Founded in 1898, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company has remained one of the popular tire producers in North Carolina and in the United States as a whole. For more than 100 years now, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company has maintained its global purpose of increasing the value of its brands for everyone. The company has a market-driven innovation, and it struggles to deliver the highest quality tires to its customers around the world (Goodyear Corporate, 2015). The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company has four major objectives including; to attract, develop, motivate and retain the best team of associates; to earn and build a long-term relationship with customers and business partners; to drive an organization that is effectively and efficiently aligned to its objectives; and to create a sustainable business model that operates according to legal and ethical requirements. The shared values that guide the operations of The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company include; quality, respect, integrity, honesty, wellness and safety, environmental sustainability, and a team-based culture. The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company has specified the leadership traits that the company’s leaders must possess and apply. The company requires all its leaders to build teams and talents, have effective problem-solving skills, possess effective communication skills, be able to make courageous decisions, and have the ability to deliver the desired results. Over the years, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company has tried its best to achieve its mission, vision, and objectives. Currently, the company earns estimated annual revenue of more than 1 billion United States dollars (Goodyear Corporate, 2015).
Just recently, more than 10,000 employees walked out of the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Plant in Fayetteville, NC. The workers are resisting the demands for a huge salary cut for newly-recruited employees including the area managers, specialists, and front office personnel on up. Workers at the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Plant in Fayetteville, NC are also complaining of erosions of medical coverage, pensions, and working conditions. Those employees who are not in agreement with the pay-cuts are subjected to lay-offs (Futch, 2015). According to Futch (2015), the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Plant in Fayetteville, NC is now eliminating more than 30 salaried jobs from its workforce. However, the company has not issued formal announcements to its workers (Futch, 2015).
Over the years, the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Plant in Fayetteville, NC has been known for its good human resource practice of reviewing plant operations and making sure that its remains competitive while it continues to meet the needs of customers. In addition, the company frequently reviews staffing needs in order to meet business requirements (Bell and White, 2006). Currently, the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Plant in Fayetteville, NC employs approximately 2,400 workers and manufactures about 32,000 tires on a daily basis. The pay cut and layoff issues are likely to affect the company’s operations as some workers may choose to leave the company completely (Guerin, 2014). The fact that the company’s employees have not been informed officially bout the pay cuts and layoffs is an indication that there is a problem with communication throughout the plant. According to Bell and White (2006), layoffs and salary cuts are normally effected by companies either when certain positions are no longer needed or when there is a slow-down in the company.
Layoffs and salary cuts are stressful and painful experiences to both the employer and the employee (Guerin, 2014). What is currently happening at the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Plant in Fayetteville, NC indicates that the process of salary cuts and layoffs have not been carried out effectively by the company’s leaders. In addition, lack of effective communication between leaders and employees in the company is another source of tension throughout the plant (Futch, 2015). Whether there is a slow-down in the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Plant or the company feels that certain positions are no longer necessary, the company must change the manner in which it handles sensitive issues in the company and how it communicates important information to the workers in order to make the leaving workers feel contented and to boost morale of the remaining workers (Guerin, 2014).
Kotter’s 8 Step Approach
Following a comprehensive analysis of the problems at the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Plant in Fayetteville, NC, it is clear that the company should change the way it relates with its workers. Appropriate change requires creation of a good plan that can help the company to initiate the change, adapt to the change, control the change, and effect the change. The best change model that can assist the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Plant in Fayetteville, NC to make a long-term change is the Kotter’s 8-step change model.
In 1996, Kotter was concerned about what leaders do to transform their companies. After reviewing what was done by several leaders, Kotter’s decided to organize the whole process into a total of 8- steps. According to Kotter, for leaders to successfully bring about a meaningful change in their organizations, they must strive to change people’s behaviors by speaking to people’s feelings. In this regard, Kotter categorized the 8-steps to a successful change into three groups (Webster, 2015). The first group known as creating a climate for change involves the first three steps namely; increasing urgency, building and guiding team, and getting the right vision in that order. The second category known as engaging and enabling the organization involves step four, five, and six namely; communicate for buy-in, empower action, and creates short-term wins respectively. Kotter’s third category is referred to as implementing and sustaining change and it involves step seven and eight namely; do not let up and make it stick respectively (Webster, 2015).
