Organizational agility is the ability for your IT organization to adapt quickly in response to changes in technology or changes in the business. It requires the IT organization to have a foundation in place that includes the processes and controls that equate to stability but allow for flexibility so that the IT organization can be dynamic, taking advantage of change and potentially, actually thriving on change.
When the IT organization has high agility, it not only supports the business in achieving its’ goals and objectives, IT offers a competitive advantage providing its’ customers with the opportunity to improve the speed to market for new products and services, facilitate a new customer experience, or optimize costs by taking advantage of changes in the technology landscape.
To build agility, IT organizations must take actions to harness the power of change in the organization. It must help people not only adapt but feel that they can prosper in times of change. This often requires culture change with the organization. IT leaders can define a path which embeds agility into the culture. This requires targeted actions that tie to the very foundation of the organization. Redefining the vision and strategy process and plan, identifying and changing management behaviors, modifying job descriptions, changing the reward and incentive plan, and redesigning employee development are some basic actions that tie to embedding agility into the culture. It is an effort that requires focused planning and leadership.
What if you aren’t ready to undertake this type of initiative but you want to improve the agility within your team or division? What steps can you can take to see some improvement?
5 Tips to Improve Organizational Agility
Embedding organizational agility into the IT culture takes time and focused effort but given the critical nature of technology and the pace of change in your industry, how can you afford to postpone taking steps to improve the effectiveness and adaptability of the organization?
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At AdOPT, we are transformation consultants focused on strategy, innovation, process, and culture to increase effectiveness, improve efficiency, and optimize costs. Discover how an cultural assessment can help you identify key steps to influence change adoption. Ask us to complete an assessment today and discover how to improve the return on your initiatives. Contact us at email@example.com or by calling 520-591-2427.
Innovation is defined as introducing something new for the first time. If you subscribe to this definition, almost everyone is innovative on a daily basis. This definition is way too broad and it implies that merely doing something new is creative or above and beyond the status quo. Most people believe they are innovative yet they are really working within the boundaries of the existing organizational norms or processes.
Innovation should be tied to value. What can be done to create a new product or way of working that creates value for a stakeholder in the organization? Usually, this involves some creativity. The stakeholder could be a customer or the department that employs you. It may or may not be an extension of something that is done today and sometimes, you will have to go way outside of the operational norms to make it happen. This new solution is a game changer for the organization.
When considering innovation, take a moment to watch this video by Rafa Galeano. In the video Rafa describes innovation in a simple, easy to understand manner.
Now that we’ve defined innovation, consider this question - When was the last time you or your team did something really innovative at work?
At AdOPT, we are transformation consultants focused on strategy, innovation, process, and culture to increase effectiveness, improve efficiency, and optimize costs. Discover how facilitated problem solving can help you find innovative solutions. Ask us to facilitate a design thinking exercise to spark some innovative thinking and solve your tough IT challenges. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 520-591-2427.
In part 1 of “Are You Killing or Encouraging Innovation”, we looked at three innovation killers that often aren’t recognized by companies. Read part 2 to explore some steps you can take to foster innovation in your company.
Organizations can foster innovation but it does require some focus and investment. If your organization does not have a focused effort to foster innovation, you can still take action. Leaders can encourage innovation by investing mostly time and perhaps changing some of their perspectives.
Three Techniques to Encourage Innovation…
Even if your organization subscribes to some of the “innovation killers” noted in part one of this blog series, as a leader you can encourage innovation within your team, your peer group, and even your management team. It starts with changing your perspective and investing some time. The investment is minimal considering the potential return.
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At AdOPT, we are transformation consultants focused on strategy, innovation, process, and culture to increase effectiveness, improve efficiency, and optimize costs. Discover how facilitated problem solving can help you find innovative solutions. Ask us to facilitate a design thinking exercise with your team by emailing email@example.com or by calling 520-591-2427.
Senior leaders usually define IT transformation initiatives. After the initial vision and strategy is outlined, it usually falls to the next layer of management to work through the details. Often, the organization experiences delays in achieving the outcome and they never achieve the expected return on investment.
Why does this happen?
Management has staff that are busy handling the day to day operations. Their normal course of action is to shield their teams from projects that will take up their time. They participate in projects for them. With critical initiatives such as IT transformation, staff at all levels within the IT organization must participate to ensure the right outcomes and facilitate buy in.
