Change is something that IT leaders have learned to accept, even appreciate, and it’s become increasingly vital in the last 14 months. In practically every aspect of the job, businesses have had to be nimble and agile, and very effective with change management.
Before moving forward with a strategy, leading change management requires a solid foundation, and the recent challenges due to the pandemic have highlighted the need for leaders to be more objective. This involves being flexible with employee schedules, understanding the challenges they may have encountered while working remotely or in their personal lives, and reaching out to them on a regular basis to ensure they are happy, comfortable, and adjusting well to the new dynamics created by the pandemic.
Moreover, IT leaders need to ensure that employees have the tools they need to succeed, in addition to their emotional well-being. Are they satisfied with the remote-work equipment they received at the outset of the pandemic? Are they happy with the technical support they have access to?
Businesses can only plan for leading change management once they establish a baseline for the well-being of their employees. The IT leadership team can use the following four-step strategies to drive change management: demonstrating value, involving all levels of employees, engaging, assessing, and adapting.
Show the value
Whether it’s an initiative they are leading or a new process they wish to implement, leaders should demonstrate value. Businesses achieve consensus through demonstrating value, whether monetary or in terms of increased productivity. That consensus should come from the top. When leaders are seeking consensus and support, it’s critical to demonstrate not only the direct value to the organization but also how it supports and helps execute the company strategy.
Every layer should be involved
IT leaders should involve all layers after achieving a consensus. Often, it’s easy to get myopic and focus just on the directors or those who will be directly involved in the effort, but it’s critical to recognize the importance of involving secondary and tertiary resources. They will either be involved in the change or will be impacted by it, therefore involving them is critical.
This is a crucial move that many people overlook. Everyone recognizes that leadership shapes culture, and that consensus comes from the top, but many individuals stop there. They fail to notice the importance of involving a crucial function, person, or practice in change management.
CIOs should continue to engage all layers after they have been involved, whether they are at the executive or board level or a third party hired to assist with the change.
If a third party is involved, it is critical that they are also engaged and include all relevant resources at all appropriate layers. While security leaders strive to establish clear goals and expectations, they should also try to communicate that people are critical of the success of their efforts, including those with whom they collaborate, those on their project team, and, most importantly, the people they serve, whose needs should always be prioritized.
Evaluate, adapt, and change
Everyone has a plan for change management that they have mapped and are following. When CIOs do this, they should be willing to step outside the boundaries they have drawn, especially if something isn’t working. Communication is also crucial throughout the journey. People want to see progress along the way, understand where the value will be, and know that they are progressing, hence leaders should not wait until a 12- or 24-month project is completed to inform everyone that it is done and doing well.
A balanced scorecard is one approach for businesses to do this. This allows them to communicate the progress of the initiative, deliver accountability, and manage expectations. It also assists organizations in evaluating and adapting — companies can identify where they are, where they need to make changes, and where the timeline can be slipping. Businesses have a higher chance of adjusting and making changes if they can share that information as soon as possible, which also helps them manage the expectations of everyone involved.