Merck IT Transformation Ambassador Judith Chuisano shares lessons from her year in a pioneering role established to change the pharmaceutical company's culture.
During this process, I have learned that your people are more inclined to support a transformational strategy if you do these three things:
1. Establish the North Star.
A company’s IT leader must set the direction and be actively involved. Like the North Star, an IT transformation strategy must be obvious and clear enough that IT colleagues can look to it for guidance and can set directions by it.
2. Be present.
Leaders need to be accessible to the people in their organization. Not just through town hall meetings or open office hours, but accessible in the halls and around the office. This accessibility is critical during a transformation. It discourages misinterpretation of the strategy. It also builds your image as an IT leader who is human, cares about people, and who learns from feedback. And it gives you the opportunity to recognize people and groups when new, positive behaviors occur in the workplace.
3. Be clear about the new strategy and its benefits.
Your people want to know what’s in it for them. Tell them. They want you to be truthful and transparent. And they want to believe your vision for the future and to convince others to come along for the ride.
Whether or not you decide to formalize the ambassador's role, I strongly endorse having transformation ambassadors when a big change is in your future. Your people are your most critical asset, and these are the people that can help you successfully reach your North Star.
Change will always be difficult, but a clear focus on the right areas will help ease the pain.
Photo credit: Judith Chuisano in her role as a transformation ambassador at Merck. Photo courtesy of Judith Chuisano.
About the Author
Judith Chuisano is a director of business and supplier management at Merck. She has spent more than two decades in the IT industry, and has led numerous large programs designed to change the way people do their jobs. Her extensive experience and expertise in IT transformation efforts include directing complex and diverse projects for two of the world’s largest companies—Merck and AT&T. In addition to serving in a pioneering new role at Merck as an IT transformation ambassador, Judith is also an IT innovation lead. She can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more about this topic, read John Palinkas' “Do You Need a ‘Transformation Ambassador’?”