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Leadership in Managing Change: Spark NZ

1.Describe and evaluate the effectiveness of leadership processes that Spark NZ underwent by initiating the company change under scoring the following steps:[10 Marks]

Step1: Leadership Orientation and Commitment

Step 2 : Assessment of the Business and the Organisation Step 3: Development of Strategy and Vision

Step 4: Chartering the Change Process

Step 5: Management of Business Performance

2.Describe and evaluate the effectiveness of leadership practices implemented by Spark NZ in their organisational change highlighting the following endeavours: (10 Marks]

  • Modelling the way
  • Inspiring a shared vision
  • Challenging the process Enabling others to act
  • Encouraging the heart

3.   Critique the relevance of leadership purposes imbibed by Spark NZ in their organizational change focusing on the following elements.                                                                           

  • Vision Setting
  • Motivation
  • Mentoring/Coaching
  • Team building
  • Directing
  • Training

Answer

Leadership Process

Introduction

This assignment is provided to understand the importance of the exemplary leadership in managing change. The case is provided to relate the concepts and theories with respect to the Spark NZ and their decision to change the name of the company from Telecom NZ in 2014 under the leadership of Simon Moutter the Managing Director of Spark GM Home, Mobile & Business. The following questions will be addressed and provide answers for each of the steps to initiate the change management.

Describe and evaluate the effectiveness of leadership processes that Spark NZ underwent by initiating the company change underscoring the following steps:

Step 1: Leadership Orientation and Commitment

Taking into consideration the provided case of the rebranding and the renaming of the Spark NZ formerly of Telecom NZ it seems that the orientation of the leadership stylewas more of relationship-oriented approach (Ibidunni et al. 2018). According to the Spark GM Home, Mobile & Business Jason Paris wanted to clean up the telecom market proving fair price strategy where everyone else in the market was hiking the price. The initiative by “Walking Back Slowly” taken by the Managing Director Simon Moutterwhich provided value-added services along with products that were competitively positioned (Kerr and Bennett 2014). The strategy regained the company's growth at the time when the telecom industry in NZ was facing dormancy. The insightful background checks which lead to the rebranding of Spark NZ from telecom wereimproving the customer relationship which was lacking previously. The rebranding would necessarily meet the expectations customers had from the company in term of technology, innovation and relationship development. Chris Quin, the CEO of the Mobile & Business Divisions of Spark, showed immense commitment towards the initiative.  

Step 2: Assessment of the Business and the Organisation

The Spark NZ has been able to rebrand their business practices from the time it was Telecom NZ. The Telecom NZ’s business strategy was vertically integrating now which under the new name Spark NZ is more focused on the retail customer operation (Kerr and Bennett 2014). The division with Chorus added benefit and freedom to Spark with the current competitive advantages as Chorus took the regulatory divisions. This put the Spark management in the level that they needed to start in order to reconfigure the business and over the challenges of the telecommunication industry in NZ. The separation of the network from the services and products paved the way for the development of the telecommunications industry as a whole (Calvo-Mora et al. 2015). The organisational changes dealt with governmental regulations of the network and related laws making it more agile in operational functions. The Spark NZ was able to focus on improving the services and products to its customers and making them a priority. However, the organisation still maintained using state of the art fixed line and mobile phone services as Telecom did so as not to reduce the quality of services. 

Step 3: Development of Strategy and Vision

The vision of Spark NZ was to help the population of NZ make the most of networking services by designing, building and marketing. The company wanted to build a workforce who would provide effortless customer services both on and offline outlets. The strategy undertaken by Spark NZ was initiated through the Turnaround Programme which was focussed on gathering talented candidates were providing insightful solutions to the customer demands (Kerr and Bennett 2014). Based on the visions the company published values and codes for professional standards which would be rewarded based on the employee recognition programme. The organisational culture is focussed on building a strong and constructive working culture within the organisation. The immediate strategy of Spark NZ was focussed in conversing with customers and staffs about qualitative and quantitative measures to find the areas of improvement (França et al. 2017). The company got access to the customer data which was not previously available to improve the customer relationship. The next important aspect was making sure that the promotional offers were being provided to the customers. 

