12 IT change management practices

The digital era upon us is volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. Change becomes the new normal. In forward-looking organizations, IT has become synonymous with the change department. IT is not only the super glue but also an integrator to weave all important change elements such as people, strategy, process, procedure, and information technology seamlessly, and make multidimensional change sustainable for the long term. Here is a set of IT Change Management practices.

1. Reflection and evaluation practices

The purpose of digitalization is to make a significant difference in the overall levels of organizational maturity. Thus, it’s important for CIOs to spend time on doing IT management reflection and evaluation by asking: Is IT there to “keep the lights on” only, or is IT expected to actively take part in strategic decisions or innovative initiatives? Does IT stretch, challenge, or interrupt the status quo? Can IT expand the zone of possible change and innovation? Does IT drive team-building and organizational learning? Is IT in a high-involvement process to make the digital paradigm shift? Etc. CIOs need to evaluate the overall IT manageability, innovation competency, skills gap and ensure that IT is on the right track for progression and moving up to the high level of organizational maturity.

2. Deep listening practices

The digital age upon us is the era of people. That means you have to listen to their feedback, involve them in both change management and process implementation, to gain insight and empathy. This is particularly important for managers. Because when you are in a position of authority, you have lots of opportunities to tell and lots of leeway in how to do the telling. But change as a management process does not start with “how,” you often need to figure out “why” first. Thus, for them, the message is about listening with empathy! If you do not listen, you will lose the goodwill of collaboration. Listening and communicating are critical to deal with conflicts, constructively advocate fresh viewpoints or build the trustful business relationship which will lubricate business processes to further enforce change effectiveness.

3. Team inception practices

Most of the organizations today are process and control driven, the management puts emphasis on compliance with the result, and people forget to think freely. However, for driving change and innovation from inception to fruition, it’s important to develop a working environment in which people are encouraged to think independently, share unique insight, harness collective or external collaboration, and get teams off on the right foot. Change leaders should cultivate an open nature of the business, break down the overly restrict business hierarchy and multilayer of organizational silos such as silo mentality, silo information or silo processes to build holistic enterprise change competencies.

4. Dynamic facilitation practices

Fundamentally, change is about figuring out the better way to do things. If you try to turn it into an obligation, you will cause an equal and opposite reaction. Many well-established organizations are struggling with changes because of overly rigid business processes, legacy technologies, inflexible management disciplines, or command-control management styles, etc. To rejuvenate the culture of change, it’s important for change management to adopt coach or mentoring styles, apply dynamic facilitation practices to develop high performing and creative teams, build both internal and external beliefs around how the business is a movement for business enablement and improvement. It takes time and generations of changes within a company to practice and build change as an ongoing business capability.

5. Cross-functional communication and collaboration practices

 Traditional IT organizations were often run as a siloed support center, an order taker or a help desk. Those CIOs who are technology geeks or tactical managers don’t understand the business side of the story. There are negative conflicts when the organization has the little collaborative competency or lack of changeability. But when they communicate, collaborative, and integrate, there is more potential to change and innovate for creating the business value. It is the responsibility of leaders to initiate their team to break down silos and realize the common goals or strategies which are far more important than the personal or departmental goals.

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