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Course Pearson BTEC Level 5 Higher National Diploma
Unit No. and Name Unit 17: Understanding and Leading Change
Unit code 17: A/508/0529
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Pass Merit Distinction Grades Awarded
LO1 Compare ways in which change impacts on an
organization’s strategy and operations.
LO1 & LO2
D1 Draw conclusions
for change and
P1 Compare different
where there has been an
impact of change on an
organization’s strategy and
M1 Assess the different
drivers for change in each of
the given examples and the
types of organizational
change they have affected
LO2 Evaluate the influences that drivers of change have on
P2 Evaluate the ways in
which internal and external
drivers of change affect
leadership, team and
individual behaviors within
P3 Evaluate measures that
can be taken to minimize
negative impacts of change
on organizational behavior.
M2 Apply appropriate
theories and models to
organizational response to
LO3 Determine how barriers to change influence
D2 Critically evaluate
the use of force field
analysis in the context
P4 Explain different
barriers for change and
determine how they
decision-making in a given
M3 Use force field analysis
to analyses the driving and
resisting forces and show
how they influence
LO4 Apply a range of leadership approaches to a change
D3 Critically evaluate
the effectiveness of
and models of change
P5 Apply different
leadership approaches to
dealing with change in a
range of organizational
M4 Evaluate the extent to
approaches can deliver
appropriate models and
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Over All Grade Distinction Date 20-Nov-17
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Assignment Title Understanding and Leading Change
LO 01 Compare ways in which change impacts on an organization’s strategy and operations.
LO 02 Evaluate the influences that drivers of change have on organization behavior.
LO 03 Determine how barriers to change influence leadership decision-making.
LO 04 Apply a range of leadership approaches to a change initiative.
Scenario – Case Study on General Electric (GE)
by Jeffrey R. Immelt
(Article adapted from Harvard Business Review)
A CEO has different tasks in different cycles. Some CEOs are founders and builders. Others have
the luxury of managing momentum through a stable economy or a period when business models
aren’t being disrupted. My task was different: remaking a historic and iconic company during an
extremely volatile time.
I led a team of 300,000 people for 6,000 days. I led through recessions, bubbles, and geopolitical
risk. I saw at least three “black swan” events. New competitors emerged, business models changed,
and we ushered in an entirely new way to invest. But we didn’t just persevere; we transformed the
company. GE is well positioned to win in the future.
The changes that took in the world from 2001, when I assumed the company’s leadership, to 2017
are too numerous to mention. The task of the CEO has never been as difficult as it is today. In that
vein, my story is one of progress versus perfection. The outcomes of my decisions will play out
over decades, but we never feared taking big steps to create long-term value.
For the past 16 years GE has been undergoing the most consequential makeover in its history. We
were a classic conglomerate. Now people are calling us a 125-year-old start-up—we’re a digital
industrial company that’s defining the future of the internet of things. Change is in our DNA: We
compete in today’s world to solve tomorrow’s challenges. We have endured because we have the
determination to shape our own future. Although we’re still on the journey, we’ve made great
strides in revamping our strategy, portfolio, global footprint, workforce, and culture. I want to share
what I’ve learned more broadly about how to lead a giant organization through massive changes.
There are several lessons.
First, you must be disciplined and focused. You need a point of view. Your initiatives should be
interconnected—and it’s the leader’s job to connect the dots for everyone in the organization. All
the major initiatives we implemented during my tenure as CEO were aimed at making GE one of
the 21st century’s most valuable technology-driven industrial companies—one that can grow; one
that can generate greater productivity for ourselves and our customers.
The second lesson concerns the journey a leader must embark on before undertaking a
transformation. You have to go through a period of rewiring your brain—getting yourself to the
point of profoundly believing that the world is changing and that the survival of your company
depends on either anticipating the change or being in the vanguard of those reacting to it.
Third, you have to get people in your organization to see the need for change as existential.
Fourth, you have to be all in—you must make a bold, sustained commitment to the transformation.
Fifth, you must be resilient. I subscribe to the words of the great philosopher Mike Tyson, who
said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” It is so difficult to predict events. It
is difficult to sustain transformation during tough times, but it’s the only way to create a better
Sixth, during the transformation you have to listen and act at the same time. You need to allow new
thoughts to constantly come in, and you need to be open to the reality that your organization will
have to pivot when it learns something new, while still having the courage to push people forward.
