Program Web Address



The essay - Managing Strategic Change – by K. Michael Haywood, Associate Professor, School of Hotel and Food Administration, University of Guelph, is initially characterized by Haywood as: “The ability to manage strategic change is critical for hospitality industry executives today. Executives must be capable of creating a vision of the future and implementing its direction. The author gives avenues for that management process.”

“The effective management of strategic change is the major challenge confronting hospitality executives,” says Associate Professor Haywood. “Responding to a rapidly changing business environment and constantly evolving competitive threats and opportunities requires executives who can anticipate and plan for change.”

According to Professor Haywood, the management of strategic change is a future imperative for hospitality executives. Implementing those changes will be even more difficult. “Survival and growth for many hospitality firms during the next decade will depend on the development of new strategic visions which can provide significant competitive advantages,” he says. “Strategies for managing costs and technology will be central to this task,” Haywood expands the thought.

Haywood suggests two primary types of change hospitality executives should be aware of. First, is change that is anticipated, anticipatory change. Second, is the other more crucial type of change, strategic change in the face of crisis, or simply stated, reactive change. Professor Haywood describes the distinction between the two.

In describing the approach that should be implemented in responding to an anticipatory change, Haywood says, “If time permits, and change is to be introduced gradually, pilots and trials should be run to assess the impact of the new strategy on the organization. These trials are used to create pockets of commitment throughout the corporation, build comfort levels with the new approach, and neutralize or win over potential opposition.”

There are the obvious advantages to using an approach like the one described above, but there are disadvantages as well. Haywood discusses both.

In addressing reactive change, Haywood offers that the process is a more - time is of the essence – condition, and that strong leadership and a firm hand on employee control is imperative. “Personal leadership, tough-mindedness, the willingness to ruthlessly abandon the familiar and the past, and the use of informal strategic levers are the hallmarks of sterling executive performance in such periods,” he says.

“All these changes involve substantial technical, financial, and human risks,” Haywood wants you to know. “In order to make them, and still remain competitive, hospitality and travel-related corporations require executives capable of creating a vision of the future, able to sell that vision to their employees, and tough-minded enough to implement strategies to make the vision a reality.”