What I have learned about HRD

            What is Human Resource Development (HRD)? I might not be specific in my answer if I have to define this term before this class. However, through this course I have learned that the term HRD refers to learning, performance, and change, which will bring about change to organizational effectiveness according to Gilley. Understanding this definition helped me to think more about the classes that I took in the last two years. After I began to relate these classes to this definition, I found out all these classes apparently defined the term HRD. The team development, consulting skill, organizational change, program development, program evaluation, and others were defining the HRD in more details. I have learned that we should focus on individual development and on the organization performance as well. The bottom line we can’t develop our organizations without developing our people.

           One of the greatest in class activities for understanding the definition of HRD was a debate between two groups. The first group supported the idea that HRD is about developing the learners. This team used the military as an example of developing learners. The team stated that military invests in individuals’ thinking skills for the sake of individuals’ development, so they can be promoted.                                                                  The second group sustained the idea that says HRD is about developing organizations’ performance. This group stated that learning for learning sake is not the goal of organization, and the reason organizations invest on individuals is to improve the organization. Many ideas jumped up from both groups, but we came to a conclusion that both groups were right. This activity was a great practice not only for individuals to understand the concept of HRD, but to support their own ideas and defend other ideas.

            Partner facilitation that uses 6-Cs facilitation was a great exercise that helps people finds their strengths and weaknesses. It helps facilitators learn how to present their ideas clearly, include all members in discussion through asking questions and commitment to decision, and evaluate the process and the result of learning. The first presentation was about the best practices. The presenters used a medical field scenario to present two different types of practices: a successful practices and a poor practice. I have learned how to listen to others and how to treat others fairly.                                                                                                                                                  The second presentation was presented by April and I illustrated the Pay-for-Performance model (PFP). I have learned that many organizations used this program and it drove many of them to organizational success. Furthermore, I have learned through this activity there was a connection between individuals’ contributions and organizational success. In addition, I have learned that there were some disadvantages of using the PFP, which some individuals may neglect things that participate in organizational development and concentrate more on things that help them to be rewarded.

            The professor’s experience was another aspect that helped me more to learn about HRD. He used this experience to facilitate group discussion, which was a great practice of connecting the theory to the real world. In two different groups we practiced Mentoring/Coaching Strategy. All the 8 steps from asking permission to initiating conversion to follow-up were considered important in helping the client who is facing a difficult situation. In class discussion we illustrated how clients understood that the helper was listening to his point of view. I have learned that when you listen to someone, you should acknowledge or rephrase back what he said before asking a question, so the person understands that you are following him. I believe this activity was a great one for building our consultation skills.

            Building trust is one of the greatest values I have learned through this course. Trust is so important for HRD professionals if they want to get management support and implement change. Building trust through intervention will give them the ability to influence the client and convince him to support the change. Most in class activities explained the needs of consultants for the purpose of organizational development. The performance management strategy was a great example of building relationships with others. Managers should encourage and mentor before confront the employees. 

            By tracing the history of HRD, I have learned that McGregor, Lewin, and Taylor’s contribution to HRD was valuable. Their theories have become the basis for HRD professional for building a productive workplace. Such theories are theory X and theory Y by McGregor. The formula for system change: unfreezing, moving, and refreezing, group dynamic, and action research by Lewin. The scientific management and training method that simplify the jobs, by Taylor, were great contribution to human resource.

              I have learned in depth more knowledge about the four components of HRD and how to measure the result of each component. Understanding the value of each component will help the HRD professional to view the whole system for organizational development. The four components are:

  • Individual development that include developing new knowledge, skills, and behavior.
  • Career development is about developing values and interest that help individuals plan for their career development.
  • Performance management, which helps managers interact with employees and solve organization’s problem.
  • Organizational development is about organization’s ability discovering its weakness to enhance and develop.    

            This class will be memorized as one the greatest classes that I took in this program. In a response from our professor about what we like about HRD, I said Organizational Change. Then he handled me a book Written by William Bridge to gain more information about the nature of change. I will highly recommend this book (Managing transitions making the most of change) to everyone who has concerns about organizational change. I recently had a discussion with my friends who want to move to another State. The husband is always afraid of moving to a place where he doesn’t know much about it. He always believes of the possibility that the change won’t work. The book helped me to control the conversation. I told him always there is a grieving process and you should put in your mind “beginnings depend on endings” and you should think more about the outcomes. If you failed here, you will succeed somewhere else, don’t get scared.

            Finally, Weisbord taught that HRD is not limited to organizational development, but HRD professionals have the capability to make the world one unit. The future search strategy is a great example of brining people together despite their differences in language, color, and religion to solve their own problem and decide for their own future.

