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Change Management: An Important IT Services Process

Lisa Roger, Chief Information Officer, Dewberry
Lisa Roger, Chief Information Officer, Dewberry

Lisa Roger, Chief Information Officer, Dewberry

Change management is a systematic approach, whether it is cultural, operational, or organizational change. It is a formula that must be followed to achieve a successful, consistent outcome. One of the biggest factors in creating a positive outcome is a well-planned approach and leadership communicating the change, clearly and regularly.

Be adaptable

The most important qualities of an effective leader are the ability to listen, be adaptable, and recognize and manage change. It is important for a leader to identify leadership qualities in others, while also having the ability to listen, think critically, and coach employees to problem solve.

A strong leader is someone who is creating a learning organization, full of divergent thinkers. They are leading their employees to articulate their vision and inspiring employees to get behind a new mission or project.

Be prepared

For change to be successful, it is important for a manager to think through the changes up front, whether that is quickly in their head for something small or a more thoughtful and methodical approach for change that will have a greater impact, before they share it with employees or other members of the organization. A manager needs to consider who is positively and negatively impacted, and who will be the champions and resisters. It is crucial to do this careful analysis and align the plan with potential road blocks, risks, and objectives.

The secret to true change management success is looking at the culture of the organization and who the decision makers are. These pieces have to be managed just as carefully as the plan on how to implement the change. Getting everyone on board and making sure the organization is ready for a change are imperative.

Change cannot just come from the top of an organization but needs to be accepted and championed by members from across the organization, as well as feed into the firm’s overall strategic objectives. However, with a strong leader, a well-planned approach, and a focus on the seven keys can help manage change, however big or small.

7 Keys for Change Management

1. Transparency

Be holistically transparent about the process, and focus on all strategic and tactical elements

2. Have a system

There are hundreds of tools, such as ticket management systems to process management systems; it is important to have a system and take the time to apply it

3. Clear vision

Make sure your team understands the vision and then have them own part of the outcome; and most importantly, hold them accountable

4. Celebrate the small and big wins

Cultivate positive energy and excitement around what is going on: the small wins up front help create that positive energy to push the project across the finish line

5. Build momentum

Trust that your leaders and champions of change can get the rest of the team to the finish line, but validate that they are making progress toward that end goal

6. Understand how to fail

 Know when to pull the plug and step away from something, and communicate to everyone involved why it did not work

7. Never waste a good failure

Convert it into a learning opportunity and use those lessons learned for the next time

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