CIO Leadership: Successfully Driving Cultural and Process Change in the Digital Era

Join Us Now

As companies press forward with their digital strategies, one of the things that’s evident to CIOs and technology executives from a change management perspective is the degree to which cultural and process change factor into the success of these initiatives.

They’re not alone in this assessment. In a study of more than 16,000 executives from 157 countries and 28 industries conducted by Deloitte Consulting LLP and MIT Sloan Management Review, nearly 60 percent of respondents from `digitally maturing companies’ noted that their companies drive digital adoption and engagement by cultivating such values as risk-taking, collaboration, agility and continuous learning.

At Loyola University Chicago, one of the first steps that the IT organization has taken with its digital strategy is to create a vision for where it wants to go. “Then we identify effective ways to create awareness and communicate effectively our current state and vision for the desired future state – this is intrinsically tied to organizational strategic priorities, market trends, and competitive advantage,” said Susan Malisch, VP & CIO at the University. “This is a process – it requires repetition, transparency and continuous improvement.”

Malisch is an Advisory Board member and a speaker for the 2020 Chicago CIO Executive Leadership Summit, produced by HMG Strategy, which will take place on March 5th at the Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park.

Once the desired future state has been established, the University’s internal technology teams can actively participate in the design and direction for how it gets there, said Malisch. “Stakeholders will engage because of the shared goals tied to strategic priorities and continuous improvement,” she adds.

Because culture is led from the top of the organization, “there is a need for leaders to take into account the new context in which business goals need to be achieved – this requires new leadership competencies like leading through change, embracing ambiguity and uncertainty, and understanding what’s meant by `digital’ (data, AI etc.),” said Quintin McGrath, Senior Managing Director, Technology Management & Enablement (TME) group, Global Technology Services at Deloitte Global who is a chairperson for the Chicago summit.

The cultural shifts engendered by digital strategies are driven, in part, by using data and digital technologies, notes McGrath. “Digital strategies often center on using data, technology, and AI/analytics as the foundation for the change,” said McGrath. “One of the core cultural changes is moving from an intuition-led/gut feel decision-making to leveraging data-based insights adding to intuition.”

Succeeding with Process Change

Organizational culture also plays a critical role in the process changes that are needed to lead and execute on new digital strategies. For starters, garner commitment and support from executive leadership on the vision and direction of process change, said Malisch.

In addition, build a coalition of support from within the IT organization and with executive sponsors, said Malisch. Also, define clear steps and milestones for the process changes being addressed. “Communication should be transparent, consistent, regular, and use multiple channels and mediums,” said Malisch.

“Be sensitive to the fears of the staff,” added McGrath. “Be clear and transparent – focus on purpose and meaning.”

As with cultural changes, find ways to leverage data to augment decision-making before executing on process change, said McGrath.

“Storytelling and visual representations of concepts and future state are often very powerful to demonstrate value. It personalizes the change and more effectively communicates ‘Why should I care?’  Offer training and support in timely and effective ways to address new or revised processes – a bumpy transition often influences adoption, and the perception of success or failure,” said Malisch.

To learn more about the 2020 Chicago CIO Executive Leadership Summit and to register for the event,

Join Us
Register to join our Executive Leadership Network & Newsletter.

Powered by