Making Change Stick, Part I

Charles Araujo

The Human Problem

It’s important to recognize that this isn’t an IT problem or an organizational problem. This is a human problem. 

People are naturally resistant to change. We prefer the pain of what we know to the fear of what we don’t. But overcoming this resistance and driving behavioral change is the key to a successful service management adoption. It is the key to transforming your organization in a way that actually solves the business problems you need solved. Driving organizational change is what will be the difference between your ITSM adoption having a lasting impact or merely being a “flash in the pan.”

Creating a strategy to cover the last mile does not come naturally to IT professionals. We like building things. We like precision. We like to design solutions and then watch them become reality. Changing organizational behavior is none of those things.

Driving change into an organization is messy. It borders on controlled chaos and it requires that IT leaders let go of the thing they hold most dear – control. That’s because driving organizational change is mostly about making people the center of the solution and giving them the tools and structure they need to succeed. And it all starts with one team.

The Team of Champions

The greatest decision affecting the eventual success or failure of your ITSM adoption effort will be your first: selecting the team to lead it. This team will become the backbone of your adoption effort and will be charged with leading and championing the tough changes that you will be asking your organization to make. How you assemble and structure this team will have a major impact on the effectiveness of your effort.

When an ITSM adoption team is assembled, it is normally built from a “project perspective.”  It typically includes a project manager, a few subject matter experts in process or technology domains and a handful of “workers” who will do a lot of the heavy lifting.  This is the exact type of team you need for a normal technology project - but it is exactly wrong for an organizational change effort.

The primary purpose of your team is not to be the “process experts” or “tool experts” who design all of the process improvements that will be implemented as part of your Service Management effort. Instead, your goal in building an adoption team is to assemble a cross functional group who will enable you to break through political barriers and overcome the organizational resistance that you will face as you execute. To accomplish this you need a multi-dimensional and diverse team that is made up of three distinct roles: The Executive Champion, The Core Team and The Management Alliance.

Next in Part II: The Executive Champion

Charles Araujo is the founder and CEO of The IT Transformation Institute, which is dedicated to helping IT leaders transform their teams into customer-focused, value-driven learning organizations.

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