Be a Better CIO: The Human Side of Organizational Change

CIOs manage change all day, every day – updates, priorities, technologies. What sets CIO’s apart, however, is the ability to manage the human side of organizational change. With this skill CIO’s obtain more support, get more done, and are more likely to be valued as a strategic asset.

The human side of organizational change engages your entire organization in support of critical IT projects, strengthens IT’s reputation as a key resource, and helps IT projects meet expectations by carefully setting organizational expectations and bringing accountability to business unit support.

CIO’s must understand and manage the human side of organizational change to counteract the tendency of those business unit leaders who minimize their project responsibility while maximizing IT’s responsibility. In a CIO Magazine article (1) on the impact of a project failure on a CIO’s career, Thomas Wailgum observes that IT often attracts the majority of the blame even though the lack of business unit support is often a major cause of the failure.

5 Reasons to Include Human Side of Organizational Change Management

1 – You need support from peers across the entire organization

The human side of organizational change demonstrates to both leaders and business units an IT project’s importance to future growth, revenue, customers, clients, and stakeholders. The human side of organizational change is primarily about strategic alignment and changing accountabilities and much less about smoothing user adoption. C-level and business unit executives need to see how the project supports their objectives before they support the project.

2 – It has an attractive ROI

The human side of organizational change pays for itself and more. A McKinsey study (2) of 40 organizations calculated an average project ROI of 143% for organizational change management-enabled projects compared to a dismal ROI for projects with poor or no organizational change management. Extrapolating to a $1M IT project the difference in ROI would be around $1M ($1.43M-$350k). If the organizational change management portion were included at $200k the ROI on this decision would be approximately 400% (($1M-$200k)/$200k). CIO’s rarely see a decision this CFO-friendly.

3 – It’s about executing strategy

Business unit executives do not care about servers, storage, applications, or any other technology silo. They care about things they believe will help them deliver expected business results. The human side of organizational change clearly connects project benefits to business unit deliverables so unit executives see the IT project as strategic – making the business units and the organization stronger, more agile, and more resilient.

4 – It’s about accountability

The human side of organizational change knows employee activities must be modified to ensure the system is utilized to full advantage. Real organizational support is rarely created with a ‘Why we must change’ presentation. To ensure system-support actions remain in place key individuals must be made personally accountable for these actions. The human side of organizational change uncovers key behaviors, suggests ways to make them accountable, and convinces executives to implement adjustments to individual accountability.

5 – It sets up the CIO’s next project for success

The human side of organizational change links business strategy execution to the IT project. Associating strategic goals and the technology required to accomplish those goals reinforces to the organization the significance of IT, the importance of the CIO’s function, and makes it considerably easier to support IT’s next project.

1 -
2 - “Change Management That Pays,” McKinsey Quarterly, 2002.

© Streamlined Management Group Inc. 2013 – All rights reserved.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *