Most IT teams – from front line up to leadership level – are focused on technology and functionality. They focus less on how to drive forward the vision and strategy of the organization.
What is interesting (and maybe unexpected) today is seeing IT teams trying to move the conversation on while some business leaders are still preoccupied with the idea of just “keeping the lights on”. Their stated vision might be strategic, but their actual vision isn’t.
I’ve just certified in ITIL® 4 Strategist Direct, Plan and Improve (DPI) and I think this can help IT leaders raise the visibility of what’s possible; painting a picture and articulating strategy in a way that an organization can relate to. People’s attention span is so limited, so you need to tell a story.
Making transformation meaningful
Organizations talk about the need for digital transformation, but what does that really mean?
In reality, it could mean – for example – salespeople having greater ability through IT to link to documents and materials when they’re in a sales meeting. That could include videos of their research activities or manufacturing operations to show to customers. Having this at their fingertips is directly connected to what IT can enable.
So, if IT understands what the sales organization needs, it can help make sure the company’s products are attracting the right customers and gaining advantage over competitors.
ITIL 4 Strategist DPI is very much about getting a clear alignment between strategy, operations and maximising the outcomes.
Organizational change management
I believe there’s currently more heightened anxiety about change in the world and people have a greater sensitivity to it. So, it can be a problem when organizations bring in change without communicating what the change actually means.
This is why it’s important for leaders to use organizational change management (OCM) techniques to understand and figure out which stakeholders and influencers can be the champions and “power users”.
While important, this area of expertise often doesn’t get the necessary attention. However, DPI covers OCM exceptionally well and includes just the right amount of detail; focusing on communication, knowing how to share information with people about change and addressing their concerns.
Control, influence and inspiring others
In my entire career, I’ve had far more jobs that relied on influence than authority. So,the ability to influence and inspire is absolutely critical.
When implementing activities, it’s essential to ensure that compliance and security controls are in place. All of this is important and is underpinned by good communication.
The recent DPI infographic
highlighting essential skills for the digital era outlines some vital communications principles:
- Communication is a two-way process
- We are all communicating all the time
- Timing and frequency matter
- There is no single method of communicating that works for everyone
- The message is in the medium
Thinking about how to communicate effectively is so much more critical now and IT has the added benefit of access to a variety of different communications methods.
Culture of continual improvement
The concept of continual improvement should link back to organizational strategy rather than doing it just in pockets of an organization.
Organizations and their people can be either active or passive in their embrace of continual improvement. It should be embedded at the strategy level and enabled by active, supporting leadership. That is the key to sustaining a culture of continuous improvement.