Changing the culture one month at a time

Being an IT leader is a challenging business. It requires understanding technology, business and managing clients. As part of our consulting engagements I often hear IT leaders complaining that their team doesn't get they are in the service business. That they think too much about technology and too little of their (internal) clients. How can they go about changing the culture of their department? Actually, its' fairly simple: one month at a time.

Where is the goal line?

IT professionals are very focused, very motivated people. They've been through years of technical training and work tirelessly in a job that is both stressful and often unrewarding. When given an objective, they will try to achieve regardless of the effort or impact. Thus the importance of giving the right objectives.

If you are still measuring user satisfaction once a year (or worst, not at all), chances are that when survey results come out everyone is thinking hard about how to improve satisfaction. A flurry of new projects and activity is generated. Programs are put in place. Then Monday comes and new issues / crisis takes over and we kind of forget about satisfaction until the next survey.

What gets measured gets done.

But IT departments that measures satisfaction continuously (monthly in most cases) have a constant reminder of their objective, and most importantly of their score. Satisfaction becomes a metric as important as budget or availability.

When studying people having lost weight, one key success factor for them was regular weigh-in. Having a constant reminder of what you are trying to accomplish is a great way to stay focused on the right priorities.

And no one likes to see a bad score several months in a row. The simple fact of measuring satisfaction is often enough to provide the visibility and the motivation to actively tackle the issues.

A daily preoccupation

An organizational culture is built on our daily interactions. If the only thing people talk about all day is technology, budgets or sports results, this is the kind of culture you will have. But if leaders have the tools and means to measure their objectives, you can switch the culture in any direction.

Take-aways

  • To improve satisfaction, it must be measured
  • IT professionals are self-starters. With the appropriate measures, they will motivate themselves to meet their goals
  • A culture is build on our daily conversations.
Posted on October 18, 2013 .