As an IT leader, you are responsible for pivoting facets of your business to better align with operational and revenue goals each year. You’ve probably seen that structural or procedural changes are often met with some degree of uncertainty from employees. To overcome this and allow yourself the ability to make the hard calls, it’s important to let a few key principles guide your actions.
Operate with transparency
Some of the toughest decisions you will make come within the first 90 days at a company. I experienced this first-hand as a new CIO at an insurance company when I was tasked with reorganizing the IT department to meet business needs. The leader I was replacing had initially helped develop the entire department and would become my direct report. I worried about their reaction to this evolution. In restructuring the team, it was vital that the employees accepted these changes, along with our realigned focus.
Focus on transparency as a key principle to guide your actions.
If you’ve been through a similar experience, you know that you will need to adjust to a new company culture. As a general rule, focus on transparency as a key principle to guide your actions. When you do inevitably encounter pushback, address it quickly and fairly.
[ Read also How emotionally intelligent leaders handle 6 difficult situations during the pandemic. ]
With candid and transparent conversation, leaders can better position their employees to be continually successful – even with structural changes. In this instance, how I treated this specific individual helped me eventually connect and gain not only his trust but also the entire team’s.
Invite participation in the process
Another large decision I navigated was shifting our information from data centers to the cloud at Servpro. For many IT organizations, this is a common practice that often causes stress for internal teams. They worry about how their careers will be impacted and if they have a place in the new process.
For us, it was important to share our decision and allow infrastructure management and the team to participate in the evaluation of the cloud provider. They assisted in developing the ROI analysis of moving to the cloud and mapping an adoption plan. To address employees’ fear of losing their job, we began to discuss new opportunities for growth and development with those impacted. We outlined the new skill sets and expertise they would gain through the process and its immeasurable value to their individual careers and our company.
[ Learn the do's and don'ts of hybrid cloud: Get the free eBook, Hybrid Cloud Strategy for Dummies. ]
As we moved through this experience, we saw many individuals take on more responsibility and evolve their roles. While some team members did decide to leave, the overall participation in the process helped many employees recognize the value they added to the company by expanding their skills. It also resulted in both personal and professional growth for all involved.
If you have the infrastructure in place to collect relevant data, build a culture that is comfortable with operating from the numbers.
Make data-based decisions
Many of your day-to-day decisions as an IT leader are based on numbers. When it comes to making tough decisions for your team or company, lean into this same practice. If you have the infrastructure in place to collect relevant data, it’s important to build a culture that is comfortable with operating from the numbers.
This is not to say that all decisions should have a hard value attached, but the process of proving out methodology will help others accept your ideas and strategies as sound.
When you need to inform others of difficult decisions, you can then lean on this information to build a stronger story. A combination of personal narrative and data analysis will validate your work to those on your team.
If you’re looking for ways to collect better information, consider leveraging a Business Intelligence platform to understand how processes, trends, and structures are impacting your organization. Armed with this information, you’ll have the proper insight to make informed decisions – albeit sometimes difficult ones – and convey that to your team.
[ Are you leading through change? Get the free eBook, Organize for Innovation. ]
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IT leaders face many challenging situations that require a team's full support. Consider these tips on transparency, participation, and the importance of data when you have to make hard calls
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