The key to transforming your IT team includes redefining leadership, bridging organizational silos, mastering the customer equation and catalyzing change.
The Second Pillar: Bridging Silos and Building High-Performance Teams
Transformational initiatives are most often undermined by an insidious enemy: organizational silos. Silos have become such a common part of life in IT that we almost don’t question them any longer. But as we move into the new era of IT, silos will be the single greatest inhibitor of both transformation and value realization. Instead, IT leaders must be focused on creating high-performance teams that transcend and bridge the entire enterprise. To do this, you must acknowledge that the silos are real. They are not just imaginary constructs. They exist and to transform an organization, you must break them down. All it really takes to accomplish this is transparency and vision. First, you must create an opportunity for open dialogue. In many cases, the simple lack of awareness, understanding and empathy are the greatest causes for the perpetuation of organizational silos. Second, you must create a compelling, shared vision of the future that your entire organization can adopt and in which they can see themselves.
The Third Pillar: The Customer Equation
The customer equation may be the most important pillar. If IT is guilty of anything, it is being disconnected from how the value of technology investments is actually realized. To truly transform your organization, you must remedy this situation once and for all. The customer equation is a useful construct to do this. The customer equation is a simple formula that says perceived value = business value + customer experience. If IT is to be seen as a valued provider and trusted business enabler, you must ensure that you are delivering high levels of perceived value. Perceived value is the combination of the actual business value delivered by an IT service, plus the customer’s experience in receiving that value. Both parts of the equation are required in order for IT to deliver on its promise. Without understanding the equation and working on both components of perceived value, any transformational will ring hollow to your customers.
The Fourth Pillar: Catalyzing Change
The final pillar is the deliberate process of organizational change. Organizational change is a discipline unto itself and IT leaders must become well versed in its practices. It is not enough to simply understand the desired outcome. IT leaders must become catalysts for the change they desire. This requires that you explicitly engage in a set of activities that are designed to craft a compelling, shared vision, create engagement and investment, and effectively communicate and train the organization in the new practices. It is easy for IT leaders to dismiss organizational change as either unnecessary or the job of the organizational change consultants. On the contrary, you must see the need to become a catalyst for change as your personal mandate. It is the only way to ensure that meaningful and lasting change occurs—and it is the sole pathway to turning into a next-generation IT organization.
The journey to becoming a next-generation IT organization is a long and arduous one. You must begin by preparing your team for what lies ahead, challenging them to overcome the organizational baggage that will hinder them and equipping them to do the hard work of transformation. The four pillars will help your team prepare for this journey so that they can lead your organization into the future.
About the Author
Charles Araujo is a recovering consultant and accidental author of the book, The Quantum Age of IT: Why Everything You Know About IT is About to Change. He is an internationally recognized authority on IT Leadership and liberally shares his message of hope about the future of IT and what it means for all of us. He is the founder and CEO of the IT Transformation Institute and serves on the boards of itSMF USA and the Executive Next Practices Institute. You can follow him at @charlesaraujo.
This is the third installment of an eight-part article series titled "Seven Steps to a Next-Generation IT Organization." To read the second installment, click here.