CIOs and IT GMs often talk about cultural change and change management in general like it’s a “destination”… “we’re doing a culture change project this year”. I reckon cultural change is better regarded as a consequence of laser focus on your business model, not a destination or a “project”.
In a recent conversation with Phil Hassey from CapioIT, we discussed the importance of always focusing on business outcomes, rather than a specific IT solution. Phil said, if you ask for an IT product (eg a CRM) you’ll get a product. If you ask for an outcome it’s a completely different conversation. [You may still not get an outcome, but at least the question changes the conversation.] To me with my focus on business modelling, if a conversation goes down the path of a specific technology, it’s gone the wrong direction. It should be about the business outcome.
In his article entitled “Natural Resources and Retail – How cross industry learning can improve business and technology outcomes”, Phil discusses how industries can learn from one-another if they understand the business principles of each rather than getting bogged down in the specifics of product. This struck me as illustrative of the principle of outcome focus: despite Mining and Retail being so different, the outcomes – getting the right stuff sourced, delivered and available to the consumer at the right time – couldn’t be more similar… yet the conversation at a Retailer is usually about Retek or POS or a specific brand of beacon, rather than outcomes for the consumer.
So going back to first principles again (and unashamedly to the Delta Framework), it’s really important to clearly understand your business model. Socialise the business model… be the leader who uses words like UVP, sales channels and customer segments. As you do you’ll be amazed at how people start to quote these terms back at you and measure their success this way… incentivise this sort of talk and push the product detail down to the product implementers.
When people are focused like this, cultural change is a consequence not a “destination”.