Reply to two discussions of at least 250 words each. Incorporate at least 1 scholarly citation from a peer-reviewed journal, 1 citation from the text, and one biblical integration all in the current APA format.

Discussion Response

Reply to two discussions of at least 250 words each. Each reply must incorporate at least 1 scholarly citation from a peer-reviewed journal, 1 citation from the text, and one biblical integration all in the current APA format. Any sources cited must have been published within the last five years.

Discussion: JB
Qualifications of Hightower
Dennis Hightower comes to Disney with a wealth of knowledge and experience.  His journey began as an Intelligence Officer in the United States Army (United States Department of Commerce, 2005).  This career path allowed him to think critically and gain a better understanding of his surroundings and problems.  It equipped him to handle stress and difficult times in a calm and understanding manner with communication at the forefront.  He then worked at McKinsey while he studied at Harvard which gave him multitasking abilities as well as an understanding of the industry.  Following his schooling, Mr. Hightower moved to General Electric.  This is an organization that has several businesses that fall under the proverbial umbrella of GE.  This experience gave him a better understanding of how the eight countries ran separately but all under the Disney umbrella.  Next, was Mattel where Mr. Hightower worked the company’s expansion into Europe.  Each of these positions has led to the culmination of his tenure with Disney.  He is highly qualified and a very prepared choice for Euro-Disney.

Disney before Hightower
Prior to Hightower coming on board with Disney, it was respectively eight separate entities that were all the same brand.  There was no cross-talk or best business practices exchanged. The heads of each country’s Disney section were led by either an old-timer or a new beginner.  The old-timers had personal relationships with Walt and his children.  Each country owned and operated it’s own licensing, production, event planning, and promotions.  The choice to open an office in Europe was decided upon and all of the heads came together for the sole purpose of deciding where it should be located.  The choice was made for it to be in Paris (Khan, 2021).  This was a means for the Europe markets to be consolidated into one headquarters.

Assessment of the Current Situation
To understand where to go, one must first understand where they are and where they came from.  This is the case for the European Disney group.  Hightower wanting to see where each of the countries is and where their priorities are should first start by talking to each other the leaders of the eight countries.  By simply talking, and communicating, Hightower will have a great amount of knowledge.  Next, would be to look at the raw data for each area.  This would include the budget, expenditures, and all financial data.  Then he may want to poll the employees and staff to get a better picture of the culture and their understanding of the change in headquarters.  Finally, by talking to the current head of the European region, Hightower would see from a leadership aspect where the countries stand.

7-S Framework
The 7-S Framework was developed by Robert Waterman et al., as a means to explain how the effectiveness of an organization and change is based on the relationships within. The 7-S Framework is based on 7 factors; structure, strategy, systems, style, staff, skills, and superordinate goals (Liberty University Custom: Heinz, 2021).  Utilizing these 7 factors, Hightower needed to ensure the relationships both internal and external were intact and strong for the creation of Euro-Disneyland.  For the structure, this would be the headquarters as well as the eight European countries.  The strategy would look at how he will implement needed changes and how the European region will grow together for what is best for the organization and customers (Shennawy & Ibrahim, 2019).  Systems would look at the financials as well as the formal and informal procedures utilized (Liberty University Custom: Heinz, 2021).  The style would refer to the different managers and leaders and how they interact with customers, and other leaders, and what drives them to obtain organizational goals. Staff is the training and development that is needed to ensure that European Disney is successful.  Skills would look at and focus on the best practices already in place and further the capabilities identified.  Finally, superordinate goals are the goals, vision, and mission taken on by each leader and employee.  This is the area in which Hightower will get the biggest results.  The relationships between each of these areas are what is going to make the changes successfully implemented.

Issues and Critical Thinking
The main issue that can be identified is the reluctance for the change. Each country has run separate operations for its tenure, they have not answered to anyone and feel they are doing well enough.  Anytime there is change, there is going to be pushback.  This will be even harder knowing the tenure of each of the senior managers (Liberty University Custom: Heinz, 2021).  Change is a difficult thing for most people to deal with in any capacity (Hussain et al., 2018).  The changes that are coming are needed and designed to make the organization better.  The Bible discusses how there is a time and a place for everything.  Ecclesiastes 3:1, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens (New International Version, 1994).” To combat these issues the biggest factor is communication.  Communication should be constant and fluid.  Leaders should listen o their employees and truly focus on ensuring everyone understands the change is important.  Next, the vision should be adopted by all members of the team.  The shared values of the organization and its leaders should be projected.  This allows subordinates to understand the importance of all decisions and that the change is a team effort.

Discussion: PW
What prepared Hightower for his role
Dennis Hightower was uniquely qualified for the role of Vice President of Disney Europe.  Having served as an intelligence officer in the army he would be adept at gathering and assessing information and conducting analysis for quick decision making.  He also had prior experience as a country manager for GE, a multinational and served as vice president of Mattel with responsibility for corporate planning and the expansion of the business in Europe.  Finally, as an executive headhunter his focus was on finding candidates for international clients (Liberty University Custom: Heinz, 2021).  All of this experience coupled with his formal education made him an ideal person to assume this role.  Another key to making him ready to assume this role is the fact that having been a consultant specifically working with clients to fill executive positions he would be intimately attuned with the requirements for the position and could walk in with an action plan ready to go starting day one.

