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Managing and Leading Strategic Change - Essay Example

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This paper is an attempt to explore, analyze, and critically look at the strategic change that Gordon Bethune was able to bring in Continental Airlines during the later half of the 1990s and early 2000s. …
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Managing and Leading Strategic Change
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Download file to see previous pages to the company (and later taking on the post of COO and President whereas Bethune would remain the CEO and Chairman), introduced a “Go Forward Plan” which had four parts, aimed at putting the company back on track in 1995. The four pats were the market plan: “Fly to Win, The Financial Plan: Fund the Future, The Product Plan: Make Reliability a Reality, The People Plan: Working Together.” The plan was to implement all these changes simultaneously, since they would create a multiplier effect (Hartley, pp. 78-84, 2010). Implementation and Leading this Strategic Change (Go Forward Plan) Bethune knew that despite this plan was approved by board of directors with all the trust, confidence and enthusiasm, employees would view this plan with all possible suspicion and mistrust. Therefore, the first thing, which Bethune did, was to open the doors of the executive lounge of Continental, which had been protected from any visitors since many years like some castle. Employees now need only to show their IDs and gain entrance into Bethune’s office. After opening the doors for employees, Bethune initiated a new ritual of arranging open houses at the end of each month at the Houston headquarters. Just to ensure that employees feel comfortable around executive, the concept of causal Fridays came into being, except for the employees who had direct dealings with customers (Palmer, Dunford & Akin, pp. 284-285, 2008). One of the previous managements of Continental had tried to repaint all the planes but failed to complete the same due to limited financing and immense pressure for cost cutting. As of late 1994, the planes were in the same condition, not painted uniformly. Bethune felt that repainting the planes would send a message of revival, newness, and better operations to the...
Managing and Leading Strategic Change

Since 1983, nine different CEOs who came in with the slogan of change, tried their luck and as the figures show, they were not very successful. Not only the company was in trouble from the financial side but as it has been mentioned above, that the company was surrounded by trouble from all directions. High turnover, infighting between employees and departments, employee absences, use of sick time, customer complaints, and highest number of mishandled baggage reports, ranking last in terms of on time arrival and others would just be a glance at the terrible conditions in which “Continental Airlines” was still somehow surviving. It was in February 1994, when Gordon Bethune took the charge of the company as the Chief Operating Officer and President and later in that year as the CEO as well, he knew that the company needed a hardcore strategic change and strong implementation of that change as well. Quite understandably, it was his responsibility to do the same.

Important here to note is that the whole change process that Bethune implemented at Continental was in line with eight steps of change presented by John Kotter, professor of leadership at Harvard Business Review in Boston. This is one those strategic change implementation models, which has been praised and acclaimed by many different authors in their writings and analysis. Let us a have a brief analysis of the same. Kotter’s first step is about creating urgency for change. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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