Start with the problem — not the fix

Start with the problem — not the fix

Cutting-edge capabilities such as artificial intelligence and blockchain are transforming many business processes, and it’s easy to be enamored by these technologies. But enthusiasm for any particular tool won’t win converts, experienced change leaders say. Instead, focus on the problem that needs to be fixed — and promote the fix as the key benefit that comes from change.

A good change manager recognizes the need, to begin with, a diagnosis — What’s the problem I’m trying to solve? — and then gets people involved in understanding the nature of the problem so they can identify the solutions that make sense.

Change needs to make sense to people and it needs to solve a problem that’s legitimate. If that connection is there when the change is introduced, it’s a lot easier to get people on board. When a change isn’t legitimate, people don’t have a reason to be on board.

Growing an army of change agents doesn’t happen by pure serendipity, however. Rather, CIOs should be prepared to promote their army and the ROIs they produce by embracing change.

An IT organization recently started an initiative to reduce the amount of code in the enterprise, but only a small group embraced the challenge to prune code while a larger group was skeptical about the efforts for a variety of reasons.

So they formed a team of “code-killers,” made up of those who were enthusiastic about the project and the reasons for it. As the team went to work to eliminate code, starting with some easy projects that produced early wins, they freed up resources to spend on more innovative and exciting application development projects.

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