Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Leading Change is recognized as one of the all-time best business books and the definitive work on the subject. Harvard Business School Professor John P. Kotter methodically and carefully explains his 8-step process for leading and managing major organizational change in an easy to understand fashion, which captures his wealth of knowledge and experience working with major companies all over the world. Professor Kotter takes concepts like leadership, urgency, vision, strategy, quick wins, and communication and puts them in well-explained, practical terms that anyone can follow.
If you’re a manager at any level of your IT organization who is currently leading any aspect of a change (and today it’s an ongoing occurrence!), understanding Kotter’s 8-step change process is a must-have. At the 2012 Pink Elephant conference there is a not-to-be-missed session where you can learn how to apply the best practices from this book from one of the world’s leading ITSM consultants – Gary Case, a Principal Consultant at Pink Elephant. You’ll gain huge benefits from Gary’s extensive ITIL implementation and IT project management experience as he walks you through several real world examples for each of the eight steps.
As I said in a recent post on this blog the “people in IT” movement is in full flood now. The people third of the old PPT (people process technology) model is finally getting the attention it deserves (or the people quarter of the old PPPP model for you ITIListas). On this blog I’d like to feature some of the sessions t the 2012 Pink Elephant conference that are around people and the Kotter one is a classic. So I was eager to ask Gary a few questions:
Amazingly not everyone has heard of Kotter. Why isn’t the 8-step model part of our everyday IT?
You are correct in that the Kotter model or other organizational change models aren’t well known within many IT organizations. Organizational Change is like the 500 lb Gorilla in the room that everyone knows is there but no one wants to acknowledge it or wants to do anything with it or they don’t know how to deal with it. Every organization I’ve worked in acknowledges the need for organizational change, but often the effort, resources and time isn’t allocated to manage the organizational change, and my philosophy is that if you don’t manage organizational change, then it will manage you.
Some of Kotter’s language is a bit hard to engage with, e.g. “a guiding coalition”. Does Kotter need translating to make it more accessible?
I don’t think so. The books provide a pretty good understanding of the key terms. I guess I may have done my own translating as it pertains to ITSM projects. When implementing ITSM, I always discuss the guiding coalition as being the people with the right skill sets, authority and ability to influence across the organization who are brought together as part of the ITSM program team.
Others say they understand Kotter but do they really? Are there common misconceptions or misuse of his ideas?
Probably the most common have to do with understanding that the 8 steps have to be followed in the correct order. It is hard to begin with Quick Wins when an organization doesn’t have a sense of urgency or a burning platform about why they have to change. Also many organizations don’t put the right effort in the communication of the Vision.
One of the tendency’s I’ve noticed is with the method of communication. Most IT organization immediately begin communicating in two ways. The first is to send an email out stating that we are going to be implementing ITSM / ITIL. And the other form of communication is what I call “The Field of Dreams” and that is where an organization will build a website and just like in the movie, build it and they will come! That doesn’t happen especially if the organization hasn’t told the staff about the site or if the site doesn’t have any quality content that is of interest to the different levels within an organization. Managing Organizational Change requires communication that is face-to-face and allows the staff to provide feedback. I’m not saying you can’t use email and a Website for communication but it should not be your primary method of communication.
The conference session will also introduce us to Professor Kotter’s follow up book, The Heart Of Change – organized around Leading Change’s revolutionary 8-step change process. The conference session description says “The book’s findings may surprise you. Although most organizations believe change happens by making people think differently, Professor Kotter’s research reveals that the key lies more in making them feel differently”. I’ve not read The Heart Of Change. I’m interested by the idea that “the key lies more in making them feel differently”. What’s that about? Morale? Esteem?
You could say it’s about both plus a lot more. One of the keys of organizational change is the WIFM or WIIFM principal which is ‘What’s In It For Me’! No matter if you are a Senior Manager, Mid-Level Manager, Front Line Manger or staff, each person is looking for the benefit that they will gain from this change. In other words, how has this change impacted my life in a positive way? That is making them feel differently.
There will always be people who won’t immediately see the benefit because it means they have to do something they haven’t been doing in the past such as submitting Requests for Change, recording all incidents, etc., but in the long term by doing these activities, they will find that they will have less reactive / firefighting work and can focus more on proactive work.
Are there special “Kotter considerations” specific to ITSM change?
As previously mentioned if you don’t have a burning platform or sense of urgency, most change efforts fail at this first step. This is a key step.
