Culture Change

Rory ONeil helps lead OIT's cultural change training.

Cultural Change: New Frontiers for IT

OIT staff discuss concepts during cultural change training.

On January 28 and 30th, the Office of Information Technology conducted a cultural change process training. The training was led by the OIT leadership team made up of the directors, managers and a few up-and-coming leads who had completed a train-the-trainer workshop in October.

A little more than a year ago, the concept of accountability and cultural change was introduced to the entirety of OIT. Based on the book "The Oz Principle," the first phase promoted the concepts of shedding the excuses, accepting personal accountability for one’s success and creating the right experiences for customers so that they develop the desired beliefs in us as an organization.

This next phase focuses on creating a culture of accountability. To do that, requires a change in the way we think and act as an organization.

The reality is, "Either you will manage your culture, or it will manage you."

Every company has a culture that is working full-time, sending cues to people on how to think and act in that organization. Culture never takes a holiday or vacation; never calls in sick. It's always working, whether you know it or not, whether you like it or not. The question isn't, do you have a culture? The questions are: does your current culture supercharge our efforts to achieve the results you are held accountable to get? Is your culture helping or hindering? Is your culture sending the right cues to people on what to pay attention to and how to get work done in a way that will yield the results you are looking for? Most importantly, is your culture a game changer?

In August, the OIT leadership team participated in cultural change training focusing on key results we wanted--no, needed--to achieve and the cultural shift we had to make in order to get there. For six months after the training, that team practiced using the tools it had learned before ever rolling this out organization-wide.

It was bit a bit nerve racking to know that any future training was going to be led by us. But the reality is that we own the culture and if we want it to change, we have to be the ones leading it, not some outside consultant. They got us going--now it is up to us.

“I was real proud of the team,” said Chief Information Technology Officer for the UA System Karl Kowalski. “They really came together. Among themselves, they created teams, they divided up the training, set practice schedules, prepared materials and delivered.

“The beauty of the whole thing was that it wasn’t the boss lecturing or some consultant talking. It was their co-workers, their own management team working side-by-side with them to help identify the cultural changes that need to take place and the tools and cultural beliefs that will help get us there.”

As an organization, the experience we create for people directly impact the beliefs they hold about us, good or bad, and those beliefs cause people to act in one way or another. Together, they lead to an outcome or result. For OIT, we realized we weren’t always providing the right experience, and that created beliefs we didn’t really want people to hold about us, and ultimately did not lead to the right results.

As part of change process, in the next 90 days, each member of the organization is expected to complete an online Culture Change Certification process that will help review and reinforce the skills he/she learned and that he/she will practice everyday as we strive to create the right experiences for our customers.

“OIT: We’re in IT for you!”

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