How to Ensure a Successful IT Project – It’s not Technology!

Some of the most successful projects I have seen were the ones that invest in managing the impact of change on people. Along with a significant financial commitment, leaders need to invest emotionally in “engagement” communications. Engagement communications raise awareness, calm fears, and develop a desire for new skills and capabilities to support people emotionally during the implementation phase.

Awareness through Measurement

What you measure you can manage. Awareness through measurement creates new consciousness. Data and information answer our questions about why, what, and how.

Knowing what is happening in the organization is the first step down the road to success. Think about an iceberg as a metaphor.

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”

Above the water leaders create a vision, strategy, and even tactical plans. This is a comfortable place to work because it’s rational and tangible. Decisions are based on fact and reasoning. This is where leaders like to work.

Managers and employees responsible for fulfilling that mission are below the water, focused on the operations and efficient functioning of systems and processes. The cultural element is there, below the surface. It’s made up of habits, traditions, attitudes, prejudices, patterns, feelings, beliefs, and values. Intangible? Hard to see? Yes, but they have a huge impact on how things get done.

What sunk the Titanic was not above the water. “Culture eats strategy for breakfast” is an apt description of the power of cultural currents and their impact on strategic initiatives.

What drives performance is below the surface. How people do things, the management style, and the way decisions are made all happen here.

Think, if you want to move an iceberg, where would you apply pressure? Under the surface. It’s the same with organizations. What drives performance is not what is above the surface but below, the currents of emotions, team spirit, and the culture.

The challenge with culture is how does a leader manage to measure the intangible elements beneath the surface? How to discern the level of emotional uncertainty and fear in letting go of processes that brought them success?

It is far more difficult to change culture than it is to develop a strategy and to see it carried out.