 

 

 

 

What I have learned about Organizational Change

          It was a great experience for me to be participating in the Organizational change class. Since I have started this course, my thinking has dramatically changed. I began to notice the change that occurred in my daily life and at my workplace, which I did not pay attention to before this class. I have a strong belief that change should take place once things are not going well or even when things are going well. Consequently, at the workplace I started to follow up more closely the news that concerns the post office, especially after the company announced its economic crisis.     

                                                                                                                                                                                       The external environment is a big factor that forces organizations to change its way of doing business. The post office did not have a plan to make such changes, but when the current crisis began, the post office changed its way of doing business. Leaders at the post office began to concentrate on customers’ satisfaction to make the business run, and promote the global business to compete internationally. The concepts of evolutionary (continuous) change, which causes significant changes in the deep structure, became a big concern for leaders at the post office.                                                                                                                                                                                            The analysis paper was a good practice that helped me to understand the organizational change in more depth. I was able to find answers to the need for change by following the Burke-Litwin model.  Is the change necessary?  What kind of changes does my organization need to implement? Is it revolutionary or evolutionary?

            Discussion is one of the methods that we used in most classes through this program, but this time discussion expanded to include a large group discussion. I was able to benefit from the group discussion, especially the one that targeted the individual levels of organizational change. The post office has its own criteria of selecting individuals. I mentioned before, individuals at the post office are selected according to their abilities to do the job daily despite inclement weather. Also, I mentioned how the government of Saudi Arabia succeeded in changing individuals’ beliefs in accepting positions, such as waiters at a restaurant. Traditionally, many young people in Arab countries believe working in a restaurant is only for those who come from lower class levels.                              

            Since the last time I watched the “MindWalk” film I have begun to connect things together. The victims who lost their jobs cannot be separate from the economic crisis. The victims of the war in developing countries cannot be separate from the whole world system. These things cannot be seen in isolation if we have to make a change to the global problems. Yes, I have expanded my thinking about change. It is not a change within my family and raising my kids, or even the change in the workplace, but I would like to see such change in the whole world. 

 

Debrief and presentation of the group

            The three intervention presentations used in class had added different values and have given me a different way of thinking. The plan for implementing organizational change through strategies adaptation was a valuable experience. I have learned from group discussions and from team facilitation great knowledge about how organizations can use any of these strategies to launch a valuable change.                                                                                                                                                                  The future search had great impact on my thinking. The future of my organization is the future of my family and me. Organizations should prepare their members regarding the current situation and about what the members may expect in the next five or ten years. This would be a great support to members in reducing anxiety and pressure, therefore members would be more productive and the organization will prosper and live longer.

            The open Space Technology has expanded my thinking and knowledge about the need for change. The war in West Sudan (Darfur) would be ended if the government and rebel fighters believe that Open Space is the best strategy for bringing people together and solving the complex problem. Open Space Technology is an appropriate strategy that helps diverse groups of people deal with serious and complex problems (Owen, 2008). In 2005, the government and the rebels of Southern Sudan signed a Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended a troubled war that started in 1983. I believe the Darfur problem in West Sudan would not have begun if a solution included all parties in the country. Because of this communication breakdown, the people declared a war against the government demanding equal opportunities in dividing the economic wealth and political rights fairly. 

            Things have changed drastically since I participated in the Appreciative Enquiry presentation. I grew up in a culture that never thinks about dramatic change in its system unless there is a serious problem that needs to be solved. How would people in Sudan benefit from using an Appreciative Enquiry as a changing strategy? I do not think this nation will benefit from this strategy unless leaders’ attitude change and therefore the citizens start to see the positive side in every aspect of their life. Most Sudanese people see the negative side “the empty half.”

            Finally, I found myself looking at the change from different perspectives. In Future Search discussion I was able to transfer some ideas to lighten the path to other nations in Africa. In Open Space I got the strength to solve even the more complex problem. In Appreciative Enquiry I felt more positive to sustain my organization even when the organization was in its highest peak. Many ideas about change had jumped into my mind, but change cannot be made without collective efforts from diverse stakeholders.

 

 

 

 

 

The Post Office needs a Future Search strategy

 

            Last month we heard on the news that the Post Office was planning to reduce mail delivery from six days to five days a week. All this was about saving money. The Postmaster General, John Potter, said that this plan will save the post office $3.5 billion annually. Is it amusing? According to the New York Times (March 26, 2009), the agency lost 2.8 billion last year and is facing more losses this year.

