In today’s environment a risk-averse culture can threaten an organization’s very existence. Yet, to drive change in an organization requires changing the perceptions, behaviors, and understanding of the employees.
“Drive Change” is one of the essential 12 behaviors and actions to adopt and practice from Success in the Technology Field that will help you to advance or prepare for a career in technology. The twelve recommendations involve adopting crucial behaviors that apply throughout your career, as well as specific actions you should take at different stages of your career.
As I noted in this post on understanding the business, as a technologist you have an outsized opportunity to support your organization by leveraging technology and technology-based solutions and services. Yet, having a good business transformation idea is not enough. You have to collaborate across your organization and champion such an idea for it to become a reality. By partnering with the right business executives, you build trust and can bring the idea to life. This approach can work well at an individual business process or system level. It also applies to anyone driving technology-based change in an organization, from the lowest position up to the CEO.
What if you are in a leadership role and need to drive significant change in your organization? Perhaps you have taken over a struggling company in need of a turnaround, or you wish to significantly increase the performance measures of your department or business line. In these cases, whether you’re in a private-sector company, government agency, or nonprofit organization, you must be a change agent.
Drive Change in Your Organization
If you need to drive significant change in your organization, undertake the following steps:
1) Understand your business—You must gain a deep understanding of your organization’s business operations.
2 Understand and work within the organizational culture—To build trust, you must honor the positive aspects of the organization’s culture.
3) Study, adopt, and tailor a specific organizational change management (OCM) methodology—Pick the one best suited to the situation.
4) Develop a transformation plan—Develop a step-by-step approach to driving the changes in business operations and related IT systems.
5) Execute the transformation plan—As you execute the plan, measure the business benefits and share them with project team members and employees. Solicit feedback from front-line employees.
6) Address organizational culture issues—With initial successes in delivering value via the transformation plan, you build trust. You can use this trust to begin to shift organizational culture.
7) Promote the value of the change continuously—Routinely pull the team together and discuss where you are in relation to expected outcomes. Being a change agent is one of the more meaningful assignments you can have in your career and can create significant value for you and the organization.
Being a change agent requires not just skills, but ample experience as well. Therefore, it is best to take on a significant change-agent assignment in mid- or later-career. Ideally, a change agent should have lived through at least one organizational transformation. And while every organizational transformation is unique, human nature is uniform. You will see similar obstacles and challenges arise in any change initiative. Your previous experience will help you identify such obstacles early and provide you with approaches to effectively overcome such obstacles.
Being a leader of a meaningful organizational transformation is not only valuable for you, it can also create value for the organization and all of its employees. It can be one of the more meaningful assignments you can have in your career. Yet, it is also one of the more challenging assignments you can undertake, and as such it can have considerable downside risk. While the leverage of new digital technologies enables the re-imagination of business processes, it is rarely the implementation of the technology that is the major risk. Organizational culture, resistance to change, and the need to win over executives and front-line employees to the change are the more significant challenges, and therefore, larger risks. To deal effectively with these risks, you need to have knowledge and experience that builds credibility to lead an organization through such change.
Success in the Technology Field: A Guide for Advancing Your Career
Success in the Technology Field is a practical “how-to” guide for a career in technology. It presents a holistic model, incorporating skills and behaviors that help you define and attain your career goals, whether you aspire to be an executive, a leading technologist, or a successful product salesperson.