Retrofit ACM Part 2

IT Heroes in a Not So New World

Retrofit ACM, Part 2 – IT Heroes in a Not So New World

  • 26 November 2020

If you think about it, the work from home trend really started about 20 years ago. It lived, and lurked, in the shadows, reserved for IT departments. Remote work was a four-letter word, the words of heretics, an affront to the status quo, a taboo topic in the boardroom, and forbidden discussion around extended leadership. Most companies operated through command and control, military type models. ‘Do-as-I-say’ and ‘do-as-you're-told’ was the key to job longevity.

If workers weren’t visible, then they were invisible, not valued, and no longer needed. That type of leadership sowed fear among the civilian workforce. Workers never really knew where they stood except for the fact that if they performed well, they would keep their jobs. We now live in a world where doing a good job is not enough.

Information Technology – A History

From personal and professional experience, IT was a cost center, an expensive group of people (children) playing with very expensive toys, with leadership not really understanding their value. Did we mention, a cost center? Although IT leaders were part of management, many never really had a seat at the management/leadership table.

Actually, that's not completely true. Some did have a seat at the management table, but they were sitting in highchairs, not the big people’s chairs; playing with toys, dropping cereal on the floor while the rest of management looking down and admiring how “cute” they were.

Their voices were heard just as clearly as a family of 6 sitting at the dinner table with 4 children under the age of 9. The parents discussing what to do next through the noise and distraction from the young family members, doing what children do best, laugh, play, and use their imaginations to navigate early life. Parents get very good at tuning out those joyful sounds, only to find out much later, that they miss the chaos as time marches on (topic for a different blog). IT was that young voice, and leadership wasn’t listening.

And then it happened without warning, out of necessity - IT was launched out of the highchair directly to the boardroom due to 9/11. In an instant at 8:46 AM EST, the world changed. The thin veil of safety had been lifted, lives were lost, dreams were crushed, the life stories of so many could now no longer be written. Companies the world over felt the overwhelming pressure of their new found vulnerability, for some – it didn’t last.

There were many lessons to be learned on that day and the months following. Unfortunately, many of which were simply lost, forgotten in the dark moment in time. It was only seven short years later when the financial crisis and the Great Recession rocked the world.

So what does this have to do with Retrofit ACM? The answer is everything. A new innovative approach to Change Management.

Many companies didn’t pay attention, they simply relied on the command and control structure to survive. “We’ve always done it that way.” History tells us that many of those companies didn’t make it. The carnage was widespread and many big names fell.

Uncharted Waters – Yet Somehow Familiar

Now here we are, 2020. Another tectonic shift – Work From Home (WFH). Many companies are moving to permanent WFH and selling office buildings. This is comforting to some and a nightmare for others. Did we learn from the mistakes of our recent past? Only time will tell.

Over and over again we read about companies all over the world suddenly, without much planning, moving to a work from home model in just one short weekend! Perhaps you were one of them.

Take a moment to think about the magnitude of that statement. Companies moved to a work from home model over a weekend. Their entire operating model flipped on its head. Businesses are celebrating, leadership is celebrating, virtual high 5’s, IT departments are now the technical first responders and heroes - well, sort of.

IT Heroes Get the Job Done - But They Still Need Help!

Here's a newsflash - IT crews have always been technical first responders and heroes! They are always the first ones to jump in and always the last to leave.

The triumphant success and the ‘coming of age’ of technology departments is incredible, perhaps too incredible. IT departments are quick to be celebrated and quicker to blame when things don't go exactly as planned.

If it blinks, has a plug, has a battery, a piece of software, anything that the world deems ‘technology’ is, by default, the domain of IT departments. Even if they don't know how it works exactly, they are simply expected to know. That begs the question, whose responsibility is it to make sure that people actually use technology properly?

Lest we repeat – many companies moved to a work from home model over a single weekend! Technology departments did their job and people are celebrating. But are the people really celebrating or are companies celebrating to look good? What about the employees? What would they say? What do you say to that?

Think about that for a moment, on a personal level, what do you think about this sudden shift to working from home? Were you given all the tools necessary to thrive? I didn't say survive, I said to thrive. Did you receive training? Was an email announcing the change the only information you received? Did you improve your workflow? Or learn new ways and better ways of adapting to the new reality? Do you feel supported with having alone time and time to focus?

A Forward Look into History

Back to the question at hand - who exactly was responsible for making sure that you had what you needed to thrive in WFH? Was it the company as a whole, or was it your IT department?

The fact that you’ve read this post indicates that your part of this ongoing technology change process. Looking forward 20 years into the future, what stories will you tell about how you influenced the success of WFH during this historic shift? Was your involvement routine and expected or did you forge a new innovative path with Retrofit ACM?

Ready to Develop Your Own Change Management Plan for Microsoft Teams?

The rush to adopt remote working solutions caused many organizations to move their plans into the express lane and launch Microsoft Teams without a full transition and adoption plan for their end-users. Join our upcoming webinar to learn how you can retroactively develop a change management designed for success.

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  • Unified Communications

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