Today, in our weekly meeting, our supervisor announced the post office new plan for saving more extra money. If the goals, according to Burke, focus on what, which will be diagnosing the existing problem (financial crisis), the strategies will focus on how to fix the problem. Therefore, the post office new strategy is doing couple of things. The postal services will close some administrative offices, eliminate positions, and offer early retirements as our supervisor announced this morning. These new strategies are an attempt to solve its on going crisis, which will save the organization more than $100 million annually. This new strategies will affect mostly the top managers. Many of those managers will be without jobs in the coming two years. It seams like the change is targeting the top level of Burke-Litwin model, the goal, strategy, and even leaders of the organization. Accordingly, the change is a transformational.

            From my own perspective, I think the change will continue and the growth of technology will push leaders to impose more changes in the organization. As Potter, the postmaster general, to congress on Wednesday, March 26, 2009 “without a change, we will exhaust our cash resources,” he added “we can no longer afford business as usual.” In addition to that leaders had realized that the economy is not going to recover soon, so they thought about significant change. The interaction with the external environment forces the post office’s members to behave differently. Once we do not know what is going to happen next, I think the post office needs to launch a future search strategy about: The future of the post office in the next 10 years. The participation of those who will be affected by what happens in a future search activity will come with more suggestions.                                                                                                                                                               The future search strategy this week has helped me to review and think more about the present at the post office and to think more about my own future at the workplace. It was great experience, which reduced the anxiety and the pressure about the future. I would like to thank the future search’s members about the debriefing activity, which has helped me to become aware of my organization’s future.

 

The Post Office Saving Money

                                    

           It was a long process of mail evaluation that took place in order to decrease employees’ salary. It was mandatory for all carriers to sign for a mail count process. In a gathering all employees went through an orientation process. It was clear that the evaluation would cause some effects on all employees. The mail would be evaluated for 4 weeks. This evaluation will determine how many hours every carrier should be paid for the route. The route evaluation depends on the mail volume and the mileages of each route. A team of evaluators counted every single piece of mail. Packages were counted as well.   Routes were evaluated a long time ago when the mail volume was heavy and when everyone sent everything by mail.  But now, after the adaptation of technology many people pay bills online. Other factors that caused the mail volume to be less is that the economy has begun to slow down as well as the competition from FedEx and UPS.

         The post office has lost a lot of money in the last five years because of growing technology. So cutting the employees’ wages was another option for saving money. The result of mail evaluation this afternoon was not satisfactory to everyone at the Glen Allen post office. I spoke to many of co-workers regarding the devastation of the final results. Everyone was affected. Every route lost between 2 to 3 hours pay every weak. We have about fifty routes, which mean the post office will get back more than 150 hours every week. Everyone will continue working the same route with less money.

           Nothing will be done. As employees we have to deal with the reality and accept the change. I like what Burke said about resistance “feelings of anxiety associated with such change are quite normal”. We have to look around us, not just in the post office but also in the whole system in the United States and the World. The good thing is that the employees in the post office still maintain their jobs and no one is laid off.

Change in our Deam

           When I visited my daughters’ house she asked me to help her kids complete their project, which was about a new design for their room.  We all were involved in developing the project. Like bumblebees, no one stopped adding something to the project. When the project was completed we felt happy about what we had accomplished. It was fun and delightful.                                                                                                          Suddenly the kids felt rage and began to break every thing around them even their well-designed project.  Pieces scattered everywhere and the flames of the fire made the place very terrifying. The Mom began screaming and chasing the kids in order to stop them from getting more angry.  I was glad the Mom was preventing her kids from continuing what they were doing.    

              I woke up and said to myself, what a horrible dream. So in the morning I spoke to my wife and asked her to interpret this dream for me. Before she response to my question I said, “The kids were resisting the change and did not want any change to be added to their old room.”    

          My dream was a positive sign of liking the class. I have begun to think about change in everything through my life, even when I dream I shout change. It is a way of moving to the right position. Those kids shouldn’t resist.

 

 

How Organizations Change Individuals

I have never thought of accepting a new job that doesn’t match my qualification or my interest. I have strong belief that I can change the setting instead of the setting changes me. But after I left my home in the early 1990s, I faced many challenges that changed much in my attitudes and behaviors, such as language barriers. Most people do not easily accept change, especially if the change is targeting individuals’ beliefs.

