It seems obvious that with the benefits organisations received by implementing “frameworks” into operational aspects of the business the same could be applied to the burgeoning world of information and communication technology. In 1989 the Office of Government Commerce (UK government agency) published a series of books based on years of research into the codification of best practice for the provision of IT services known as the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL). These have been updated several times over the last 25 years the latest version released in 2011(Fry, 2012; ITSM Forum, 2012).
In the UK the prominent IT standards were developed by government agencies and have not grown out of analysis or continual improvement on the ‘shop-floor’. Even with the introduction of ITIL and other governance frameworks UK government and public sector agencies have a large number of high profile failures regarding IT service provision.
Much of the published literature is focused on the successful implementation within organisations or with the general benefits of ITIL in practice (Doughty, 2003). Articles often describe how ITIL best practice could enable and support the IT function within an organisation through:
- Improved management of IT resources
- Effective governance of IT activities
- Clear framework of policies, internal controls and practices
The 2008 IT Governance Institute report (ITGI, 2008) produced through the collaboration between the US and UK (OGC) bodies described the business benefits as:
- Aid is realising value from IT investments
- Increased efficiencies and reduced costs
- Improved regulatory compliance and minimised auditory risk
Academic research has noted organisational agility is hindered by IT management practices through its structures and rigid processes (Verbann, et al 2012). Studies indicated that both central decision making and financial control of applications within the IT services were perceived as significant bottlenecks. Versendaal et al (2010) highlighted that the increased standardisation and procedural adherence did not ensure a superior IT management performance. Many have explored the potential for characteristics IT and digitisation to increase enterprise agility to be increased without reference to “value creation” at an organisational level (Overby, et al, 2006).
When you decide to change what happens to ongoing relationships?
As you move forward with your plans for change and personal growth, there is bound to be changes in your closest relationships. Your personal changes may be threatening to a partner who is insecure with change. You may find yourself facing resistance from unusual places saying in essence, “Change back! You can’t grow because I don’t want you to!”
If this happens, you have to decide what is best to do. You may choose to revert to your old self and abandon your plan.
You may be faced with very difficult decisions; the situation may because too tough, you may choose to leave the relationship or choose to take the risk of change and look to help your partner change.
Of course, it won’t be helpful to push them into change. If you are to take them with you the change has to be seen to be worth the effort. The change has to be desirable hence you need to sell your vision of the future and the benefits that could be possible.
Be patient and persistent, and try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Demonstrate self-respect and respect for others as well; no one is an island the changes in your life will ripple into everyone around you. If real caring and intimacy exist in your relationship, almost any change can be worked out, and will eventually be another reaffirmation of your love and commitment to each other.
Change is one of the hardest things to achieve in a business, but many will try without understanding that change for most employees is also extremely hard and not to mention stressful. Before you start down the change for improvement route there are some things to consider: As the owner / CEO it is your role to create the vision of outcomes and lead from the front. I like to think of this leadership style as the “know your team are with you without looking behind to see.” If you have to continually check to be sure they are with you, they obviously haven’t got either their hearts or their minds on board. As the change leader and not just the change manager, your role is to-
- Set the vision and sell it.Let everyone know where you want to get to. Part of the journey may well be creating the road map. Have clarity of purpose – change is difficult enough and it should have solid reasons. If you cannot articulate the reasons then your objectives will not be clear.
- Explain how you see the impacton the people and not just the business. Employees, even senior ones will be encouraged when they hear, “The whole team will thrive as we create this new chapter in our company’s growth”, versus “we need to change and improve what we do to be more competitive”.
- Be confident.Don’t waver at those who say “I don’t want change”. Be ready for different ways you will hear this, it can come in many different forms. Sometimes you will see defensive measures where they will find a place to hide, others will go on the attack to ensure the change will not impact them and only impact others — these behaviors can come from managers as well as the general employee group.
- Stay calm in the confusion. If you are truly a change leader you are likely to frighten some of the team because you expect some failure. They will hate this so you need to be calm and considerate if and when failure occurs.
- Be open to discussion, and think about ways employee’s ideas can be integrated providing the vision is not destroyed. Allow discussion as it will help alleviate the anxiety that change conjures up in people. They must be guided through the process.
So are you a change leader as described above? Or are you a change manager?
The change manager’s primary role is to drive the vision while using the appropriate tools to keep the change train on the tracks
Over the past few months, I have during my MBA studies; we have deliberated, reflected and observed the leadership journey. I even spoke to my children and asked their opinion on me writing a book on the subject. Obviously, they provided feedback via laughter, not deterred I am still making notes. So far the book will have three sections:
- It’s all about People
- Appreciation – Showing and Giving
- Life without regrets … live it to the fullest
For some that I have talked to this can be a bit of a difference to the management training they have been given. Leadership is very different from where many focus their energies. What if I could write a book to decipher and debunk what it took to get to “the top”? I’ve been gathering research and focusing on is what it takes to make a difference, appreciate those around us and make the most of every day.
Leadership questions for YOU:
- “What do you think of the 3 headings and are there any you would add or change?”
- “Why does it usually take disaster/tragedy for us to truly appreciate each other – what would it take to make it part of your daily routine?”
Remember…YOU do make a difference!
With our insatiable search for unlocking business value, and the desire for leaner, flatter and more responsive organizations means that the ability of organizations to change fast is now a competitive advantage. When combined with the ‘gamification’ and ‘fun’ key components in engaging the modern workforce and our tech-inclination, we can see that traditional methods of delivering change (through top-down directives, long-term policies, workshops, the experts, PowerPoint, the CEO-on-Tour, etc.) are simply not effective. Clearly, the processes to support change within organisations must be faster and flexible, they must be cost-efficient, bottom-up, mobile, easy to deploy, employee-friendly, etc. In other words, these processes must be ‘real-time’.
“Focusing on communication and begin positioning collaboration at the heart of the way you work.”
It is easy to see this happening at a managerial level, in a single business. However, take a step back and consider the following; since change is a prerequisite to survival, the topic should no longer be reserved to the elite/senior leaders. Indeed, to succeed should not be about whether you can afford the premium consultancies, the ‘Big-4’.
No! To survive must be an option for every organization out there, small and large, recognized or not. We need to move from focusing on communication and begin positioning collaboration at the heart of the way you work.
“To win tomorrow, you must disrupt your own internal processes today because if you don’t you’ll be displaced by those who do.”