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Making the IS department more teamed and accountable to their internal customers, the business departments, would need to also be accomplished quickly for IS to deliver value to TMS.
The greatest challenge for the CIO to confront was to overcome the resistance to change and lack of accountability that had permeated the company's culture. Cultures are undergoing more transformation that ever before, creating exceptionally high levels of stress in many organizations (Mohan, Xu, Ramesh, 2008). Cultures are defined as a set of values, beliefs, assumptions, principles, myths, legends, and norms that define how people think, decide, perform, and achieve their goals inside companies. Schein (1996) defines culture as..."a basic set of assumptions that defines for us what we pay attention to, what things mean, and how to react emotionally to what is going on, and what actions to take in various kinds of situations."
Second, the challenge of infusing a higher level of accountability to specific projects and minimizing the resistance to change will take significant effort on the part of the CIO and her team of senior managers and vice presidents. Infusing ownership for specific projects is critical for any shared set of objectives to be accomplished (Aguirre, Calderone, Jones, 2004). Breaking down the barriers and resistance to change needs to begin with the CIO and her staff genuinely internalizing and becoming passionate about integrating their development efforts, timelines and responsibilities with the internal customers, the business units. The hardest side of change management is in getting others to internalize the need to change and change their perception of what the cultural expectations are in their organizations (Sirkin, Keenan, Jackson, 2005). Trust, transparency and complete candor including sharing with employees the precise reasons why the IS department needs to change are foundational to the communications strategies the CIO and her senior managers create to resolve these problems.
Third, there has been a gradual degradation of the project management processes in IS itself due to the high level of complacency that has set in. For any change management strategy to be complete there needs to be the introduction of lean, efficient processes to ensure that change is lasting (Stanev Krappe, Ola, Georgoulias, Papakostas, Chryss-olouris, Ovtcharova, 2008).
The CIO at the time, Barbara Cooper, realized that the continual lack of accountability and alignment of the IS Department she managed to the business departments and visions was hurting TMS' ability to be competitive in the U.S. market. She immediately needs to redefine the roles of each IS team members, placing the highest performers in parallel roles to the internal business units that needed the most assistance from IS. Starting with Parts and Service, she needs to place the most talented IS team members in these departments to thoroughly understand the unmet process and system needs the business unit had.
Next, she needs to work to create more efficient development processes within IS, so that business units' projects could be managed to a higher degree of accountability and performance. Thirdly, IS was to be managed on an entirely new set of metrics of performance including the use of dashboards (Wailgum, 2005) where accountability is measured and performance and results are rewarded. Fourth, projects that are aligned to business needs are to be reviewed every ninety days in a formal auditing process to make sure they stayed consistent with the original business requirements. Finally, Executive Committees need to be created and assist in prioritizing the need for each project, paring down what was needed and deleting what wasn't. The Executive Committee then became the arbiter of projects, which greatly will simplify how priorities are set within the IS Department. Once all these strategies have been undertaken, the new CIO will be able to begin to do what is the most difficult task, and that is changing the culture of IS at TMS. This is going to require a continual use of dashboards to infuse a high degree of accountability for performance, to the process and system level. Only by integrating the top IS performers throughout business units, infusing them projects with a high level of accountability, and creating a culture that centered on serving business units, can the IS department transform themselves into a productive contributor of the TMS organization.
Confronting a culture that has lapsed into complacency and lack of accountability directly only increases the resistance to change. Becoming confrontational only creates more resistance to change. Instead of aggressively attacking the lack of accountability, the CIO responsible for running the IS department concentrated first on gaining a higher level of task and process ownership by first illustrating genuine commitment to change by re-aligning the highest performers in her department to the critical relationships with business unit counterparts. Second, she fully explained that change was critical from a project basis in terms of measuring performance to a set of shared and common metrics, which would be captured on dashboards where both business units and IS teams could track progress. Third, the creation of the Executive Committee to arbitrate priorities is critical for ensuring a high degree of clarity on the projects. The combined effects of all these factors together eventually will begin to change the culture and insure a higher level of accountability and performance.
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