I had never thought of working in a restaurant cleaning floors and wiping tables, but the reality was I had been hired as a waiter. The new behavior that I had to deal with was how to deal with customers’ complain. I have learned from my manager if a customer complained I did not have to argue with him, but I could let the manager deal with that situation. It was the Great American Steak and Buffet where I had to service people and accept tips. It was a culture that I was not familiar with. My first week I felt discomfort working in a restaurant, but I decided to accept it for my needs to take care of my family. Accepting the new situation and engaging in a new environment was a great change in my life. I have learned that any organization has set up a goal and mission and individuals should comply with this culture to develop the organization. Leaders select individuals who believe in building this culture through training and small orientation, otherwise individuals will loose the job and leaders will hire those who value the organization’s culture. The point is the organization changes individuals by making them involve and participate in the change to fit with the whole system. I feel more proud of myself that my attitude, behavior and belief towards those who work in restaurants has been changed positively; I value any work that people do and the service they provide to their customers. Without interring the restaurants culture, my attitudes will never change the way that makes me respect the work that people do.

 

Mindwalk and Organizational change

Last week, while we were watching the News, my wife asked me a question regarding the reasons that allow some countries, especially the United States, to intervene in other countries’ internal problems. My response was, American politicians believe that the World is one unit, and they do not think American people are isolated from this unit. The problem in the Middle East is related in some way to Americans’ security and even Americans’ economics. I had strong opinions during that time, but while I was watching the film, I said to myself this could be true if American politicians think the same way I do (seeing the whole picture), not the way Sonia’s daughter saw her relationship with her Mom. Once the Mom believed in unity and integration between things, and believed that the system of life was not a fragment of pieces, I found that the reality was that the family members were isolated from each other; the Dad was not present at home and the Mom was not connected to the daughter even inside the home. Is this the way the big industrial countries see their relationship to the developing countries? This could be true, but the ultimate goal is that I think we should not be isolated from the whole world system, and the film had that and taught me a new way of understanding life, which was all living things are such machines and if any part is not functioning well, the whole system will fail.

The meaningful Change

 

In our life nature if things do not work well, it is better to be changed. We change many things in our life when they do not work the way that should be. We change our rooms, our cars, and sometimes even our friends. Change is a nature of human beings, but how we change the existing condition, when and why? One of many questions I think the ADLT 625, the changing strategy is raising, does change consider a major concern to many leaders? I mean a dramatic change, such as the one that happened to British Airways, is what the leaders are trying to do.  I hope the class will help us to find the correct answer.

Change could be deliberated or planned, but in most organization and according to Burke (2008) change is not planned. All changes do not work well because the change requires the change of the culture which is difficult, and in addition to that leaders do not have the courage to involve in change once the organization is doing well.

Change could become real if the leaders rely on those things that advocate the change? I think the revolutionary change is the most difficult one because it needs strong leaders who believe in the change to be real, and then implemented. In British Airways example the dramatic change couldn’t become real without the determination of Margaret Thatcher.  It was a positive change that helped the company to become profitable organization.                                                                                                                                                        In the early 1990s and after the military government took power in Sudan, the government began immediately to change the educational system. The government reduced the numbers of years in early education from 12 years to 11 years by integrating the elementary school and middle schools to become 8 years instead of 9 years. The high school system remained as the same 3 years. It was another revolutionary change, which I do not think it was a successful one.                                                                                                                           

The change of environments and the increase of the use of technology may force organizations to change and adapt the new technology. I noticed this evolutionary change recently at my workplace This factor may be real in the post office, so for the post office to accomplish its mission and goal, the organization adapted the use of computer technology to satisfy its customers. Customers are able to track their mail and ensure its delivery on time.  Competition also could be another factor that forced the organization to adapt the change, especially with FedEx and UPS.  

 

What I am Learning about Consulting

            Pam, Andrea and I had a meeting on Friday, at Panera to discuss the best way to present our feedback next Tuesday. We want to be well-prepared because we have a full understanding that the feedback is the most important part of our consulting process. 

            I think the meeting was a successful one. It was a family meeting, and I really enjoyed it. We presented valuable ideas about how to prepare ourselves to unexpected situation. We defined our roles very clearly, and any one now knows what to do next. We want to be more assertive in presenting our findings and our recommendations, and want to be aware of any anticipated resistance that might rise up.

            Finally we come to a conclusion that the members of the diversity council are willing to participate and assist in developing the council, but they need someone to empower them. I hope our recommendations will be they key solution.

What I ‘am learning about consulting

 What I am learning about consulting skills is never going to end. These skills will follow me where ever I go even the class is going to end. Through this semester we struggled at the beginning in our consulting project, but this week it seems like we are going to make it. We work now on our analysis, and there after we will be ready to meet with our clients and present our recommendations.

I have learned from Block it is hard to meet a standard of your promise to your client. But our promise was very real and simple; we are going to give our clients recommendations and not a magic solution to the existing problem. From the beginning we were authentic about our promise to our clients, and this is giving us such a relief now.

Thanks to Pam and Andrea who made this promise real.