Leadership, empowerment and mobility were recurrent themes of the recent CIO Summit in Perth. A reflection of the current issues being faced by many IT managers in the current evolving environment.
Effective leadership is particularly important during times of change as, whether we like it or not, most of us fear change for a variety of reasons which causes resistance to change. Rumours about change, self-doubt, fear of the future and uncertainty lead to anxiety and lastly inaction.
Effective leadership may not be able to eliminate all the fear and resistance to change but if the majority understand the change required, agree to the change and actively work towards the new goals, the anxiety, inaction and disruption of the few will be minimised.
Information is the key to change management. Advise everyone from the outset of the plans for change, the reasons change is needed, what the future holds and be open at all times to questions. As the Chief Information Officer, this should be the cornerstone of your style.
Regular updates during the change process and regular meetings where all are encouraged to put forward ideas and voice concerns, will maintain the feeling of inclusion and increase the desire to own the change. Once a sense of ownership is achieved, individuals feel empowered.
Empowerment is positive and is powerful. Empowerment is a sense of being valued and we all thrive on that. Decisions, smart decisions are made by those who feel empowered and when contributions are being made across the board from the bottom up success will be achieved.
One speaker at the Summit, Rebecca Livesy spoke about the four Rs of the “Cultural Change Journey” – Reliance, this is where fear lives; Rebellion, an angry blaming phase; Results, focus is kicking in and Realisation, moving forward. I am sure we all recognise these phases at some time in our change experience.
There are many definitions of change management or is that management of change, even that can create a different perspective, so be clear from the beginning what you are proposing. One of the definitions which does really make sense—
Change management is the process, tools and techniques to manage the people-side of business change to achieve the required business outcome, and to realize that business change effectively within the social infrastructure of the workplace.
Change Management Learning Center
What doesn’t sit so well is—
Minimizing resistance to organizational change through involvement of key players and stakeholders.
Only key players and stakeholders? No, it just won’t work. Buy-in by the majority is key.
One of the reasons for major change is mobility, both a more mobile work force able to work from anywhere and the significant uptake of mobile devices owned by an organisation and by the individual and either being used for work.
What is the best way to take advantage of mobility, how to rein in the risks, how to maintain security but then where are the boundaries? These are some of the challenges which will need collaboration, cooperation and commitment to achieve a workable solution.