In this case study, it explored some of the major hurdles of handling a significant executive change at Simmons, which was a well established and traditional company that mass-produced and disseminated mattresses. Charlie Eitel, the newly employed CEO of Simmons was hired to make some major changes with the organizations performance, which he planned on doing, by implementing an untraditional training program called Great Game of Life Program. This paper will cover whether or not Simmons should implement the Great Game of Life Program, what was the objective of the program (GGOL), how the Charlottes Pride video influenced me on the program (GGOL), and what steps need to be taken in order for the program (GGOL) to be successful. Implementing Great Game of Life at Simmons
I believe the Great Game of Life should be implemented. The company appeared to have some serious issues, and were inundated by its culture of autocracy where there seemed to be no sense of unit culpability. In fact, it appeared that none of the 18 units in Simmons were unified and even in times of calamity the units were never willing to lend a helping hand to each other. Now, combine the internal problems with the co-workers and the financial situation where Simmons lost three of its best and most lucrative clients, along with the inventory loss because of meager quality foam, it was essential to reclaim the organization by introducing some inspiring team life between the Simmons employees. As I looked at the issues that were prevalent within the company, it became very obvious that there had to be a program implemented that focused on unity among the different units, focus on team building, reduce the power distance, and motivate employees. There are many components that can be used to facilitate this goal.
Looking at Eitel and his ideas to bring both cultural and structural change in the company by implementing the Great Game of Life Program, I believe the program would assist with these organizational changes and be successful. The Great Game of Life Program started a better value of communication to the employees by Eitel implementing some of Servant Leaderships characteristics, like caring and empowering. By bringing this kind of communication to the company, it made it easier for employees to understand the company’s goals and values. This made Simmons a better company to work for because the language barricades no longer segregate the employees from what the organization is about. Objective of Great Game of Life
The objective of the Great Game of Life was to take s step towards breaking down the communication barriers between the employees and managers. The program was designed to foster individual growth, to help people “make better choices in order to live a better life through choosing growth over fear.” (Casciaro & Edmondson, 2007, p. 6). The purpose behind this was to drive the values of interdependence, direction, and working together into the employees. Tasks that were difficult before were now made easier with teamwork and some encouragement. By these simple changes, the employees were motivated and brought this motivation to their work as well. The Great Game of Life purpose was to enhance the team communication in order to simplify better customer gratification. Influence of Charlotte’s Pride Video
After reviewing the video, I was even more influenced by the program (Great Game of Life). The video showed the program facilitated an open communication amongst all employees from the “bottom up” and they were all motivated. At the end of the video, one employee states “Am I my brother keeper…Yes I am”, referring to not only his fellow employees but to the customers and the success of the organization. This employee like the many others on the video are invested into the organizations mission, vision and values through the successful implementation of the Great Game of Life Program.
By having motivated employees, who are the anchor of any organization, is a benefit to the company at many levels. The efficient and motivated workforce will bring the company unlimited success. I believe there are many different ingredients that can influence an employee’s output but a truly motivated employee always gives their best to the company. Mr. Eitel has found a way to motivate the employees of Simmons, which resulted in leading the company to the path of success. Steps to Implement Change with Simmons
In order for change to be implemented and work within any organization, there has to be careful planning and building the proper foundation. If you become too impatient with the process, and expect too much too soon, your plans for change may dematerialize. To make this change with Simmons, I would propose using Kotter’s 8 Step Process. The first three step would be the following: Step One: Create Urgency
This task can be time consuming at first but I believe with the way the company is heading financially by losing three of the top financial supporters, this may be an open opportunity for Eitel to sell the Great Game of Life Program. The company is looking at some difficult financial roads ahead and a major change is needed in order to the organization to succeed. So, in this case the sense of urgency has created itself through financial hardships. Step Two: Form a Powerful Coalition
This step is the most important for Eitel and the Simmons Company because by not being able to establish a “guiding coalition” will derail the project before it can begin. Here, Eitel will need to gain support from the line level supervisors or “the backbone supervisors” of the organization. At this level, employees will be able to relate to the vision and trust the decisions being made because these supervisors are “in the trenches” working with them. Step Three: Create a Vision for Change
This is one of the most important steps to ensure you are successful in implementing change. First and foremost the leader of the change needs to ask themselves what they really want for the change? So in line with making the Simmons organization more efficient by creating a more improved workforce, I would want a vision statement based on the improvement of employee relationships and quality work environment. This should aid in the success of creating better relationships with the customers. Emotional Elements Associated with Change
When I think about emotions associated with change the first thing that comes to mind is denial and resistance. I believe these are some of the most natural reactions to change because employees often expect the worst-case scenario when change is introduced. The management needs to make sure that the reaction is properly managed so that the change does not affect employee morale and performance. I think in order for the change to be managed, the employees participation must be encouraged and even appropriately rewarded. If the management knows and understands the emotions being displayed, by the employee, during the change then they will know how to simplify the change process so they can be met with a commitment instead of resistance. In the end, the employer should make the employees get comfortable with being uncomfortable about change. Conclusion
In the end, Simmons organization, a 100 plus year old company took on major changes when Lee Partners acquired the company. The company was acquired and the Great Game of Life program was implemented to create work culture designed to be exciting and promote positive energy that supports employees and emphasized teamwork. Eitel’s implementation of the program was a positive success bringing the company from a negative income to becoming high revenue company yielding nearing a billion dollars by the end of 2004. The choice to make the significant change at Simmons was needed and the financial statistics shows the program was a positive change leading to the company’s bright future.
Casciaro, T., & Edmondson, A. C. (2007). Leading Change at Simmons. Harvard Business School, 9-406-046(1), 1-15.