When we began this journey, one of the first vehicles that we put into place was a tool called Memo List. We realized that if we wanted to create a meritocracy, we needed to create vehicles that enabled associates to speak freely about what was on their minds, as well as to build a community of supporters around them. In addition, we also felt that discussing the IT organization and operations were topics that would generate traction and traffic. (By the way, if you want more information about Memo List, you can read about it in “The Open Organization“).
With the exception of one participant who contributed real insights and thoughts, participation was limited, so we were eager to get feedback and to break the blockade that was preventing group members from participating. Therefore we began looking for other solutions and ultimately landing on anonymous platforms. The logic being that once associates see that we are taking every comment seriously and addressing those comments that are shared anonymously with us, they will begin to feel comfortable sharing their thoughts publicly as well. We decided to use Waggl and Quibble. Thus far, having used these platforms for a little while now, we have managed to get a lot of valuable feedback from our associates. One of the more common being that people still don’t understand why we need to go through another step of evolving our IT when we have managed to successfully change IT’s perception up to now.
Although we spent time more than once (including the IT Town Hall) on the “why,” it was clear that the message didn’t get through to everyone. The main reason for evolving IT is the changing business environment and the role IT will need to play in order to keep the business running successfully in the future (or ideally, running in an exponential way). We looked for different and creative ways how to get the message into everyone’s mind, and the solution we came up with was a board game that required our associates to operate our business while competing against a new exponential company. While playing the game our team members changed very fast their strategy and adopted most of the exponential company’s tactics to compete with them. After we finished the game and announced a winner we asked the team how many years it will take in reality for us, as an IT organization, to make those changes. The consensus was five years. Epiphany came when we explained that if we will start now we might have five years, but if we wait to start working on the change once we have been challenged by a competitor we won’t even have two years.
While working on explaining the motivation, we also started to find different ways as to how to engage the team on how IT should evolve. We understood that there is a gap between the new result that we had in mind and the tactical solution that all our attempts so far have managed to yield.
This time (fourth attempt) we are trying to find a way how to expose what I had in mind in a way that will help the group better focus and define how IT should be organized and how it should operate. This is our fourth and current attempt and what I will explore in detail in my next post