The other step I like to focus on is empowering staff. I encourage enterprises to involve people from across the IT organization in the development of the processes either as a member of a process design team or as a focus group that can review and provide input into the process design. I know this is a lot of work and you don’t want to have too large of a design team, but what I have found is that if staff from across the organization are involved in the design, then it becomes ‘our’ process instead of people saying that’s their process. Getting staff involved early on leads to a sense of ownership, and ownership increases the chance for buy-in and buy-in leads to a greater process adoption success rate.
Thanks Gary! We look forward to hearing more at the conference.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Social Media at PINK12
If you just got back from Mars you may not have heard of Chris Dancy or heard that Pink Elephant recently acquired his company ServiceSphere. Chris is the maven of ITSM social media. (I got to see Chris in full flight at the itSMF Canada NCR professional development day last month - you NEED to see Chris present at Pink12!) The acquisition is a clear signal that Pink are getting even more serious about social media. So if you thought social media were widely used at the 2011 conference, just wait for 2012!
Look at all the “social media” activities at Pink Elephant
- a cluster of blogs
- a Facebook page
- a LinkedIn page
- a Youtube channel
- a podcast channel on iTunes
- a Flickr feed
- a mobile app for Android, Blackberry and Apple
a strong presence on Twitter from Pink Elephant, the Pink Pres, Troy DuMoulin, George Spalding, ServiceSphere, and many other Pinkers
- the 2011 conference had its own Twitter hashtag (#PINK11), as did some of the sessions at the conference. The 2012 conference will of course be on #PINK12: there are already tweets there.
...and all these sessions are already planned for the 2012 conference on the topic of social media
- How To Use Social Networking At This Conference
- Social Media For Project Managers
- Social Media For The CEO
- How To Use Social Networking For ITSM Project Teams
- Networking Focus Group: Social Media
Friday, June 17, 2011
Perhaps not many readers will know Karen Ferris, but you will by the end of this interview. Karen is based in my part of the world, next door in Australia. (Though once you talk to her you soon realise she originally comes from the UK). At next year’s conference Karen is presenting What’s CSR Got To Do With IT?. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is gaining traction from CEOs who see it as another opportunity for growth and differentiation from the competition. It also gives organisations permission to enter new markets and attract and retain top talent. The CEO agenda is squarely focused in three areas: environmental concerns, socioeconomic factors and people skills. What is the link between the three? Information Technology! It is IT that is expected, not only to adhere to the CSR but also provide the transparent information being demanded. This puts the CIO right in the middle of the organisation’s CSR activities. And of course ITSM and ITIL provide a framework for the CIO to address sustainability challenges and embed CSR practices in to the fabric of the organisation.
Karen and I were both speaking at the itSMF New Zealand national conference this month, and straight afterwards I took the opportunity to ask Karen more about her favourite IT subjects…
Please forgive the IT Skeptic for being a bit skeptical about CSR. In a capitalist economy, surely private enterprise is motivated by only one thing? Is CSR anything more than lip-service to project a friendly image? Why would a company bother lifting their game with CSR if it costs them money?
It would be nice, but naïve, to think that organisations are putting in place a Corporate Social Responsibility policy because it is the “right thing to do”. Organisations are adopting CSR because it will be critical to the success of their business. In fact, in an Accenture survey 2010, 93% of CEOs indicated that this was the case. The same survey revealed that the top drivers for organisations to have a CSR policy are 1) brand and reputation and 2) revenue growth.
It is the demand from customers, consumers, stakeholders, shareholders, employees, government, NGOs and the wider community that is putting the pressure on the organisation to not only have a CSR policy but actively demonstrate adherence to that policy and associated objectives.
So, although the driver for CSR adoption is one of profit for most organisations, that driver is forcing the organisation to do the “right thing” in regards to its management of the economic, social and environmental impacts of their operations. The positive is that organisations cannot just “talk-the-talk” and pay CSR lip-service. Customers, consumers, employees and other stakeholders are demanding the evidence that shows that the organisation is “walking-the-walk”. In today’s world of social media, there is nowhere to hide and organisations that are not transparent about their operations, will be found out and suffer the consequences of damaged of brand and reputation.
You and your colleagues at Macanta are also much interested in Green IT. You know my views on that are similarly skeptical. But there are real financial motivations for good green behaviour aren’t there?
That is right. At Macanta, we have developed a world-first service - eco–ITSM - that uses Service Management and the ITIL framework to build sustainability into every process, activity and function across the Service Lifecycle. But, as with CSR, we are fully aware that the driver for most organisations to green their IT is not about doing the right thing for the planet. There has to be a financial benefit.
Most ecological drivers for Green IT are economic ones too. A reduction in power consumption, an increase in reuse and redeployment, a reduction in consumable usage etc. all have a financial benefit for the organisation.
A couple of my favourite examples of the financial savings resulting from Green initiatives are from Sun Microsystems and Intel.
In 2009, Sun Microsystems undertook a clean-up of data centre facilities at four of their major campuses and pulled out over 440 pallets of equipment. There were 6,199 devices in total with 4,100 of them being servers. 64% of those servers were still powered on and consuming energy around the clock. Sun equated the environmental impact of this to puling 6000 cars off the road. But, also consider the financial savings from switching off 3,904 servers that were consuming power 24 x 7.
In the same year, Intel announced that over the preceding 2 years they had reduced their applications by 37% towards their goal of 50% as a part of their Green programme. They expected that retiring applications would result in a net present value of more than USD 50 million.
So, like CSR the organisational benefits of Green IT are both improved reputation and brand as well as revenue growth. Therefore they are also the prime drivers.
Hmmm, that Intel example in particular points to a grey area between Green initiatives and old-fashioned cost-saving initiatives. Is Green just re-badging what we would have done anyway?
I agree that it is a grey area and maybe not so much a Green one! What I do believe is that the “Green agenda” has led some organisations to look at areas where they can save money which they may not have looked at before. In the examples I quoted, the activities undertaken where what the organisations should have been doing regardless of sustainability. Redundant equipment and applications should not exist for organisations that have effective and efficient ITSM processes such as Service Asset and Configuration Management, Service Portfolio Management and Change Management – to name a few. The fact that Green IT is asking the questions about the impact of not identifying redundant equipment and the cost of duplicate or redundant applications from a sustainability perspective is raising organisational awareness of where both the ecological and economic savings can be aligned. If an organisation wants to badge a cost saving initiative as a Green one too, then that is ok by me because the outcomes are the right ones. At the end of the day, if any organisation was absolutely lean in order to improve profitability – no wastage, no duplication, no unused infrastructure, a focus on reuse and redeployment, active management of power usage and so on, they would already be Green. The fact is, most organisations are not like that. If Green IT is driving them to become like that, then that is a good thing.
You told me recently that you are working on a book about cultural change in IT. I find that most upsetting as my own book He Tangata has sat moribund for over a year and now a better author is going to beat me to it. Maybe there is hope for me yet that our books can both coexist. Can you give us some advance clues about what the book gets into?
I am sure that our books can coexist. My book has a specific focus. I recently came across research that was commissioned by the Network for Business Sustainability and led by Dr. Stephanie Bertels at Simon Fraser University. This research resulted in a framework of practices that organisations can adopt to embed sustainability into the organisational culture. Clearly, I came across this research from my interest in Green IT. However, on reviewing this research, it became clear to me that the framework could be used to embed any type of change into an organisation’s culture. So in liaison with NBS and Dr. Bertels, I have taken their framework and applied it to Service Management. In essence, it is about an organisation having a balanced portfolio of practices to embed change into the organisation. The portfolio should comprise a balance of both formal and informal approaches to delivering on current commitments (i.e. what the organisation should do) and aimed at innovation (i.e. what the organisation could do).
The book details each of the 59 practices within the framework and how they apply to Service Management. The book should be published early next year.
CSR, green, culture… There is a pattern here. Is Macanta cornering the market in “Nice IT”? And is it more than a coincidence that Macanta is staffed mostly by women?
I had never thought about it like that! I think it is about recognising that our core business is Service Management, but always looking at innovative ways to help organisations use what they have today (i.e. Service Management) to overcome the other challenges they are facing, in addition to the need for more effective and efficient processes e.g. Green IT and CSR. We also recognise that one of the biggest problems organisations have is embedding change into the organisation – and making it stick. I am not sure that I can relate our approach to gender but Macanta believes that the days of the traditional IT Service Management consulting and training companies are numbered unless they start to think outside the square. This is why we have embraced innovation and diversification of services.
You are a Fellow of the Institute of Service Management (the prISM insititute). That is a major honour but many of our American readers may not know of you. Tell us about your history in the ITSM world.