Finally, you must embrace new kinds of talent, a new culture, and new ways of doing things. We
have hired tens of thousands of people—managers at all levels; software developers and engineers;
data scientists; and folks in sales, marketing, HR, and other functions—many of them outside the
United States. In 2001, 43% of our workforce was outside the United States; today 65% is.
Before delving into each lesson, I’ll describe the transformations we’ve undertaken.
During my time at the helm, we did five things that were transformative. We radically changed our
portfolio by focusing on our core industrial businesses and divesting slower-growth, low-tech, and
nonindustrial businesses (except for the portion of GE Capital that supports our industrial
businesses). We reestablished GE as a technology company: I more than doubled our investment in
R&D. We became a truly global company, with a strong local presence in the 180 countries we
serve. We became a major force in the technologies that will drive productivity in this era: the
industrial internet and additive manufacturing. And we made GE a vastly simpler company in terms
of how it runs—it now has much less administration and shorter cycle times, is more decentralized,
and is more willing to let people deep in the organization who are close to their markets take risks
without having to undergo multiple reviews.
All these transformations dovetailed to a certain extent. They were intended to focus us on creating
value for customers by making our core businesses leaner, faster, more technical, and more global,
and putting them on the cutting edge of the digital age. They have positioned the company to be
more valuable over time.
Even before becoming CEO, I believed that the company couldn’t simultaneously be good at media,
pet insurance, and making jet engines. We had come out of an era when many at GE believed that a
good manager could manage anything. I didn’t buy that. I thought that companies—and business
leaders—were good at certain things.
When I became CEO, the world was changing. The 9/11 tragedy had a dramatic impact on several
of our businesses. The power and pension bubbles—big drivers of our earnings growth in the late
1990s—came to an abrupt end. And in the background, the Enron saga made transparency a priority
for every company.
Our portfolio was simply too broad and too opaque. One business had no idea what another
business did. No one in leadership really understood the GE Capital balance sheet. And many of our
industrial businesses had commoditized.
Another theme of our transformations was the desire to use our scale to drive growth and efficiency.
I have long felt that nothing is worse than a big company that can’t grow organically. I never
wanted GE to be a $100-billion-plus company that had flat lined on organic growth. We
conceptualized the GE Store, a global knowledge exchange. The idea is to build capabilities that can
be shared across our businesses: horizontal strengths that can be harnessed to create scale-based
innovation and dominant global distribution.
Connected to that were my beliefs that the days of 4% annual growth in the developed economies
were over and that the forces of economic nationalism would only gain strength. When GDP is
growing by 4% a year, no business is hard. When GDP is growing by 1% a year, no business is
easy, so you’ve got to be percolating new and different ideas. That meant figuring out how to
innovatively leverage technologies that would allow us and our customers to achieve leaps in
productivity. And it meant getting into faster-growth parts of the world at scale.
Finally, simplification was all about reallocating resources to fund more growth and identify and
solve customers’ problems better. When companies are slow, it is typically a sign that their costs are
in the wrong place. One of the reasons big companies fail is that they don’t think they can afford
something and aren’t willing to free up the resources to make bold moves. We are investing heavily
in making GE a digital industrial company.
Now I’ll turn to what I’ve learned about leading transformations.
The leader has to be disciplined about nesting initiatives within one another—showing how each
one fits with the rest—and staying away from new ideas that don’t fit. For example, we couldn’t do
digital industrial until we’d focused the portfolio, made the right investments in technology—which
led to a huge backlog of service agreements—and simplified the culture. When we talk about
becoming a digital industrial company and deepening our global presence, we mean making the
portfolio deeper, not broader.
Good leaders, good CEOs, are curious. They are absorbing information about potentially important
trends and developments all the time, but they don’t instantly react to them. They contemplate them.
They read about them. They listen to internal and external experts with a variety of perspectives.
They engage in what I call a “soak period” before they reach a conclusion about what the input
means for their company and how to act on it. A leader needs a long soak period mainly because of
the tremendous amount of personal fortitude required to drive lasting change in a big organization.
You must be profoundly convinced that the company must transform itself—that it’s a matter of life
or death—because when you start the play, you will immediately get pushback.
Make It Existential
Every time we drove a big change, I treated it as if it were life or death. If you can instill that
psychology in your management group, you can get transformation.
I taught twice a month in the executive development programs at our Crotonville campus, in
Ossining, New York, where I could reach people three or four levels down in the organization.
When there, I might say, “Guys, if we don’t become the best technology company in the world,
we’re doomed, we’re dead.” And when I talked about digital industrial, I’d say, “There’s no Plan B.
