Friday, November 24, 2017

Running Digital IT with a Healthy Change Habit

Change needs to be cultivated as a business habit and differentiated business competency.

Digital is about change. IT is in a unique position because they can oversee the whole organizational processes and should have the program skills to implement transformation successfully. Thus, in forward-looking organizations, IT has become synonymous with the change department. Collectively, IT should cultivate a healthy change habit, Change Management needs to be the mechanism embedded in the multitude of IT management, in order to run IT as a change agent.

Change mindset: Change needs to start at the mindset level. Change starts from top-down, but also inside-out, it is important to understand the psychology behind the change because the friction to change is the reality. By peeling back the layers after the layer, individuals and organizations can discover why they think, feel and operate the way they do. So, there is a critical mindset that needs to change and that is the mindset of management. Contemporary CIOs should be capable of evolving leadership skills to not only match the pace with the changes in technology and the pace at which the organization can effectively manage these changes but also proactively drive changes in business transformation. Mindset is at the heart of people’s belief system. Changing mindsets is challenging, often if people have been in an organization for a long period of time, their mindset may be one of "I don't want to change, and what’s in it for me (WIFM)?" These mindsets can be described as defensive and resist or reject anything that affects cozy familiarity. It is important to convey a clear message about WHY to change. Organizational leaders and managers must first examine their own mindset, what’s their thought about how easy or difficult the change will be to complete, and what’s the business goal achieved through change effort. Try to adopt a behavioral approach that requires each person to take responsibility for their own actions, the management should identify their change champions and empower their change agents. The mindset of the 'blame game' needs to be changed too, where blame always comes downwards, like gravity. When the collective mindset and attitude are changed, being more adaptive and flexible, people can improve who they are and what they are doing.

Change practices: Like any other habits, it takes practice, practice, and practice more for building a healthy habit. Change Management is a journey, not just a one-time business effort. Thus, a clearly defined change roadmap should be handy, and industry best practices need to be in place to serve as a framework upon which the solution can be implemented over time. There are little “c” changes, such as implement a new software tool, reorganize a department or Big “C” changes, such as merging organizations with overlapping or duplicate functions, or radical digital transformation. The changes delivered could be incremental via training and practices; transitional via improving on a process, or transformational if it is fundamentally shifting the entire business model of an organization. Little ‘c’ change requires tools, training, and practice in order for the participants to feel comfortable that the service level they provide will continue or improve with the same or reduced effort. Only if the CIO is proactive and innovative, IT can be run in a proactive mode to build a healthy change habit, make the continuous delivery of customer-tailored products/services/solutions, and to become a changing organization in their company.  

Sustain changes: Change Management itself has become a subject of self-sustaining change. To achieve and sustain desired changes, an organization must create an environment that enables effective communication and collaboration, share and promote ideas, and provide necessary incentives for employees. CIOs are accountable for critical part of the business that is constantly changing and evolving. The range of technologies and knowledge have emerged that can help to foster a deeper sense of connection and purpose in employees, ignite their passion and bring together disparate parts of the organization, to make the change as the new normal. Change is the vehicle. The CIO as a change agent not only touches his/her own function but also needs to make an influence on the entire organization and the business ecosystem as well, it takes strategic planning, methodology, and practices to make change happen and also sustain change to achieve the expected business results.  

The need for change is obvious. Change needs to be cultivated as a business habit and differentiated business competency. Sow more seeds for change and innovation. Pay attention to get the clear signal for the right TIMING to changes, Change Management can become more successful with people at the core of change, the cause of changes, and the purpose of change.


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