological improvement has been lack of funding. However, future fund-raising efforts and campaigns should be geared toward improving our technological knowledge and expertise. This will greatly improve our goal attainment of delivering excellence in education and greatly help fulfill our mission of developing young people to their full potential.
Secondly, setting incremental and measurable goals increases awareness of the degree to which our efforts are effective. As discussed previously, we have no existing framework by which we can objectively evaluate our efforts to assess whether they are accomplishing the objectives we desire. Setting incremental and measurable goals will allow the leadership to examine various initiatives and programs and determine whether or not they should continue and how much more or less they should be resourced.
Finally, a pro-active approach to employee selection and training improves organizational culture and brings greater stability. In the past, staff hirings have largely been “emergency situations” in which no profiles have been compiled to see what individual would actually be the best fit for our organization and culture. This pro-active approach not only brings a sense of stability to those inside the organization, but it also improves organizational culture by each staff member being an intentional and strategic hire rather than an emergency hire who may stay for twenty years but who should have never been brought on to begin with.
Sustaining our strengths
These areas of information technology, adequate training for faculty and staff, realistic and measurable goal setting, and strategic hiring are all best accomplished by a servant leader and will lay a solid foundation for future sustainment and continued effectiveness. Since servant leaders generate enthusiasm and motivation by personally serving and working alongside staff members, they generate deep levels of trust between themselves and their staff (Landis, 2014). In this way, the initiatives are perceived as something which each staff member has an active voice and role in shaping. As for the initiatives themselves, the world of Information Technology is constantly evolving and will require a significant present investment if operations can be sustained and, ultimately, grow. Likewise, any organization can only grow as deep and wide as the staff serving filling the ranks. In this way, investing in the staff for proper training will not only positively impact organizational culture, but it will also create a sustainable foundation for future growth as their own capabilities increase. Finally, strategically targeting the right types of leaders for positions of leadership ensures that staff members can be led and managed in a direction consistent with organizational goals and desired outcomes. Each of these intiatives will lead to sustainability for Columbus Christian Academy.
Colvin, G. 2006. “The FedEx Edge,” Fortune, March 20 (available at http://money.cnn.com/2006/03/17/magazines/fortune/csuite_ fedex_fortune_040306/index.htm). Accessed June 9, 2019.
Dinh et al. (2014). “Leadership theory and research in the new millennium: Current theoretical trends and changing perspectives”. The Leadership Quarterly, Vol. 25, 36-62. Retrieved June 9, 2019.
Friedrich, T. L., Vessey, W. B., Schuelke, M. J., Ruark, G. A., & Mumford, M. D. (2009). “A framework for understanding collective leadership: The selective utilization of leader and team expertise within networks”. The Leadership Quarterly, 20, 933-958. doi:10.21236/ada544438
Hardy, J. H., Ness, A. M., & Mecca, J. (2017). “Outside the box: Epistemic curiosity as a predictor of creative problem solving and creative performance”. Personality and Individual Differences, 104, 230-237. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2016.08.004
Landis, E. A., Hill, D., & Harvey, M. R. (2014). “A synthesis of leadership theories and styles”. Journal of Management Policy and Practice, 15(2). Retrieved June 9, 2019.
Shahiduzzaman, M. & Khorshed, A. (2014). “Information technology and its changing roles to economic growth and productivity in Australia”. Telecommunications Policy, 38(2), 125- 135. Retrieved June 9, 2019.
Washington, R. R., Sutton, C. D., & Sauser, J. I. (2014). “How distinct is servant leadership theory? Empirical comparisons with competing theories”. Journal of Leadership, Accountability and Ethics, 11(1). Retrieved June 9, 2019.
Analyze Nonprofit Leadership Attributes and Traits to Serve Society
OLB 7008, Assignment 6
DuBose, Justin Z.
Dr. Rosalind Gaines
2 June 2019
As the Senior Pastor of Missionary Alliance Church, one of the foremost responsibilities includes overseeing Columbus Christian Academy. Columbus Christian Academy is a pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade private school which serves approximately one-hundred and sixty-five students and employs fifteen full-time personnel.
Conducting a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis is the first step in determining not only the present state of the organization, but also allows the leader to examine leadership theory and styles to make necessary adjustments for the betterment of the organization. As organization leadership is recognized as distinct from organizational management, it is the unique responsibility of organizational leaders to conduct such critical analysis of nonprofit organizations (Henricks & Henricks-Lepp, 2014). The SWOT analysis for the present state of Columbus Christian Academy is found below.