Step 4: Chartering the Change Process

The motion of change was focussed on transforming the operations on traditional fixed to a more focused future, a competitive retailer of digital services motivated to deliver over the Cloud-based networks (Simatupang et al. 2016). The change management was divided into two successive strategies. The first stage of change management was to gain stability over the revenue margin and reduce the cost of production for the business aftercompletion of the phase the second stage where the growth of the market would be initiated in terms of revenue collection along with improving the unit costs. However, like any other form of organisational change Spark, NZ faced resistance from the employees and hindered the business processes. There was a significant uproar in the social media among the employees in the changing name; however, the company showed compassion in handling the concern. The Head of the Human Resources Department in Spark, Wendy Hammonds ho thinks that the resistance towards the change is reflective of the passion the employees for the company (Kerr and Bennett 2014). 

Step 5: Management of Business Performance

The company took a number of steps to manage the business performances in the organization the first was to focus the business of the company in only the NZ market. The next step was to undertake a multi-brand and competitive approach to provide the customer with what they need. The third step was to successfully obtain the rights to rebrand the company’s name and business practice and establish Telecom as Spark NZ (Kerr and Bennett 2014). Focus the business investments by leading the fixed and wireless data networks in the country. Reform the IT re-engineering strategy to initiate the changes in the network logistics by fifty percent. Initiate the Turnaround Programme within the organisation which will improve the productivity of the workforce and improve the overall business effectiveness and efficiency. Make plans to penetrate the Internet TV market and Cloud IT services market in NZ for business expansion. Facilitate the Ventures Divisions to launch a variety of business ideas and services in the digital service market (Grønholdt et al. 2015). Lastly, the company Sparks NZ wanted to improve the organisational culture by promoting employee engagement and health benefits to keep them motivated to work for the company. 

Describe and evaluate the effectiveness of leadership practices implemented by Spark NZ in their organisational change highlighting the following endeavours-

Modelling the way

For many years the telecommunications industry in NZ had been flatlining with reports suggesting that the market growth in the industry had only increased 0.2% in three years (Kerr and Bennett 2014). The reasons for such stagnancy were the increase in the number of competitors in the telecommunication business who offered similar plans but failed to provide the quality of the network. Additionally, there was the end of the autonomy in market capital by one or two main companies. The leader and Managing Director of the Telecom NZ Simon Moutter announced in 2014 the name change and rebranding of the company to Spark NZ. The company was successful in letting go of the old and traditional business operations of the company which was heavily reliant on the landline services and undertook a newer digital telecommunication system for their customers (Kerr and Bennett 2014). The MD made it clear that the company aspires to cater to the needs of the customers in order to gain supremacy in the telecommunication business in NZ. The company was successful in setting an example by letting go of their Chorus division which was specialised in providing telecommunications infrastructure in NZ, and that helped Spark disburden themselves from dealing government regulation of network management.

Inspiring a shared vision

It is essential to inspire the workforce before driving a change in the organisation and for effective implementation of the business plan. The leaders initiated the change by clarifying their new set of values for the organisation. The company decided to promote the customer-centric business values and to guide the employees to provide those services. Active listening, straightening up, sticking in and working together were the values they initiated. The company enlisted their employees who would provide effortless customer services both on and offline outlets. The strategy undertaken by Spark NZ was initiated through the turnaround programme which was focussed on gathering talented candidates were providing insightful solutions to the customer demands. Based on the visions the company published values and codes for professional standards which would be rewarded based on the employee recognition programme. 

Challenging the process

In change management, the leaders are expected to effectively challenge the current scenario and take risks in order to progress in business (Hammer 2015). The Spark NZ formerly known as the Telecom NZ had decided to play differently in the telecommunication business. They wanted to change the way the business worked in the NZ regions and be free from the dependence of landline-based communication to a more digitised mobile network service. This requires risk taking which was well executed by Simon Moutter Spark NZ’s MD when he decided to make Chorus a separate business. The largesttelecommunications infrastructure provider in NZ and disburden themselves from the government regulations with respect to network laws. This could have a tremendous failure for the part of the business, but the leader showed exceptional insight and foresight for the future implications of the rebranding strategy. The political and legal scenario of the NZ telecommunication industry definitely did set up the opportunity for growth for the company but it was equally important to take audacious steps to gain market capital. According to the leaders defending to keep Chorus would have meant that the company was rigid about the ageing copper network which would soon perish under the influence of the government-subsidised fibre competitor.