A manager is monitoring the work, developing the team, and helping staff work through barriers to complete their operational responsibilities but they aren’t actually doing the work. They don’t know the details of what it takes to get the job done. When working on transformation activities, the IT transformation team needs to know the reality of how the work gets done. Without this information, they often pursue improvement opportunities that will offer little in terms of efficiency, effectiveness, or cost savings. Many times, the team won’t recognize the true root cause of the issue until they’ve spent time and money on improvement actions.
In addition, when frontline staff are not involved in defining the changes associated with the initiative, they are less likely to adopt the changes in a timely manner. They won’t initially change the way they work or they will make the change and then revert back to the old way of doing things.
Engaging staff at all levels within the IT organization is critical to success however; we must also address another critical audience – the customer.
With any IT transformation, the result will be changes to how the organization identifies services, makes investments, organizes to handle the work, manages services, and interfaces with their customers. Changes within IT directly affect your customers and end users.
How does an IT organization know the critical components of an IT transformation initiative without engaging their customers? Engagement of the customer requires more than a hallway conversation or a review of customer satisfaction data. Critical customers should be engaged in transformation strategy discussions. They will need a seat at the table.
Once the initial transformation goals and objectives are defined, end users should be engaged to understand their existing experience with IT and their recommendations for improvement.
Throughout the initiative, customer and end user feedback should be incorporated into key decision making. Open communication regarding decisions and key changes is critical.
IT customers and end users can provide a wealth of information which can help to formulate plans and activities. They can also become true partners in achieving the intended outcomes.
IT transformation requires more than a solid vision, strategy, objectives, and plan, it requires feedback and engagement of staff and customers at all levels in the organization.
At AdOPT, we are transformation consultants focused on strategy, innovation process, and culture to increase effectiveness, improve efficiency, and optimize costs. We wrote the book on organizational change in IT. For more information about our Change Adoption Workshop, vision and strategy development, or other services, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 520-591-2427.
Research shows that projects are six times more likely to meet the objectives and budget when organizations managed the people side of change effectively.
What constitutes managing the people side of change effectively? Many IT organizations believe communication alone is effective. While communication is an integral part of any change initiative, it should be part of a much more comprehensive solution.
To manage the people side of change effectively, we must evaluate and address the overall environment. The focus should be adoption of change rather than the implementation.
IT organizations tend to focus on implementation. When focusing solely on implementation, it is easy to neglect critical areas that can impact the success of the initiative.
4 Critical Areas to Address
While the list below is not comprehensive, it does represent four critical areas that must be addressed to maximize the opportunity for success with your IT initiative. Teams planning for change within IT or within the user community should evaluate…
1) the individual roles of those affected and the short and long term effects of the change on their jobs, their department, and the division
2) performance and reward systems to ensure they are aligned and support the changes in behavior that are required for success
3) how the changes can be anchored in the organization to ensure that behaviors and activities do not revert back to business as usual once the initial momentum has faded
4) the skills and abilities of those responsible for managing the day to day operations while the changes are occurring to ensure they are adequately prepared to support the staff during a period of uncertainty
Notice that none of the areas noted above tie directly to communication related activities yet they are all critical. All four of the areas are commonly overlooked.
To maximize the opportunity for success, focus on the long term adoption of change rather than implementation. Implementation focuses on a point in time activity while adoption focuses on reinforcing a long term commitment to the change resulting in embedding the new processes, procedures, technology, and behaviors into the foundation of the organization.
At AdOPT, we are transformation consultants focused on strategy, innovation, process, and culture to increase effectiveness, improve efficiency, and optimize costs. We wrote the book on organizational change in IT. For more information about our ITSM Adoption workshop, vision and strategy development, or other services, contact us at email@example.com or by calling 520-591-2427.
Organizational shifts in IT such as adopting various good practices and building them into the organizational DNA are a slow process. They require culture change that often takes years to complete. Along the way the IT employees experience highs and lows often accompanied by periods of intense pressure to demonstrate forward momentum and resolve issues. In the midst of these changes, the IT organization must continue to be effective with the day to day operations associated with supporting their customers.
