February 7, 2017

IT Leadership Meeting Recap: Leading Through a Significant IT & Business Transformation

Business transformation is a must for organizations that want to stay competitive in their industry. The driver for transformation could be internal or external, from aging infrastructure to new industry regulations. Whatever the reason, leaders must understand and, even more importantly, communicate the “why” with others. It is crucial for the organization as a whole to understand: What are the driving forces pushing us to make this transformation? Why are we making this change?

Kim Skanson, Vice President of Global IT, has recently gone through a business transformation at Cargill and at last Friday’s IT Leadership group meeting she shared her experiences, both her successes and lessons learned. She began the discussion with having the group share their opinions on why they think transformation’s fail; because, hopefully, it will help us avoid making the same mistake. Below are some of the reasons why:

  • Buy-in. You NEED to have support and buy-in from others in your organization. Transformation can only happen when everyone is on the same page, working towards the same goal.
  • Communication. Communication is key and without it, it’s extremely hard to make progress. It is important that everyone has access to the same information, understands why the transformation is necessary, and that leadership is transparent.
  • Culture. The culture of the organization must evolve with the business transformation. Leaders must take time to make sure that organization adapts to the change and that the change becomes the norm.

Change is challenging, full of surprises, and never goes as planned. But, the more you plan and consider possible set-backs, the more likely you will have a successful business transformation. 

So, we talked about why business transformations fail, but what is the key to success? Based on the discussion, gaining buy-in is one the most crucial things to do when planning for a transformation. Not only must you gain support before the transformation starts, but you also must keep people bought in throughout the transformation journey. Below are a few ways to get people bought in:

  • Be empathetic
  • Be transparent
  • One-to-one meetings
  • Take time to understand feelings
  • Training

Like stated before, business transformation is a journey. Therefore, it is key to develop short-term, mid-term, and long-term success factors. Define what success looks like and measure it throughout to make sure you are heading down the right path.

What do you find is most helpful when leading through business transformation?

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Posted by: Rachael Gaffney

Tags:  Meeting Recap, IT Leadership Group, Leading through a Significant Business Change, Business Transformation

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