If One More CIO Asks Me to "Sell" Change Management!

January 31, 2018

 

 

As I share this tongue-in-cheek story, too often too true, I do so not only to draw light to a common misconception, but also to shed light that there are answers, and those answers lie in experience and understanding. Discover how I guide this specific client to embrace the unfamiliar:

 

If one more CIO asks me to sell their project, I'm going to pull out all the curls on my head. We are way past clutching pearls! I fully acknowledge that there are CIOs in this amazing IT world who understand, embrace and know how to lead change efforts within their organizations. Yet, as of late, the CIOs I have encountered haven’t been aligned with organizational change management (OCM), hence, why we are brought onboard to support them and the organization.

 

Case in point, one of my current clients has the desire to implement an enterprise wide software solution. I introduced myself during the first project team meeting and once the CIO heard my title and purpose for serving on the project team, he excitedly said,

"Finally, we have someone onboard who can help us sell this software solution to the end users… we really have to sell this!" The image of a deer looking in headlights enters here!

 

Did I just hear him correctly? Am I under the impression this CIO believes OCM is all about selling? When on earth, did he believe OCM was along the same lines as a door-to-door salesman offering the next best carpet cleaner? Or how is OCM placed in the bucket of selling a dream and then inheriting a nightmare? Geez …   this may be one of my most challenging clients to date, hence one of the reasons that OCM is needed within the project team… even before we address or develop a plan for the end user and other stakeholder communities! What does one do when the project team needs OCM at the same time as you are developing an overall OCM strategy for the company?

 

Sometimes, it’s all about starting with the basics. For this client, I will be scooting, crawling, taking first steps, walking fast, jogging, then finally running. As we all know, change can be drastic for some people, especially when it is centered about new technology. That’s why it’s important to meet people where they are and have strategic patience to bring them to where you want them to go.  However, this is what, we at Nexlevel , do best: Empower our clients to strategically excel in implementing systems that result in sustainable results, along with leaving them in a better place by making complex change easy. The first tool we provide is patience!

 

The first step is to address Mr. CIO. I need you to repeat after me "OCM is not about selling. It is about supporting people to embrace change and guiding them through the transition of using a new system." I know, I know… you may be reading this, especially my seasoned OCM practitioners, clutching your own pearls, saying, "What on earth is Tammy talking about?"

 

You may be saying how I should have said OCM is about managing the people side of change or told me to offer them a full dissertation on the appropriate OCM theories, approaches, tools, processes and techniques. Nope! And there is a reason why I carefully choose my words. I have an understanding of my client's culture, which I believe is one of the most important aspects to understand as a OCM practitioner.

 

I knew for certain, if I were to spew off the "textbook" offerings of OCM, I not only would have lost Mr. CIO, but the other project team members as well. I understood that I needed to bring in a different perspective and approach in having others understand OCM at its basic, foundational levels.

 

Ok, Mr. CIO… repeat after me: “OCM is not about selling!” Yes, patience will be key.

 

I want to hear from you. Have you ever encountered a team who knew they needed something, but have a much unique perspective and/or expectation? How did you handle it?

 

Send me an email or comment below.

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