Table 1. SWOT Analysis for Columbus Christian Academy
1. Our current staff-to-student ratio of 1:12 is the lowest ratio in the county.
2. Our 30-acre campus is the largest physical campus in the county.
3. As a private school, we have greater flexibility over curriculum and course offerings than any other school.
1. Our current percentage of certified faculty (10%) is the lowest in the county.
2. Limited course offerings
3. We currently have no institutional faculty evaluation process.
1. Our athletic program has tremendous potential with good coaches and resources and should be invested in.
2. Our policy manual and employee handbook can be revised to align with organizational goals and vision.
3. The implementation of an institutional faculty evaluation process will encourage professional development.
1. Area schools with 100% certified faculty threaten our enrollment due to academic concerns.
2. Our limited course offerings limit the types of students attracted to our school.
3. Our large 30 acre campus creates additional security concerns and makes us more vulnerable to attacks.
In conducting a SWOT analysis for Columbus Christian Academy, certain key organizational strengths and weaknesses emerged. It was discovered, for example, that from the capacity dimension of human resources and organizational resources (Bourgeois, 2014), our Academy is operating at a very healthy capacity level. Our staff-to-student ratio of 1:12, our current campus size of 30 acres, and our operating budget of approximately $500,000 are all signs of healthy organizational capacity. However, it was in our areas of learning benefits and evaluation planning (Bourgeois, 2014) that we discovered the greatest gaps. This was evident primarily in our organizational areas of faculty certification, continuing education, and staff evaluations. Each of these areas were identified as weaknesses. No initial examination was undertaken of external factors. Thus, internally, there are several healthy factors upon which we can build, namely our faculty and their ability to spend more time with individual students. However, those same internal factors also serve as our greatest threats if we do not continue invest in and develop them professionally.
In examining Strengths and Weaknesses of Columbus Christian Academy, it was determined that faculty evaluations and broader course offerings were an area in which organizational capacity could see immediate improvement. Furthermore, a SWOT analysis reinforced the need for broader course offerings as other area schools were increasingly offering a broader selection of course offerings to students. This lack of a wide selection of course offerings was also a reason cited by multiple school families as a basis for leaving Columbus Christian Academy in exit interviews. Therefore, a strategic decision was made “based on both a thorough analysis and the integration of various internal and external considerations” to immediately address this organizational weakness and threat (Blackwell, 2014, p. 81). As for the other areas of faculty certification and continuing education, it was determined through the SWOT analysis that, while these were areas identified as weaknesses and threats, they were less of an immediate internal consideration than these other issues.
SWOT Analysis & Its Impact on Leadership
This SWOT analysis clearly illuminated internal and external factors effecting the organization, and these factors play an important role in determining the most appropriate leadership style and theory. The most difficult factor in this equation is the fact that the organizational environment is dynamic, constantly changing, and has numerous elements all impacting the organization simultaneously. Consequently, a leadership theory that is static in nature will not be sufficient to address the present, and future, leadership challenges, and this consequence is supported by recent studies and research within the subject of organizational leadership.
Ana Tyssen, in an article for the Project Management Journal, noted that “leadership in temporary settings is confronted with characteristics that are only partially addressed by established leadership theories” (Tyssen, 2013, p. 66). In defining temporary setting, Tyssen points to the constantly changing nature of the workplace, noting that the environment at any given point is temporary and subject to change. This thought is echoed by similar research, which concluded that “the 21st century competitive global environment is dynamic, complex, and multi-cultural, and necessitates a more rapid response to changes to survive” (Smith, 2014, p. 1611). In order to lead a twenty-first century organization such as Columbus Christian Academy to become a thriving – or, perhaps, even surviving – institution, a new leadership style will need to be explored and embraced by those in leadership positions.
Traditional Leadership Theories
Traditional theories of leadership were largely suited to traditional working environments which did not necessarily have the dynamics of a twenty-first century organization. Transactional leadership, for example, has been widely researched and written about, but Latham (2014) points out that it has largely been insufficient for modern organizations in preventing abuses of power among organizational leaders. This glaring failure of this traditional leadership theory leads to a breakdown of trust between leader and followers and initiates the general breakdown of a healthy and desirable workplace culture. Ignatius (2013) notes the necessity of such fundamental issues throughout an organization. “Without a foundation of trust, a company’s employees may comply outwardly with their leader’s wishes, but they’re much less likely to comply privately – to adopt the values, culture, and mission of the organization in a sincere, lasting way”, and such is one failure of certain traditional leadership theories in the modern workplace.
Another shortcoming of traditional leadership theories is that a great many fail to sufficiently differentiate between the concepts of leadership and management. Sanders (2014) makes note of this when he says that “a significant problem with the traditional leadership perspective is it contributes to the confusion about the difference between management and leadership, or that the distinction is even necessary” (Sanders, 2014, p. 140). In the modern workplace, this distinction is paramount as leaders must influence their workforce through casting a compelling vision, and enabling and empowering followers to become leaders themselves (Bacon, 2011). Management, as opposed to leadership, of employees is not only an obstacle to such objectives, but often can serve as a prohibiting factor to their accomplishment (Sanders, 2014).
