Leading an IT Transformation
A strong viewpoint is part of being a leader, but change leadership recognizes the need for some unity of perspective. A large multi-national company was undergoing a significant transformation, changing from a disconnected IT group spread out among multiple business units to a centralized, aligned IT function. With limited coordination in the past, these leaders naturally had developed different priorities and approaches. Though they had many capable leaders, there was little experience with successful change leadership as structure and systems in the past had worked against previous IT change efforts.
Based on AlignOrg Solutions’ competencies for change leadership, we developed some tools for the company to evaluate individuals and teams. Among our results, we found that individuals assessed their own ability to lead through change far above the team’s ability and we discussed this dynamic. We focused on how to mitigate the weaknesses of greatest concern, helping individuals and the team as a whole to develop specific plans with clear ownership. A business leader was brought in to play the role of leading all change management throughout the transition. We worked side by side with this leader to become a resource to other change leaders. We offered tools, process guidance, and one-on-one coaching to help them succeed.
This organization, to some extent, learned the value of our tools by plunging ahead without them. As they moved forward, they met with some challenges that reemphasized the importance of our resources. Mitigation plans were neglected and direct reports were slow to become engaged. Some leaders began backtracking and reopening decisions and a lack of unity again emerged. Recognizing that these challenges could have been avoided, there is now a renewed emphasis on accessing our change leadership resources. Going forward, developing those change leadership competencies will bring increased unity and clarity around decisions and direction and a greater engagement in other levels of the organization.