There is a need for organizations to be in a position to create and, thereafter, communicate an enthralling awareness of a need for change. Among the organizations, which have enacted net worth change efforts is Saint Vincent de Paul.
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Saint Vincent de Paul did empower Saint Louise de Marillac to become a Vincentian leader, and this enabled the organization accomplish numerous works (Murphy, 1998). This paper gears towards demonstrating how Saint Vincent de Paul’s change efforts, in the 17th century, assimilate with the John Kotter’s change model steps.
A great percentage of individuals in organizations hardly support change. As Kotter and Cohen (2002) put it, it is only when change is speaking to people’s heart that the same people tend to show commitment to changing. This, therefore, brings a contrast between the see-feel-change and analysis-think-change approaches. However, the principal challenge in all the change model phases is changing behavior.
Nevertheless, this can be perfectly accomplished if people are enabled to have a view of the truth that will resultantly impact their feelings. This is simply so because it is in the emotions where the heart of change is situated. In most change cases, it is when the true self of a leader may be displayed. It is at such times when both the spoken and enacted messages of the leader tend to be congruent.
The actions of the leader strongly impact the perception of the followers as concerns both leadership of the organization and change (Kotter, 1995). As thus, it is great essence for leaders to be well aware of their values and the way these values get to be displayed in times of crisis, since they impact the context of culture as well as change within the organization.
According to John Kotter (1995) and Kotter and Cohen (2002), the see-feel-change model follows a certain flow. This flow comprises of eight steps as will be under highlighted, and despite the fact that these steps are presented in order, this does not necessarily mean that change takes a blueprint approach, kicking off from the very first step to the last one.
For change to take place and to be effectively maintained and institutionalized, all the change process phases have to occur. The start point of change is the increasing urgency for change. At the start of a change or even a renewal process, there is a need to identify the principal opportunities and/or crises, as well as an examination of the competitive realities (Kotter & Cohen, 2002). Urgency can also be established through the creation of a compelling picture of the perils of not embracing the change.
Saint Vincent de Paul and Saint Louise de Marillac were in a position to effectively establish the urgency vital for mobilizing the resources so as to avail assistance to those individuals in need.
For Saint Vincent de Paul, it actually saw people who were really in need and consequently felt a personal restraint of making a difference in the people’s lives and change the world. On the other hand, Saint Louise de Marillac founded the Daughters of Charity so as to serve the poor in the society and also impressed upon the people the significance of gentle compassion (Murphy, 1998).
At the moment, Vincentians are in a position of establishing urgency for the progression of the mission of Saint Vincent de Paul via the introduction of people to the poor (Murphy, 1998). Besides touching the hearts of the religious, this mission is in the offing of laying those individuals in search of meaning in their lives.
Moreover, another of the urgent issues calling for awareness is the leadership crisis in Vincentian. This crisis is as a result of the reducing numbers of the religious leaders. These leaders are being faced with the disheartening task of effective leadership of upholding a stout Vincentian culture in the organizations following the expiration of their religious leadership (Murphy, 1998).
The second step is building a guiding coalition. Leaders need to model trust and teamwork with organizations so as to have a team that works with emotional commitment and trust (Kotter & Cohen, 2002). Saint Vincent de Paul cooperated with those with a shares vision and dedication to the poor in the society. Through it collaboration with Saint Louise de Marillac, the formation of the Daughters of Charity was fostered.
The core values of the Daughters of Charity being simplicity, humility and charity; this has the organization’s basis for communal spirit and Vincentian Women generations. Collaboration, networking and teamwork toward shared goals played an important role in the enactment of the Vincentian mission (Murphy, 1998).
It is during the transition to a desired future state from a present state that an organization together with its members is likely to learn how change can be accomplished. This may call for transition management structures to facilitate the same (Murphy, 1998).
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For transformation to be realized in an organization, it should be guided by the vision of the organization which defines the change efforts and the future expectations and possibilities. According to Kotter and Cohen (2002), a transformational vision has to be clear, moving and easily articulated, since they speak to the heart as aforementioned. The vision that Saint Vincent de Paul had was speaking to a higher purpose.
This vision incited people to action. The shared vision, of serving the poor, of V and Saint Louise de Marillac enabled the Vincentians to collaborate in order to realize the goal of delivering service to the poor. The ‘high purpose’ idea is currently becoming more prevalent among organizations, and this has compelled organizations to put efforts of hiring employees who have the commitment of executing duties and behaving in such ways that are in line with the organization’s vision and fulfillment.
Transformational leaders do inspire their followers to go past self-interests and instead serve the needs of the group, organization, community and society at large. These leaders do so by availing individualized support, setting performance expectations, which are relatively high and providing an appropriate model. Transformational leadership is characterized by a higher purpose of employees’ work, cohesion and job satisfaction (Murphy, 1998).
To achieve comprehensibility and commitment toward the realization of the organization vision, the message has to be simple and heartfelt. Saint Vincent de Paul did excel in communicating its vision and together with Saint Louise de Marillac, it transmitted its vision to the employees via letters, memos and conferences. These writings have been noted to have played a central role in transmitting the Vincentian culture.
However, it is hard for leaders to solely achieve visions and, as thus, they are obliged to empower others for action. This is so done through the removal of obstacles to the vision. These obstacles may include such as systems that negatively affect the vision’s achievement (Murphy, 1998). Followers should be encouraged to take risks. As well, self-confidence has to be built through rewards and recognition. Leaders ought to embrace receiving ideas from all (Kotter & Cohen, 2002).
Saint Vincent de Paul excelled in the empowerment process by listening to the ideas and advice of others. The Vincentians did empower its followers through the provision of rules, core values and virtues, the likes of mutual support, respect and participative rapports as a means of delivering service to the poor (Murphy, 1998). Both Saint Vincent de Paul and Saint Louise de Marillac practiced leadership of service.
Short-term wins also have to be created. Long-term organizational visions can be subdivided into short-term sub-goals, which have to be rewarded on their accomplishment (Murphy, 1998). However, this long-term visions have to be supported by all structures, systems and policies. In the event that Kotter’s model of change is called upon to develop or bring renewal in the culture of an organization and the culture proves to be function, there is a need to institutionalize the model.
Through a higher purpose, empowerment of members and a shared vision of delivering service to the poor, the Vincentians has become an institution whose leadership has withstood the test of time. However, it may require laity so as to assume more leadership roles as well as the progression of the Vincentian mission and character. In order to renew its culture, there is also a need to inspire others and make them committed to the organization’s higher purpose.
Kotter, J. P., & Cohen, D.S. (2002). The Heart of Change. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.
Kotter, J. P. (1995). Leading Change: Why Transformation Efforts Fail. Harvard Business Review, 73(2), 59-67
Murphy. J. P. (1998). Servant Leadership in the Manner of Saint Vincent de Paul. Vincentian Heritage, 19(1), 121-133