Luckily Change Management is not dependent on luck! There are no shortcuts. A detailed plan needs to be in place, along with the right people, a leader who is a communicator and relationship manager, transparency, best processes, solid technology, and lots and lots of risk management brain storming to ensure a fix will be there when the unexpected unknowable happens during execution. As HarishRamani, CIO of Constellation Brands reminisced, when physically moving a data center you plan for sideways rain, and when sideways rain happens ( surprise, it did happen!), you have tarps ready to handle it. (Ramani, 24:41 – 25:28) Or you have vendors ready to step in and help with the things where you lack expertise. “Do things right the first time, and you will actually save money.” (Bonfante, 26:47-26:57)
Because IT has the “umbrella” view of the whole organization, IT should take the lead, but they need to start thinking of themselves as business people first (Harish Ranani, 17:27 – 17:45), rather than as a separate IT unit. In fact, businesses are actually adopting IT like project management for business projects. (Ramani, 53:45 – 54:19) Steve Bozzo, CIO of 1-800.Flowers.com suggests additionally, that there needs to be a compelling business value to the proposed project and further recommends a “business sponsor,” NOT from IT – An evangelist who can champion the project and sell it to stakeholders and management, and retaining their support through all the ups and downs of the project duration. (Bozzo, 36:38 – 37:09)Certainly, relationships are key.
Larry Bonfante, CIO of the US Tennis Team, discussed the need for having the right culture to handle Change Management. Once the right culture is in place, the right behavior will fall into place. When people feel they are a part of the process, and will acknowledge the benefit of the change. (Bonfante, 27:54 – 28:50)
In addition to a compelling business need for the change, leadership and leadership traits are an especially crucial factor, especially if success is to be repeatable. The right people (implying the right organizational culture) must be in place, even when they are successors to a CIO who presided over previous successful changes… you cannot play musical chairs or decouple having the right people (and culture) from the need to repeat change management. (Bonfante, 37:50 – 38:27 & Ramani, 40:07 – 40: 32) Of course, leaders must be able to communicate clearly and with transparency. There needs to be flexibility, and the freedom for people to do what they have to do, with accountability and without babysitting.
In the final analysis, Change Management is ultimately only as good as its execution which in turn, depends on people (leadership, governance, culture of empowered people, communication, & transparency), processes (detailed plans and outside -the-box consideration of risks) and technology. IT people must be “part of the fabric” of business (Bonfante, 19:02 – 19:27), not some separate species within the enterprise.