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Monday, February 7, 2011

Why 70% of All Changes Fail

Repeated failures can kill an IT department’s reputation, but these three actions that can help IT leaders build support for their ideas and projects.

Baseline magazine
By Rick Maurer
2010-12-21
The Change Management Process's ActivitiesImage via WikipediaNearly 70 percent of all the changes in organizations fail—and IT is not immune from that alarming statistic. Every day, good ideas die before they ever get started, and organizations go through the motions of adopting a new system but actually keep using their old system.
Obviously, all these failures are costly, but they are more than that. Repeated failures can kill an IT department’s reputation. This happened frequently in the past, when IT professionals overwhelmed clients with technical jargon and got them to agree to implement things they didn’t understand.
Change Management process ITILImage via WikipediaWhen the dust settled, many of those projects failed. … Understandably, these failures left a bitter taste in the mouths of potential users of IT services.
Savvy technology departments have learned from those mistakes. Here are three actions that can help IT leaders build support for their ideas and projects:
1. Speak so they’ll understand you.
Smart IT professionals don’t make the client speak computerese. Instead, they use plain everyday speech. This helps internal customers understand your project and become engaged in the process. …
2. Listen and learn.
Smart IT leaders are willing to be influenced. They realize that the internal clients are the real experts when it comes to what they need. The clients may not know what to ask for in terms of process, but they usually know what they want to have happen differently as a result of all this effort. …
The willingness to listen to and be influenced by others may sound simple, but it’s the foundation on which business relationships are built. The clients trust that you won’t try to sell them a solution they don’t need. Consequently, when you do have an idea that could help their productivity or their bottom line, they are far more willing to give you the benefit of the doubt.
3. It’s the people who matter.
Smart IT leaders know that technical changes start and end with people. …
… Some IT professionals inundate people with PowerPoint slides By communicating with their clients, IT leaders can find out why people resist change and why they support it. They can predict how the mere mention of a new enterprisewide system is likely to go over in a specific organization. And they know how to use that knowledge to create strategies that build support for change.
Change is difficult, but it's not impossible. IT professionals who understand that the soft stuff is really the hard stuff get more of their ideas across.
Rick Maurer is a change management expert, speaker and adviser. He is also the author of Beyond the Wall of Resistance: Why 70% of All Changes Still Fail—and What You Can Do About It.
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