10 years, 10 months ago

Enabling Organizational Change

Last week I concluded my 15 part series of “Memoirs of an Enterprise Architect.”  This week I will talk about organizational change and how you can get stakeholders excited.

If someone tells you they like change, they are lying to themselves and to you.  No one likes change.  Change is hard.  Change requires effort.  What if you have been in an organization for many years and suddenly everything that you have known and come to expect at the office is about to be turned upside down?  How are you going to react? What are you going to do about it?

Embrace Organizational Change

Organizations undergo organizational change or a transformation for many reasons, such as:

  • New Leadership
  • Customer Demands
  • Economic or Political Pressures
  • Value Transparency

It is up to you to be an enabler of the change or a stumbling block.  The change is going to happen with or without you so why not be a team player and make it the most seamless it can be for the organization?

The 800-Pound Gorilla

All organizations have a culture, which describes the psychology, attitudes, experiences, beliefs, and values of an organization.

When an organization is asked to change, part of its culture has to change as well. Don’t underestimate the culture.  Just like an 800-pound gorilla, organizational culture cannot be ignored.  The success of organizational change is highly dependent upon how you handle the culture.  Use it to your advantage, but how?

Communication, Communication, Communication

If you are proposing a change to the organization or leading the effort, following the steps below can generate excitement and inclusion:

  • Work with the executive sponsors to identify the stakeholders.
  • Find out as much as you can about them and how they currently fit into the organization.
  • Communicate the purpose in simple terms.
  • Empathize with them.
  • Explain what’s in it for them.
  • Allow them to participate in the change so they can feel like they are part of the change and not just the recipient of it.

It’s easy to come in as an outsider and prescribe a massive change to the way an organization operates or is aligned, but it will be a colossal failure if you go in with a “listen to me, I’m the expert” attitude.  Remember, people do things for reasons that may not be clear to you.  For example, a team within your organization may have decided to use a tool that may not be the best solution from a best practice standpoint.  What you may not know is that the budget dollars came from the leadership responsible for that team or the executive sponsorship manages that team.  So rather than going in saying they have done it all wrong, congratulate them for being creative and fulfilling a need under less than ideal situations.

Embrace Change! Help your organization identify the areas where change is needed and help IT communicate the business value. 

What are some of the successes or failures that you have experienced by leading or proposing organizational change?

See you next week, same time, same place where I will discuss EA frameworks and if they even matter.

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