Enabling others to act

The leaders need to foster collaboration with other companies in order to strengthen the business opportunities for other smaller sectors in order to be completely successful in their venture (Swint 2017). In this case Spark NZ decided to partner with Spotify and to transform the mobile devices into WiFi hotspots to attract the attention of the younger generation. Additionally, the company invested in providing 4G connections at an affordable price. The company funded the inauguration of 29 local business hubs in NZ which helped them understand the local customer’s perspective and expectations. 

Encouraging the heart

According to the theorists Kouzes and Posner it is essential that the leader must be passionate in their work in order to inspire others (Kouzes 2015). The duty of the leaders is to invoke similar enthusiasm they have for their business into the workforce and the organisation. The amount of enthusiasm would be reflected in the efforts the employees put in their productivity and business outcome. Leaders in the most effective form recognise the talents among their workforce and seek them to merge with the team contributions into their projects to obtain success. The accomplishments should be celebrated irrespective of the scale of importance regularly to keep the motivation and enthusiasm alive in the organization In case of the Spark NZ, and the leaders were efficient to introduce values that would inspire them to work in accordance to the new business processes. The leaders of the company were also patient to allow the resistance among the employees regarding name changing sink in and slowly gain the change management. This would help the employees feel engaged with the business process change. The company also has renewed its employee recognition policy to keep them motivated and accept the changes with respect to the organisational process. 

Critique the relevance of leadership process imbibed by Spark NZ in their organisational change focusing on the following elements

Vision/Mission Setting

According to the authors Sun and Leithwood (2015), the importance of setting vision/mission lies in inspiring the employees who are not driven by appreciation or fear but rather the ability of the leaders to capture the imagination and latent desires. The setting vision is as important as it is to communicate it within the workforce in order to shape its execution. The MD set a clear vision to show that the company aspires to cater to the needs of the customers in order to gain supremacy in the telecommunication business in NZ. The company was successful in their mission of being the telecommunications giants in NZ by letting go of their telecommunications infrastructure provider division Chorus which was specialised in providing in NZ, and that helped Spark disburden from dealing government regulation of network management. 

Motivation

The authors Martin et al. (2014) opined that the effectiveness of the leaders is to seek ways in which they can energise the employees for promoting future-oriented strategies. This motivated the employees to work harder under the new organisational culture for the sustainable future. As seen in case of the Spark NZ it can be said that the leaders had the vision of a long and sustainable future where they would obtain supremacy over the telecommunications business. The motivation can also be provided to the employees in the form of employee benefits and appraisals which the Spark NZ provides in their Turnaround Programme. 

Mentoring/Coaching

This is also another important aspect of the effective leadership strategies where it is required for the leaders to guide and mentor their employees for excellence. According to the works of (Joseph 2016) the Spark NZ, the leaders efficiently handled the coaching of employees to adopt the new set of values and principles in the rebranded organisation. This was essential to coach the existing employee's and adjust to the change within the organisations and develop a more customer-centric performance. In agreement with the perspective of the authors, the MD Simon Moutter shaped the values of the organization with respect to the changing organizational and functional operations.

Teambuilding

The research journal presented by Kouzes (2015) showed that leaders need to be hardworking to achieve the extraordinary things in life. Taking into the individual contribution and the employees, recognise their strengths, weakness and build teams. This would help in keeping the determination alive, recognise talent and mutual appreciation. The team leaders can also be a part of the strategic decision-making process and effectively contribute to the business performance.   

Directing

This approach to leadership is also important according to Wheelen et al. (2017) who believed that the employees should be properly conveyed with the roles, responsibilities and instructions for completing a task. This provides clarity in the communication process and the expectations of the employees. This is effective in improving the performance of the employees, and in turn, the efficiency of the business operations is maintained. The recruitment of employees is done on the basis of the requirements of the job role which is explained before the interview or in the advertisement.  

Training

The authors Hernández-Perlines et al. (2016) opined that constant learning is important for the growth of the business in the organisation. The technological advancements which are reshaping the business processes need to be properly addressed to the employees. Training and development policies and programs help to increase the competency of the employees in this context. The managers monitoring the work of the employees evaluate the training needs based on the performances of the employees. The training programs are then arranged for the benefit of the employees. 

Conclusion

It can be concluded from the above work that organisational changes are direct implications of the leadership approached undertaken by the executive members of the business. The answers to the questions have been thoroughly discussed to provide insight into effective leadership, organisational culture and change management. The case of the Spark NZ and their decision to rebrand themselves for the telecommunications market in NZ had a good example of exemplary leadership. 




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