The relentless pace of change over a long period often creates change fatigue leaving employees feeling exhausted and wondering if it is all worthwhile yet the organization must continue to move forward to achieve their objectives and they must continue to support their customers effectively and efficiently. This scenario is tricky to manage. If change fatigue goes unmanaged, the organization faces several risks relating to employee retention and engagement which will ultimately have a negative effect on the transformation initiative.
Change during periods of IT transformation must be calibrated to account for both the goals and objectives of the organization and the culture. The development of strategic plans and subsequent projects as well as day to day operational management must consider how to revitalize fatigued staff throughout the entire transformation initiative.
To maximize the opportunity for success with an IT transformation, leaders must carefully observe the organization focusing not only on transformation and employee engagement metrics but other key indicators of change fatigue such an increase in attrition, a decrease in customer satisfaction, and the frequent reallocation of resources. Organizational change and project plans must be recalibrated throughout the initiative with the schedule and resource allocation being adjusted as necessary to allow for the IT department, key resources, and customers to take a break from the constant momentum of change to recognize and celebrate the progress to date.
At AdOPT, we are transformation consultants focused on strategy, process, and culture to increase effectiveness, improve efficiency, and optimize costs. We wrote the book on organizational change in IT. For more information about our Change Adoption workshop, vision and strategy development, or other services, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 520-591-2427.
Developing a strong IT Service Management (ITSM) strategy can be a challenge for some IT organizations. Every organization is different with IT supporting a business that has their own vision, mission, objectives, and core values. Many IT organizations are also still evolving as they are working to change how they are viewed within the company. Rather than being a cost center or a barrier, they are taking steps to align or integrate with the business providing value by offering a more consultative approach to solving business problems.
The ITSM strategy should be helping to guide the IT organization toward achieving the vision defined for the organization. If the organization is focused on integrating with the business and aligning technology investments with the existing or changing business needs, the ITSM strategy should provide a roadmap for accomplishing this vision. Building the strategy may sound easy but many organizations have difficulty defining an ITSM strategy that works.
A strong ITSM strategy will
· focus on the future but recognize that the past is an important indicator of performance. Past challenges and successes are learning opportunities. If the IT organization recognizes past performance, future plans will tend to be more grounded in reality.
· be grounded by the business goals and objectives but it must also consider changing technologies, the competitive landscape, and market trends. Many IT organizations will focus solely on the internal business and changing technology. Understanding trends in the broader industry as well as activities occurring with your competitors can often result in some innovative technology solutions which will help further the business’s growth or enhance the overall brand.
· consider different scenarios and options that could occur based on business performance or changes with technology. Scenario analysis can help the IT organization understand how alternative actions can impact the organization. It is also helpful to understand how the IT organization can influence changes in the organization.
· include clearly articulated action plans, which at a high level, outlines related projects, next steps, and defines accountability/sponsorship for a set of actions.
· maintain the appropriate level of detail. In IT, we often want to dive into the details but with ITSM strategy, we need to focus on the direction of ITSM in the organization. Avoid allowing the strategy to become tactical. The strategy does not need to include detailed project plans relating to execution.
· consider the impact of people on achieving the strategy. Many organizations acknowledge that the IT and business staff can impact the velocity and success of change in the organization but few consider organizational change when they develop their ITSM strategy. To maximize the opportunity for success, consider incorporating strategies associated with the adoption of change by the IT and business staff.
· routinely be reviewed and updated. Your ITSM strategy will change over time and it should revisited on a regular basis. When reviewing the strategy, also revisit the key metrics defined during the planning process.
For more information on how you can ensure your ITSM strategy is solid, contact us at email@example.com.
At AdOPT, we are transformation consultants focused on strategy, process, and culture to increase effectiveness, improve efficiency, and optimize costs. We wrote the book on organizational change in IT. For more information about our ITSM Adoption workshop, vision and strategy development, or other services, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 520-591-2427.
Many IT staff members and teams struggle with the spotlight that shines upon them when a major incident occurs. They feel as though their decisions and actions are being questioned which creates some added stress. They may become defensive or begin finger pointing. It can be an instant reaction that is often rooted in how major incidents and other critical work/problems are handled in the organization. When this occurs, it can take even longer to resolve the issue or complete the work as teamwork is affected.
How can we quickly solve the incident/problem or make a decision on a course of action?
