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Author  Adam McCullough

Principal ITSM Architect

May 18, 2021 |

 4 min read

  • Blog
  • Change management
  • Methods & frameworks
  • Service management
  • ITIL

Changing culture in organizations – when done well – is a top-down, bottom-up approach to the way employees are treated, the way they treat each other, up-skilling and putting employees first, even before customers.

The top-down element is making space for well-being, a healthy work environment and giving people appropriate time off for life events – and really meaning it, not just paying lip service. From a bottom-up perspective, it’s about leadership listening to their people “in the field” and what happens as the company grows, keeping in touch and with a finger “on the pulse”.

However, developing a positive culture is a never-ending journey and there are various influencing factors that show that culture needs to change, for example:

  • Talent acquisition and retention
  • Remote working and business views on working from home/working from anywhere
  • Work hours (moving away from the traditional 9 to 5
  • New technology: speed to adopt and trends.

As the world changes, culture changes with it and there is a need to invest in training to retain employees and give them opportunities to grow.

Equally, customer expectations change – including the speed at which they want a product or service and the user experience in getting it. What used to be an add-on service is now required as standard and companies need to stay on top of rapid change in customer requirements. What’s happened during the Covid-19 pandemic is a good example.

In this context, ITIL® 4 offers a number of ways to manage how organizations’ culture needs to change.

ITIL 4 – an agile mindset and continual improvement

Adopting ITIL 4 ensures you don’t stick to the way things have always been done. The whole framework really contributes to change based on having an agile mindset and focus on continual improvement.

So, what are the different areas where professionals can use ITIL 4 principles to influence culture change?

  • People: collaboration and communication

This is at the heart of an effective culture. Good communication means there should be no ambiguity in the company and clarity about the expectations from all sides. Also, it’s rare today that one person is tasked with achieving a goal; you have to work with others collaboratively (and promote visibility, as the ITIL guiding principle notes) as part of a larger puzzle, working holistically to create joined-up solutions.

  • Feedback and stakeholders

The biggest shift today is in working directly with customers and getting feedback to create the product they want (and progressing iteratively; again, a guiding principle) in the time frame they need it.

Creating a culture of feedback comes from engaging end users of a product/service but also stakeholders and other business decision makers who have input into its high-level functionality. Providing the best service possible needs alignment between all stakeholders. For example, if you have a website, how does it appear on different devices? Does this affect the user experience?

  • Agile/DevOps: affecting behaviour

Using ITIL effectively is not about favouring one framework over another but taking the best of what’s available – which means understanding the value in other ways of working such as Agile, DevOps, how they affect behaviour and, ultimately, culture.

Ongoing culture change

Culture in an organization is something you look at continually: obtain feedback, conduct polls, review business goals and measure progress against them.

As you’re dealing with people and – potentially – at scale, it takes a lot to bring this information together. However, by aggregating the data, you can understand whether you’re achieving what you need to and course-correct along the way.

It’s an ongoing process and needs more concerted effort than just putting a “finger in the air”.

This is only one example of how ITIL 4 can adopted and adapted within your organization.

Discover how you can future-proof your organization with ITIL 4 >>>