I recently attended an event — the topic of which I will share in a minute. After more than an hour of panel discussion among the three panelists and the moderator, I was able to digest their keys to success as:

  • Communication
  • Incentives
  • Training
  • Focus
  • Prioritization
  • Managing Expectations
  • Empathy for customers and coworkers

The presentation in and of itself was fairly dry and not quite within the mainstream of my interests. But I marveled at the clarity of this message. What could we NOT accomplish if we were to use these as guiding principles? Of course, we require technical and business competencies. But as I think about it, this is a great recipe to implement change. What could we possibly add?

The specific topic was: DevOps — The People Driving Cultural Change. I won’t for one minute begin to try to explain DevOps other than to share the Wikipedia definition: “A set of practices that emphasize the collaboration and communication of both software developers and information technology (IT) professionals while automating the process of software delivery and infrastructure changes. It aims at establishing a culture and environment where building, testing, and releasing software can happen rapidly, frequently, and more reliably.”

Toward the end of the presentation, I suddenly realized that several times the presenters positioned “Tech” versus”Business” — and I realized that in their minds a chasm exists within organizations between these two areas. Much of my coaching work involves getting tech people to think in a business manner and vice-versa, so I understand. But I would think that those aiming to be “the people driving cultural change” would realize that perpetuating this divide is a losing proposition.

More than 15 years ago, I had the opportunity to be reorganized into a powerful group within an insurance and financial services organization. In a stroke of genius that I don’t think any of us appreciated at the time, the company aligned the sales, marketing and IT functions into one group. At the time, there was a debate over who “owned” the Internet for the organization. Our executive vice president brought all of us together and said, “I own the Internet, and all of you now work for me.” Talk about immediate culture change!

So if I could add anything to the great list above I would add:

“There is no chasm. We’re all in this together, so make it happen.”


Chuck Hall Change Management