My ITSM journey started back in 1994 when the company I was working for in the UK started its adoption of the the ITIL framework. I was already a process focussed individual so ITSM (and ITIL) made absolute sense to me. I obtained my Managers Certification in 1995 and have been in the industry ever since. After being Head of Service Management for a large food retail organisation in the UK, I moved to Australia in 1998 as a Principal Consultant for a consulting and training organisation. I took a break for a couple of years and worked as an independent consultant before going back to the organisation as Practice Manager. Prior to forming Macanta, I was the Head of the Service Management Office for a large financial organisation.
I have been actively involved in itSMF Australia since 1998 and have been a Board Member for many years. I currently hold the Director portfolio of publications. I have also been involved with the ITIL Publications as a reviewer for ITIL V2 and ITIL V3 and Lead Assessor for the initial CSI publication. I am currently a member of the Editorial Advisory Board for itSMF Publications. I was proud to receive the inaugural Service Management Champion award from itSMF Australia in 2007 for my contribution to the industry. Like yourself, I speak at conferences at both a national and international level and contribute articles, whitepapers etc. to various publications as well as the Macanta website - http://www.macanta.com.au.
Next year’s conference is your opportunity to hear and meet this thoroughly nice IT expert.
Monday, June 13, 2011
After June 30 can I still bridge my Service Manager certificate?
If you achieved your Service Manager certificate under V1 or V2 and haven’t completed the V3 Manager’s Bridge certificate there is still a unique path to ITIL Expert certificate after the Manager’s Bridge is withdrawn on June 30.
First, in order to be eligible to take any of the V3 Intermediate courses, you must hold the V3 Foundation certificate. You may have taken this under the Foundations Bridging option previously available.
Then you must complete either the Service Strategy OR the Continual Service Improvement certificate from the ITIL Intermediate Lifecycle stream.
The third and final component of this option is to complete the Managing Across the Lifecycle course and certificate.
This path is available only to holders of the V1 or V2 Service Manager certificate. Please note that the credit system does not apply to this bridging option.
For additional information on the complete ITIL Qualification scheme visit the Official ITIL site at http://www.itil-officialsite.com/Qualifications/ITILV3QualificationScheme.aspx
IT climate change
IT is undergoing its own climate change: a major shift in the current state of thinking and acting. Like all really significant shifts it is happening slowly and quietly, creeping up on us. We spoke about it previously on this blog: it’s about people. With every passing year the awareness is growing that IT is about people: that every change in IT is a change in behaviour and culture. Technology and process are just means to an end, changing people. We have to stop treating them as an end in their own right.
The misanthropic techno-geeks are not happy about this. There is a backlash from those who feel the importance of their precious toys is being undermined, that a focus on people is a slur on their technical roles. Well it is. For too long IT has been techno-centric. More recently some of us have been too process-centric, hence the rise of ITIL. But now if you look and listen you can hear the murmur rising to a rumble - it’s about people. Information Technology is about people manipulating information by using technology. If you haven’t heard it yet you need to step back, get out, look around. The movement, the climate shift, is now very very clear.
I predicted this year’s conference would be people-centric, and it was. Next year’s will be even more so - you watch. Look for the sessions on culture change, training, performance, roles… They are a rising tide.
Thursday, June 09, 2011
Apps for Vegas
With the increasing use of smart-phones, it is worthwhile looking at what apps are out there that are useful to you when in Las Vegas. We welcome suggestions for upcoming posts on this subject: write to me.
The first suggestion just has to be Pink Elephant’s own app - PinkAPP. Download this app to stay connected with Pink Elephant in the lead-up to the conference and during the conference. Get the latest news, special offers, videos, and much more!
P.S. Droids Rule!
Wednesday, June 08, 2011
How do organizations achieve successful IT transformations?
Some projects to transform IT organizations into high customer satisfaction service providers have been completed, but more have been cancelled before they were completed. Of those completed, a subset achieved the desired results. Why?
Thousands of well intended people have poured their hearts and souls into IT transformation efforts to make their internal IT organization the preferred supplier of IT services for their business customers. Most fail, and as their reward, they are replaced either by new employees/management or 3rd party service providers. Why?
Of those that succeed, maintaining a preferred supplier relationship against competing providers is not as simple as just meeting SLAs. Why?
Martin Erb of Pink Elephant will examine these questions in a series of whitepapers.
Click here for the first in the series.