Tips to Help IT Leaders Navigate Organizational Change - InformationWeek

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IT Leadership // CIO Insights & Innovation
Commentary
9/30/2020
07:00 AM
Sean McDermott, Founder and CEO, Windward Consulting
Sean McDermott, Founder and CEO, Windward Consulting
Commentary
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Tips to Help IT Leaders Navigate Organizational Change

IT leaders must move from defense to offense and motivate their teams by establishing a clear mission and a path to success.

Image: Pixabay
Image: Pixabay

The world as we know it is changing. The ongoing pandemic has forced IT teams to make critical decisions at rapid speed, especially since nearly 58% of the U.S. workforce is now operating from home. The reality is IT leaders have a unique perspective and are capable of controlling business operations and processes. Ultimately, they can help lead the entire business with a confident, long-term vision.

Before they can get there, IT leaders must switch to an offensive mindset and make organizational change management a core focus. Let’s examine why organizational change management is a must-have rather than a nice-to-have.

Be prepared to manage change

Organizational change management is often described as the series of steps a project leader applies to any change to drive individual transitions and smooth adjustments to ensure project success. During uncertain times, project success and overall business flexibility are even more critical since time is of the essence. For IT teams, this flexibility requires a shift from the defensive position, or always in fire-fighting mode, to a strategy of offense.

However, this adjustment isn’t limited to adopting modern technology and utilizing new tools. It requires a company-wide change that will have an impact on every person, technology, and process.

When utilizing organizational change management, you must redefine and expand all metrics of success. Keeping the project within a set budget and establishing opportunities for continued revenue are essential considerations. Still, end-user adoption and satisfaction are critical components to success and should be considered a metric when working to move toward a more offensive mindset. In addition, consider how you motivate your workforce and help your team engage with organizational change to create long-term, positive impact.

To put the most engaging and successful organizational change process in place, keep these four elements in mind:

1. Establish a sense of urgency

Humans can accomplish incredible tasks when driven by passion and urgency. Find the ‘why’ behind your organizational change. Be transparent about your passion and the change management process both internally and externally. Educate your workforce on why action is essential right now and how they can play a role in the process by being proactive rather than reactive.

2. Determine how to measure impact

Measuring the success of a project or larger initiative takes time. Many teams will look back a year or so later and ask why they even moved forward with a project. Before a plan is put in play, make sure you’ve selected the proper protocols and metrics to measure how you define a meaningful impact on the business. This will create a consistent and ongoing feedback loop to address improvements as the project progresses.

3. Don’t neglect the HumanOS

An area many IT leaders neglect is the HumanOS or human operating system. This consists of four motivational centers: the heart, head, hands, and feet. How does this map back to your long-term vision and shifting to offense in OCM? The head allows your team to digest information and understand the changes being made. The heart helps everyone believe in the mission behind the change. The feet represent the promotion of shared passion, while the hands do the hard work.

4. Be sure to recognize the wins

Never forget to recognize achievements, no matter how small. Share this recognition with the team to reinforce a culture focused on support and teamwork. Many people leave their jobs because they feel undervalued or unappreciated, but celebrating wins helps keep morale high and prevents turnover during and after a project.

These strategies may seem incredibly simple on paper, but they require action to implement them into everyday routines and processes, which can be a tedious and challenging task. IT teams are more likely to skip steps they see as unnecessary, especially as the rapid pace and pressure to innovate continues. To ensure success throughout an organizational change management initiative, leaders must move from defense to offense and motivate their teams by establishing a clear mission and a path to success.

Sean McDermott is Founder and CEO of Windward Consulting and RedMonocle. Sean previously acted as Founder and CEO of RealOps, Inc., the pioneer in enterprise management Run Book Automation solutions which was acquired by BMC. Sean is an advocate for business leadership strategies and shares how other entrepreneurs can align passion and action on his blog, Wheels up World.

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