There’s no other way to get there. Who’s coming with me? What’s in your way? What do we need
to be doing differently?”
Another crucial way I enlisted people in the cause was by forging personal relationships. One
weekend a month, a GE officer and his or her spouse would have dinner with my wife, Andrea, and
me at our home. The next morning, I’d spend four hours talking with him or her. I’d say, “Tell me
what’s important in your business. What do you think we should do at GE? What are you working
on? What else do you want to do?” Those weekends were a way to hear perspectives I might not get
otherwise. In addition, they gave me a chance, person by person, to build deep connections, which
are important in driving change.
Be All In
Half measures are death for big companies, because people can smell lack of commitment. When
you undertake a transformation, you should be prepared to go all the way to the end. You’ve got to
be all in. You’ve got to be willing to plop down money and people. You won’t get there if you’re a
wuss. Look at the billions of dollars we’ve invested in our digital capabilities and addit ive
Transformation requires staying power. At GE, we had a pretty good track record of investing
through a crisis, particularly in technology and globalization. For example, we doubled our
investment in commercial engine technology from 2009 to 2012. Our competitors did not. That
explains why at this year’s Paris Air Show we booked $30 billion in orders and our competitors
booked about a couple billion.
I hate to say it, but transformation takes time. If change is easy, it is not sustainable. You need a
thick skin to see it through. In the capital markets, two ideas—unlocking value and creating value—
get thrown around almost as if they were interchangeable, but they are not. Unlocking value
frequently means strategic capitulation for short-term gain. Creating value is the result of long-term
investing—for example, when M&A activity to acquire technology or market access or position is
ultimately connected to a longer-term value proposition. It’s harder to appreciate such moves if
you’re using only a short-term lens.
I led GE during the financial crisis. Those were very lonely days. Despite our portfolio work, our
financial services businesses were still too big in 2008, when Lehman Brothers went down. It was
my fault. But we didn’t stop or point fingers. Most of the aviation engine technology that is
allowing us to gain share today is a result of investments we made during the financial crisis. We
fixed the problems. And a better company emerged.
Transformation takes grit. It requires risk taking. Many large companies change their CEOs every
three to five years; GE’s CEOs have tenures that are a multiple of that. This is because driving
change at scale is an imperfect science. It takes time and resiliency.
Be Willing to Pivot
One of the hardest challenges in driving change is allowing new information to come in constantly
and giving yourself the chance to adapt while still having the courage to act and push people
forward. There’s a tension: Even as you’re making a major commitment of resources, you’ve got to
be open to pivoting on the basis of what you learn, because you’re unlikely to get the strategy
perfect out of the gate. Nothing we’ve done has ever turned out exactly as it began.
One of the things I’ve said during every transformation is, “We’re on a 40-step journey. Today
we’re on step 22. I don’t know exactly what step 32 looks like yet. But we’re going to explore that
together. And we will do whatever it takes to be successful. We’re going to win.”
There’s a broader leadership point. Even on my floor of GE headquarters, the people I worked with
wanted to go home every night with all the answers in their briefcases. I went home every night
knowing I had none of the answers yet and that it was OK to let things come to you.
Embrace New Kinds of Talent
A company our age simply couldn’t do the things we’re trying to do with our core population. We
needed a cadre of people who hadn’t grown up in the company. That required me to protect those
people until they were truly integrated and to be open to building a new culture, new ways of doing
things, and new thoughts.
The leader has to defend a new group for as long as it takes for the core culture to pivot so that
unification takes place. For example, a guy in GE Aviation once complained to me, “Predix doesn’t
have all the features I want right now.” Understanding that creating good software is an iterative
process, I reminded him that when GE Aviation designed the GEnx engine, which powers Boeing’s
747-8 jetliner and 787 Dreamliner, it designed the low-pressure turbine wrong the first time.
“You’ve got to be more supportive of your colleagues,” I admonished him.
You can’t have a transformation without revamping the culture and the established ways of doing
things. In our case, that has meant choosing speed over bureaucracy and killing the bureaucracy,
employing new ways to recruit talent, and retaining the best people by giving them an opportunity
We have changed—and are continuing to change—our culture and operating rhythm enormously.
We’ve radically changed our values, which are integrated into everything we do, including our
language, to signal that we are in the middle of a reinvention. For example, one of our old Growth
Values was “external focus.” It underscored the importance of collaborating with customers and
other stakeholders, but it wasn’t dynamic. Contrast that with two new GE Beliefs, “Customers
determine our success” and “Deliver results in an uncertain world.” They are much more
aspirational, forward-focused, and action-oriented. The speed and entrepreneurial spirit you see in
the company today reflect the GE Beliefs.