Europe before Hightower
The European organization was established as independent business units before the arrival of Hightower and operated with the aim of meeting their individual objectives.  The eight country managers had personal relationships with the Disney family and were entrenched in their positions due to their tenure with the organization. The business model was primarily based on licensure, but they had to submit and annual budget and expected profits for the year.

Assessment of the European organizations
The European organization was set up to give Disney a presence in Europe and could be viewed as a precursor of what was to come. Building brand awareness was a critical aspect of their role in the European market.  This was achieved through book and magazine publishing and the sale of Disney merchandise from apparels to housewares.  In addition, there special events featuring Disney characters and the release of animated movies (Liberty University Custom: Heinz, 2021).  With no brick-and-mortar assets to account for, the margins and hence the profits derived were very lucrative.     One could say that the European organization was minting money for Disney.

Collaboration for change
Communication is the key ingredient for successful change initiative so developing a clear message about the vision and mission of the new European enterprise would be the number one priority.  Having done that Hightower would be well advised to conduct an Individual Readiness and Stakeholder analysis for change. This approach assesses both the organization and individual readiness and would be useful in recognizing the required groundwork before the changes can go into effect.  In assessing the individual readiness Hightower would gain insight into each leader’s readiness for the impending changes and work with them to improve their readiness level.  He must also invest time in conducting a stakeholder mapping exercise.  This will aid him in identifying how the people affected by the change could influence the process given the power they wield so that he can better manage them (Liberty University Custom: Heinz, 2021).  Having completed his analysis Hightower should convene a meeting with the key players to collaborate and enhance their participation in the decision making through high level-quality change communication. This will immediately foster a collaborative culture.  Kucharska., & Bedford (2020) postulate that, a collaborative culture is one where there are shared values and principles regarding an organization’s open communication, reassurance of respect, teamwork, flexibility, risk taking and diversity. This will increase the probability that the proposed changes will be embraced and be successful (Liberty University Custom: Heinz, 2021).

Preempting opposition and gaining buy-in
Organizational changes are often met with resistance because of one of two perceptions that employees may have about the changes. The first question asked by most people when a change is announced is “What’s In It For Me?” and the second is “What’s against My Interest?” should they perceive in a real or imagined way that there is nothing to gain or that the changes go against their interest they will resist the changes (Liberty University Custom: Heinz, 2021). Two main issues arising out of this change could be resistance from the country manager as they would lose some of their autonomy in the way they run their operation. Secondly, they would now be reporting to someone who they would view as an outsider and their personal connection and with the Disney family could be diminished due to the hierarchical change. The key to managing any resistant to change is to recognize that the resistant is not necessarily against the change initiative but typically against how the changes are communicated and implemented. For example, just this month one of the independent operators that is licensed to do business with my organization that I am liaison for made some management changes which was met with resistance.  The new manager was not welcomed because he was unqualified but because those that would be reporting to him were not apprised of the change and only found out about it because someone noticed a change on a report with him as their manager.
In order to gain buy-in, it is important to lay out the WIIFM or WIIFT so that those affected will see how they are going to benefit from the changes.  Secondly, involving change recipients in the change process has proven to be an effective strategy to address their resistance (Yazeed Mohammad, 2021). However due to the lack of time, Hightower would not be able to involve all recipients of the change and some coercion, if necessary, could be justified to deal with resistance. In this regard, Yahzeed Mohammad (2021) suggest classifying change recipients based on their salience would be beneficial because it would enable Hightower to harness the influence of the recipients on the change to mitigate negative reactions to the change. Some additional ways to approach potential resistance to the changes being implemented are clarifying the purpose so the affected parties can understand the need for the change. Encourage dialogue and keep the conversation going to promote awareness of the change ideas and provide an opportunity for those impacted to think through the implications. Consider new possibilities by assessing the recommendations of people who may be resistant to the changes as there is a possibility that the closer, they are to the changes being implemented the more likely they are to want to get it done right.  Listen to different voices and encourage participation and engagement as considering different views typically yield innovative and valuable options. Finally, address concerns from the past as reactions to change could be based on past experiences that have yet to be resolved (Liberty University Custom: Heinz, 2021).

Rethinking possible
To inspire critical thinking among the unit managers Hightower should first listen to their feedback about any change he is proposing to the way work gets done.  Even people who appear to be difficult are capable of providing valuable insights so their input should be respected if not adopted.  They should not be viewed as annoying or disruptive as this will cause them to become disengaged (Liberty University Custom: Heinz, 2021).  Hightower must be prepared to allow for mistakes to be made without fear of losing one’s job.  This will be a new enterprise unlike anything these leaders have done in the past so for them to learn they cannot be fearful of “getting in trouble” for making a mistake. Encouraging collaboration will provide a climate for knowledge sharing, which will be reflected in interactions and communications that foster overall employee learning and inspire critical thinking among the unit managers Kucharska., & Bedford, 2020).

Biblical Integration
You are taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self….(Ephesians 4:22, Niv). The country managers and Hightower will need to adjust their approach to the business in order to have a collaborative working relationship for the good of the business.  Hightower is no longer a consultant just giving input he is now a more invested stakeholder.  Similarly, the country managers must adjust to the new reality in the changing of the business model as well as their span of control and be willing to give up some of their autonomy going forward.

Reply to two discussions of at least 250 words each. Incorporate at least 1 scholarly citation from a peer-reviewed journal, 1 citation from the text, and one biblical integration all in the current APA format.