To facilitate an effective, timely outcome or to get a project back on course, we need to reduce the level of emotion associated with the issue. A structured, impartial process such as Kepner-Fourie™ root cause analysis will incorporate both facts and intuition about the situation and root cause while helping to keep the team engaged and focused on the end result rather than blaming each other. An impartial facilitator that is not involved in the existing issue should facilitate walking the key stakeholders through the process.
While the Kepner-Fourie processes are straightforward to facilitate once you’ve been trained and they can help the team to focus on the resolving the issues, IT organizations experiencing challenges relating to agility, teaming, meeting deadlines, customer satisfaction, etc. should consider how their culture is affecting outcomes and begin taking action to facilitate cultural transformation.
Kepner-Fourie™ is a registered trademark of Thinking Dimensions Global, LLC
At AdOPT, we are transformation consultants focused on strategy, process, and culture to increase effectiveness, improve efficiency, and optimize costs. We wrote the book on organizational change in IT. For more information, contact us at email@example.com or by calling 520-591-2427.
Written By: Pamela Erskine
If you look up the word accountability, the definition indicates that you are answerable to others which means that you need to be able to justify and explain your decisions and actions.
Using the dictionary definition, you could merely point a finger at another group, peer, or team member as an explanation – especially if something goes wrong – but blaming others really isn’t an explanation or a justification. You took the action or made the decision. Others may have provided data which contributed to your decision to pursue a course of action but ultimately, it was your choice.
Many IT leaders will talk about their cultural foundation of accountability yet the actions that occur every day do not support their belief. Departments and team members point a finger at each other when something goes wrong and it is an acceptable practice. It is a culture of blame which ultimately affects the success of their IT related initiatives and morale.
How do you stress accountability in the organization?
First – let’s dispel the myth that being accountable or holding people accountable means someone will be placed on disciplinary action or even fired when something goes wrong. While this may occur, it is rare.
When you take accountability to the next level, it becomes an exercise in learning. Yes, you have to answer to others for your actions but when something goes wrong, if you own the issue and attempt to learn from it, you will ultimately win the respect of others.
Rather than blaming others, ask yourself how you could have changed the outcome or what you could do in the future to avoid a similar event. If you are a leader, when someone begins blaming a peer or another team, turn the conversation around. Ask them how they could have changed the outcome or prevented the issue? Bring the conversation back to the individual’s contribution and their own actions. Stress to them that they can’t change others but they can control their own actions.
As a leader in any organization, if you allow blaming, your response is sending a message that there is an ‘easy out’ when things go wrong. Even if you agree with the person that is placing blame, if you focus on asking them how they could have changed the outcome rather than continuing to allow a focus on ‘the other person/team’, you will encourage team members to be introspective which encourages them to learn and take action in the future.
When something goes wrong, wouldn’t you rather have someone come to you with a plan of action? By encouraging accountability and asking what an individual can do to change the outcome or prevent the issue, you are encouraging individuals to take positive actions in the future.
Practicing and encouraging accountability as a learning opportunity rather than an exercise in blame leads to a more productive work environment.
Take accountability to the next level – add the learning component to the definition. You will be pleasantly surprised by the result.
Written By: Pamela Erskine
What is culture? It is the behaviors and beliefs of an organization which ultimately frame how the organization functions.
Consider your ITSM strategy. How does the organization accomplish the strategy? If your organization has a strong belief in the value of project management, there may be a formal project associated with initiatives and achieving the necessary strategic outcomes. If the individuals in the organization believe in the project management process, they will attend meetings, create plans to accomplish tasks, set due dates, etc. Individuals are exhibiting their belief in project management through their behaviors which clearly are supportive of the process.
Why do I care? The culture of the organization ultimately drives how the work gets done. It can work for the organization or it can work against the organization.
In the example noted above, if the people in the organization don’t believe in project management and this process is used to drive achieving the strategy, there will be some difficulty. The behaviors of the individuals will reflect their lack of buy in to the process. Issues such as missed deadlines, minimal reporting on progress, and a lack of attendance in meetings will create challenges in actually getting the work done.
Culture should be considered as part of your strategy. Plans to achieve your strategy should incorporate actions that are aligned with the existing culture. Ask yourself - How can you harness the intellect and the energy in the organization to make forward progress? The answer to this question will help you to determine how to go about achieving the desired outcomes.