This is still very much a process-driven company. But what’s changed since the 1990s is that in a
protectionist, slow-growth world, you can’t succeed just by excelling in a process like Six Sigma.
It’s banking big ideas that will get you there. Process is the means to methodically achieving great
ideas at scale; it’s important, but it’s not an end itself. Companies get into trouble when process—
not outcomes for customers—becomes the endgame.
My legacy at GE will be a complicated one. In our core businesses, earnings have tripled during my
tenure. Our $324 billion backlog is up more than $150 billion in the past decade. We have record-
high market share. Our financial performance has outpaced that of our peers over the past five
years. We have paid more in dividends during my tenure than during the previous 110 years of GE
history combined. Nonetheless, our P/E ratio has gone from 40:1 to 17:1 in the past decade, and the
stock price has underperformed. Thus it is with transformation.
It will take years for GE to fully reap the benefits of the transformations. But as I contemplate my
departure, I love where the company is positioned. I love what we’re targeting. The company in
2001 was certain that the future would look like the past. The company in 2017 is ready for any
future. I’m confident that I’m handing over a company that will flourish in the 21st century.
(Jeffrey R. Immelt will be the chairman of General Electric until the end of 2017. He served as its
CEO and chairman from September 2001 to August 2017).
Use the provided GE case study, and choose another organisation of your choice which
has undergone major changes in the recent past. You will have to explore more about
changes done in GE, as well as the changes planned and done by your chosen company.
The submission should be made in the form of a comparative report between GE and the
chosen organisation, and should include answers to the following questions given below:
1. Give a brief overview of major changes that have occurred in GE and your chosen
organisation. A PEST/SWOT analysis should be undertaken for each case to
identify and assess the drivers of change. Compare and analyse how these large
scale changes have impacted each of these organisation’s strategy and operations?
2. Evaluate how these internal and external drivers of change have affected
leadership, individuals and team behaviour within the businesses. Using the change
management theories and models, evaluate measures that were taken to minimise
negative impacts of change on the businesses. Critically evaluate thereafter how
the organisations responded to these changes.
3. Finally, your comparative report should draw out valid conclusions and
recommendations with justifications for planning the change effectively by doing a
good change impact analysis, wherein you clearly bring out what were the change
deliverables planned and how did these impact business strategy and operations.
The submission should be made by using only the given case study on GE, while
answering the following questions given below:
4. Using the given GE case study, explain different barriers of change that came in the
way of company, and how did these barriers influence leadership‘s decision making
abilities. Apply Kurt Lewin’s force field analysis change model to determine
opposition and support for changes sought by GE, and critically evaluate how all
this helped GE to meet its organisational objectives.
5. Using change management and leadership theories and models (for example,
situational leadership, change initiation, Kotter’s 8-Step model, Lewin’s change
management model, etc.), give out the advantages and disadvantages of different
leadership approaches dealing with change. Thereafter apply different leadership
approaches required to deal with the specific changes sought by GE. Evaluate how
the change was accomplished through adopted leadership approaches and critically
evaluate how successful was it?
Please ensure that the specific requirements of the M and D grade descriptors are addressed for achieving
higher grades. Remember that each of the M and D grade descriptors requirements have to be addressed
within each of the corresponding P criteria(s) itself while answering any specific question(s) given below. DO
NOT try and answer the M and D grade descriptors separately as a separate task.
The submission on the LMS is in the form of an individual written report for Part 1 and answers to questions
asked in Part 2. These should be written in a concise, formal business style using single spacing and font size
10. You are required to make use of headings, paragraphs and subsections as appropriate, and all work must
be supported with research and referenced using the Harvard Referencing System. Please also provide a
bibliography using the Harvard Referencing System. The recommended word limit is 4,000–4,500 words,
although you will not be penalized for exceeding the total word limit.
UNDERSTANDING AND LEADING
Part 1: The submission should be made in the form of a comparative report between
GE and the chosen organisation, and should include answers to the following questions
1. Give a brief overview of major changes that have occurred in GE and your chosen
organisation. A PEST/SWOT analysis should be undertaken for each case to identify
and assess the drivers of change. Compare and analyse how these large scale changes
have impacted each of these organisation’s strategy and operations?
About General Electric:-
April 15.1892; 125 years ago
Thomas Edison, Charles A.
Coffin, Rlihu THomson and
Edwin J. Houston
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