Kotter’s first step towards managing change, known as creating or increasing urgency, is where companies strike the initial motivation to everyone in the company in order to get things moving. In the first step, the company should not only show people about the poor performance but it also needs to convince people that the existing problem is affecting the company negatively and that there is an urgent need for change (Webster, 2015). In order to spark the initial motivation towards change, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company should involve all employees in developing scenarios to show what could happen if all employees left the company due to layoffs and salary cuts. Additionally, the company should examine opportunities that can be exploited to bring about a positive change. Leaders of the organization need to begin honest discussions with everyone in the company in order to convince them about the importance of eliminating certain positions considering the current status of the company. In case the leaders of the company fail to agree with employees, they should requests for support from the company’s stakeholders to help them strengthen their arguments (Petrescu, 2010).
In the second step towards change management, Kotter calls upon company leaders to convince everyone in the organization that indeed, a change is necessary. This step involves forming a powerful coalition with other people in the organization as a way of leading change. According to Kotter, for leaders to guide change effectively, they must first bring together a team or a coalition to assist with decision making. In this second step, leaders tend to unite the different opinions of every individual member of the team around the need for change. To effectively go through the second step, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company needs to identify the most dedicated leaders and stakeholders in the organization. The company should the request for an emotional commitment from these people and then work together with them to create a functional team. Before moving to the third step, the company must remember to check the weak points of its team member and try to strengthen them to ensure that it has a god mix of people who can help in leading change (Webster, 2015).
The third step, according to Kotter’s change model, involves creating a vision for the change. In every company, when a leader begins to think about a change, he or she will have several ideas flowing in the mind. It is important to link these solutions and ideas into a general vision that every person in the organization can grasp and remember easily. People in the organization will find it easy to understand what their leader is asking them to do if there is a clear vision (Webster, 2015). In step three, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company should determine all those values that are important for the proposed change. The company’s leaders need to summarize their ideas into one complete sentence that capture the organization’s mission. This should be followed by creating a strategy that can be used to execute that vision. The team members must be able to describe the stated vision even keep it in mind (Petrescu, 2010).
According to Kotter, the fourth step towards a successful and meaningful change, known as, communicating the vision, involves influencing people in the organization to buy-into the vision. Kotter emphasizes that what a leader does with his or her vision determines its overall success. One important thing that every leader must remember is that, people in the organization have other issues to attend to and communicating the vision frequently will make people to understand it even better. In addition, the leaders should utilize every chance available to talk about the vision. Again, leaders should use this vision to solve problems and make decisions on a daily basis. In the present case, what The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company leaders should do is to talk frequently about the change vision. Additionally, they should address employees’ concerns honestly and openly. Most importantly, the company needs to tie all its operations to the identified vision (Webster, 2015).
Kotter talks of removing obstacles in his fifth step towards a meaningful change. By the time a leader gets to step five, people in the organization are anxious to see the benefits of the vision that they have already become part of. However, there might be some people within the group who are resisting the change. When this occurs, the leader must put in place a good structure for change including methods of removing barriers. Suppose leaders of The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company spot some obstacles in the change, they need to identity and hire change leaders who will be charged with the responsibility of delivering the change. In addition, the leaders should motivate and reward people to make the change happen. They should also identify the specific people who are resisting change and quickly take action to remove the barriers (Petrescu, 2010).
In the sixth step towards a successful change management, Kotter requires all leaders to create short-term wins. This step involves giving the company a taste of success early in the change process. The short-term wins are some positive changes that should be seen in the organization within the shortest time possible. When leaders create short-term targets, they will be able to put in extra effort in order to achieve them. In order to fulfill step six, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company should look for some short-term projects that it can implement without much stress. These targets should be achievable, less costly and be advantageous to the organization (Webster, 2015).
Step seven requires leaders to build on the change by identifying what went right and what went wrong. The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company should therefore set goals that can help it continue building on the momentum that it has achieved. For example, it should formulate strategies that will make even more employees to accept the layoff and pay-cut issues. These strategies must also aim at strengthening communication between leaders and employees in the organization (Webster, 2015). The last step towards a successful and meaningful change involves anchoring the changes in the corporate culture. The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company should talk about the positive progress, replace resistive leaders and lay down effective plans for dealing with employees in case of any problem. These plans must also encourage effective communication between leaders of the organization and all other employees (Webster, 2015).
Change management involves increasing the speed at which people move forward successfully in implementing new behaviors that are likely to bring about greater benefits to the company. Every company that is willing to create a meaningful change must first identify the source of the existing problem. This is followed by identification of the most appropriate change model that can be used to bring about meaningful change. The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Plant in Fayetteville, NC, provides customers with high quality tires globally. Over the recent past, the company has been eliminating certain job positions and cutting employees’ salaries without official communication to these employees. For this reason, some employees have decided to leave the company completely, a move that now affects the company’s performance. The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Plant in Fayetteville, NC, can create a successful and meaningful change by applying Kotter’s 8-step change model approach.
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