Leadership Theory for Dynamic Organizations
More will be required of organizations and their leaders in this modern climate in order to survive. Achim Schmitt wrote on this subject in the Scandinavian Journal of Management and concluded that “organizations face increasing competition and constantly evolving market demands. Such ever-changing environmental conditions create situations of high environmental uncertainty in which firms are unable to obtain all the information necessary to accurately predict and measure the potential outcomes. The ability to respond and adapt to environmental changes has thus become a vital success factor for organizations (Schmitt, 2015, p. 7).” This ability to “respond and adapt” will be integral for organizational leaders in the present environment and, subsequently, new leadership theories must be developed. In addressing this need, Tyssen noted that, “lately, several researchers have combined transformational behavior characteristics with emotional leadership approaches, underlining the shift from merely task-oriented leadership to the complex sphere of social interaction” (Tyssen, 2013, p. 60). This synthesizing of established leadership theories, such as transformational leadership (Landis, 2014), will need to be combined with developing theories such as emotional leadership (Tyssen, 2013) in order to adequately address both the internal demands and external challenges. Theories are being researched and developed will can aid the twenty-first century leader in this exercise of organizational leadership.
Smith & Lewis (2011) have “theorized a model incorporating these various approaches that involves managing paradox by accepting tensions as inherent, and shifting between choosing and accommodating alternatives over time” (Smith, 2014, p. 1595). This growing reality of workplace paradoxes – a necessary consequence of a dynamic work environment – leads to organizational leaders having to constantly shift their focus to larger patterns as opposed to individual decisions. This leads them to, as one researcher noted, “embrace inconsistencies in decisions, rather than to strive for consistency” (Smith, 2014, p. 1608).
The internal and external forces which constantly impact Columbus Christian Academy will require a dynamic leadership style. The organization faces both internal as well as external challenges, and those challenges continue to mutate and grow. Frequently, the leadership will be simultaneously stretched to meet the changing demands of the educational economy, developments in technology, and the influx of new students and families. Additionally, the challenges of faculty professional development and campus maintenance present additional challenges. In order for Columbus Christian Academy to survive and thrive, it will require leadership which is not only visionary, but emotionally intelligent as well in order to compel and motivate followers to strive for success. While these challenges are not insurmountable, they will demand more than management and require a flexibility on the part of leadership which can properly balance workplace paradoxes.
Bacon, T. (2011, July). Influence and Leadership. Retrieved June 2, 2019, from http://www.theelementsofpower.com/index.cfm/power-and-influence-blog/influence- and-leadership/
Blackwell, R. & Eppler, D. (2014). " An Approach to Strategic Situation Analysis: Using Models as Analytical Tools ". The Journal of Global Business Management, 10(1), 80- 86. Retrieved June 2, 2019.
Bourgeois, I., Whynot, J., & Theriault, E. (2015). "Application of an organizational evaluation capacity self-assessment instrument to different organizations: Similarities and lessons learned". Evaluation and Program Planning, 50(1), 47-55. Retrieved June 2, 2019.
Henricks, S.A. & Henricks-Lepp, G.M. (2014). “Desired characteristics of management and leadership for public library directors as expressed in job advertisements”. Journal of Library Administration 54, 277-290. Retrieved June 2, 2019.
Ignatius, A. (2014, July-August). Influence and Leadership. Retrieved June 2, 2019, from https://hbr.org/2013/07/influence-and-leadership
Latham, J. R. (2014). “Leadership for quality and innovation: Challenges, theories, and a framework for future research”. Quality Management Journal, 21(1), 11-15. Retrieved June 2, 2019.
Sanders, C.G. (2014). "Why the positional leadership perspective hinders the ability of organizations to deal with complex and dynamic situations”. International Journal of Leadership Studies, 8(2), 136-150. Retrieved June 2, 2019.
Schmitt, A., & Klarner, P. (2015). “From snapshot to continuity: A dynamic model of organizational adaptation to environmental changes”. Scandinavian Journal of Management, 31(1), 3-13. doi:10.1016/j.scaman.2014.06.003
Smith, W. K. (2014). “Dynamic Decision Making: A Model of Senior Leaders Managing Strategic Paradoxes”. Academy of Management Journal, 57(6), 1592-1623. doi:10.5465/amj.2011.0932
Smith, W.K. & Lewis, M.W. (2011). “Toward a theory of paradox: A dynamic equilibrium model of organizing”. Academy of Management Review 36, 381-403. Retrieved June 2, 2019.
Tyssen, A. K., Wald, A., & Spieth, P. (2013). “Leadership in Temporary Organizations: A Review of Leadership Theories and a Research Agenda”. Project Management Journal, 44(6), 52-67. doi:10.1002/pmj.21380
NG, LR, NCU, USAR
My collection of personal papers written over the years