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CIO Recap: Managing a Culture Change During a Transition

At last week’s CIO Meeting we learned about why you may need to change your culture and problems you may face trying to make it happen.  I would like to take this time to thank our members for their contribution to our round table discussion.  I would also like to thank Sphera for hosting our event.

Tom started the meeting by asking one simple question, “Why Culture Change?”.  To answer this simply, IT is ever changing as are the employees, different generations work differently and want and expect things that employees didn’t think of asking for, even 5 years ago.  Systems are becoming outdated and businesses are not staying innovative enough in their thinking to stay current with what the customers are asking for.  Sean Dillane stated, “Highest levels don’t see the need to change but customers want it, therefore the same mistakes continue to happen.  The culture shift doesn’t happen.”  Change takes time but it also takes a willingness to try something different and stick with it.  After all, it took Chick-fil-A 3 years for all employees to get on board with responding, “It’s my pleasure.”

The next issue the group discussed was how one starts a culture shift and what to expect.  We all agreed that a culture shift needs to start from the top down.  There needs to be clear communication, a willingness to change, execute and fail.  You have to depend on your organization to stay true to the change and give it the old wait and see method.  You can’t give up on the change as soon as there’s a bump in the road.  Mark Las stated, “You must continue to try and take things step by step, you can’t give up, and the CIO must follow through. It may take years, but you continue to try.”  Paul Cottey stated, “It will take 7 plus years if you don’t get rid of anybody and have no money, but if you take it a nibble at a time, have money and some new people you will start to see change.”

The last topic we discussed was how to attract and retain new talent.  The current research suggests that a company can experience roughly 50% turnover these days. Current research suggests you could experience roughly 50% turnover, so here’s a list of things to think about while hiring new talent:

  • Forecasting based on the current market
  • The current “talent bubble”
  • Identifying internal change agents who are on-board with the changes
  • Planning 6-12 months ahead of critical hires
  • Building a flexible hiring budget

Attracting new talent is not easy and the group attested to this.  You need to have a solid strategy, something to differentiate yourself from the hundreds of other companies looking for the exact same skill set. You need to know your competition if you can afford the people you need and your hiring managers need to know how to identify the new talent.  At the end of the day, why are you hiring?  Patrick Emmons stated, “Are you hiring for the last wars or for the next one.”

Please find the slide deck from the meeting, here. Thank you and we hope to see you at a future Think IT meeting!