CIO INSIGHT published an article recently titled IT Change Management: Follow the Four C’s for Success, in which Dan Roberts argued that successful CIOs have to manage four components to achieve success in change management. This was a helpful summary of the things that are needed to successfully drive a change through the organization, but I think that it would have been better with one more C, and that one has to come first.
The four Cs in Dan Robert’s article were:
- Commitment. Which he describes as being bound emotionally and intellectually to a course of action. Dan offers helpful advice on how to help staff become committed to supporting the change.
- Community. Including the roles of change leader, change agents and change advocates, sometimes formalized as a change management office.
- Clarity. Helping people to see why they should change, as well as what change is needed.
- Communication. Dan talks about the need for two-way communication, but focusses mainly on the need to get people to listen.
I enjoyed reading Dan’s article and it included lots of great advice.
The additional C that I would add to Dan’s list is Context. The context for a change includes two related areas.
- Organizational context. What is the overall mission and vision of the organization, how does the change support these and how does it fit with other changes that are happening?
It is not enough to embark on a single change and drive it through the organization. We need to look deeper into the context to make sure that we are making the right changes to the right things for the right reasons, and that all of the changes we make over a period of time work together to achieve something important.
Before we ask the people who work for us to become committed to something, to form a community, to see why they should change and to communicate with us about the change, we need to make sure that the change is correct for the context. We don’t just want commitment to this one change; we want commitment to the entire vision and mission of the organization, which this change should be helping to deliver.
- Personal context. Context also includes an understanding of what the change means personally to the CIO, and how their behavior affects the success of the change.
Mahatma Gandhi summarized the personal aspects of change management when he said “You must be the change you want to see in the world” and “An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching.” A great leader doesn’t just describe the change they want others to make; they change themselves and motivate others to follow them.
Understanding the personal context for the change, and ensuring that the culture and behavior of the CIO support the change, not in words but in deeds, is essential to success.
If you want to succeed in change management, then don’t forget the context. Follow the five Cs of change management.
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If you want ideas about how to start thinking strategically, then read some of my other blogs:
- IT strategy: 4 things you can learn from the U.S. government (yes, the U.S. government)
- IT Strategy: 3 more things you can learn from the U.S. Government
- 3 Steps an IT manager should take to earn their seat on the board
- Prioritizing time to get started on strategic planning
- Don’t mistake continual service improvement for a mature IT strategy
- 6 steps to plan and prioritize IT investments
- When is it good to talk about technology with the CEO?
- Service strategy survey shows that many organizations have a long way to go
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