When I’m working with IT managers, all too often I see them trying very hard to get things “just right”. I know what they are thinking. They believe that if they can get things set up correctly, then the team that they are in charge of will just run itself. I guess that they might be right if it wasn’t for one critical thing that they’ve overlooked – things change.
Why Bother Getting Ready For Change?
Look, life is hard enough already for IT managers, why take the time to plan for something that you really can’t define? That’s actually a good point, unless you have the ability to predict the future you really can’t guess at exactly what kind of changes your team will be facing in the future, but you can make some educated guesses.
In the world of IT the one thing that we can all count on changing is, of course, technology. Changes in technology have the ability to completely change how your company does business (think Ebay, think Facebook) and your IT team may be a key part of how the company reacts. Another type of change that your team may face could be caused by a change in the competitive landscape that your company operates in. It doesn’t even have to be a new competitor, it could simply be your #1 and #2 competitors merging and forming a formidable new competitor.
4 Ways To Prepare Your Team For Change
This isn’t all doom-and-gloom. Instead, there are very specific actions that your IT team can be taking today in order to prepare for the changes that you know will be coming your way:
- Talk A Lot: you and your team are surrounded by information on what your company is doing and changes to its competitive situation. Spend time talking with your team about what is going on and how it impacts them and how they can impact it.
- Teach: the members of your team have a great deal of hands on information about how the company operates on a day-to-day basis. Set up opportunities for them to meet with your company’s senior management so that they can share what they know and expand the manager’s understanding of what’s really going on.
- Data Discussions: in IT we all spend a great deal of time working very hard to collect a lot of data. However, we often don’t spend a great deal of time studying the data that we’ve collected in order to understand what it is trying to tell us. Take the time to do this type of analysis with your team.
- High Standards: One positive way to prepare for change is to cause that change to occur. By setting standards that your team members will have to stretch in order to reach, you cause them to grow and develop as team members.
What All Of This Means For You
Change happens. If you and your team have become complacent then change is going to show up and whack you upside your head. What you need to do is to take steps now to prevent this from happening.
Preparing your team for change is the role of every IT manager. Things that you can do include having discussions with your team about issues that are facing the company, providing opportunities for your team to provide feedback to senior management, having your team talk about the data that they are collecting, and setting high standards.
Change is good. However, it’s only good if both you and your team are ready for it. Follow these four suggestions and when change comes around, you’ll be able to look it in the eyes and say “bring it on”…
– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™
Question For You: How much time each week should you devote to planning for unexpected changes?
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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time
Talk about whining! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been working with newly minted IT managers who come to me and complain that people aren’t listening to what they say. A little bit of digging on my part and I discover that they’re part of some sort of cross functional team or that they are working with vendors. They’ve found themselves in the classic situation where they need to lead a group of people who don’t report to them. Good luck!