Managing change: What to adopt and when to adapt

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Posted on Friday, 24th April, 2020 - 10:58

Change in business is inevitable yet can be unexpected. The current COVID-19 situation is a prime example of this. Unexpected changes require you to respond rapidly yet with consideration. Less dramatically, but just as importantly for business are changes in response to business or customer demands, or times when you must adapt quickly in order to keep up with competitors.

What is arguably more important than the adjustments you make is how you control the changes. ITIL change management training can ensure that as a company, you are prepared to do exactly that – take control and manage change.

Here we take a look at when you as a company may need to adapt, and what practices can be adopted, with some real life examples from our Disney’s ITIL journey case study, which although is an older study, still rings true today.

Recognise when to adapt

Knowing when change is needed is the first step on your path to change management success. Continually reviewing and evolving will mean that businesses must constantly adapt. When change is a constant in your workplace, employees become well practiced and versed in reacting to change and better equipped to smoothly transition, and make smart changes.

In our Disney’s Theme Parks & Resorts case study Vice President of Technology, Glen Taylor talks of the significant demand on systems – “Behind the scenes we are looking for increased efficiencies and cost reductions while all the time improving creatively and technically.”

Like many customer-focus businesses they rely on technology to enhance their service delivery; “Guests have high expectations of what a Disney Parks experience should be and we are a guest-centric business.” Glen continues, “Technology is used to advance that story.”

Being tuned into your customer’s expectations is a key way to recognise areas where you need to adapt. The strive for continual improvement in service delivery can be instrumental in business success.

Practices to adopt

When looking to manage constant change, ITIL training is invaluable. ITIL is a collection of best practices in IT service management. It can align teams and ensure you are cohesively working towards a shared ambition. ITIL 4 has a much greater focus on holistic working, the training has been updated with the fourth industrial revolution in mind and is now adopted by a far wider range of professionals. It encompasses collaborative thinking and working, optimising practices, and defining value – continual improvement and change control are key elements.

At Disney, Glen Taylor was already an experienced ITIL adopter and he was keen to move towards an integrated service management approach, backed up by ITIL best practice.

“ITIL aligns IT with the business and our goal was to grow into a more proactive IT organization. We were looking for an improved level of service. ITIL helped provide the tools and metrics to define the value of IT services.” Glen says.

He continues, “We have to ensure that widespread change does not result in incidents; that we are sure-footed and confident with our release management and new capabilities.”

Here are some of ours and Glen’s top tips for adopting ITIL best practices and managing change at your organisation:

Wide spread buy-in

Overcome issues caused by ineffective communication by selecting ITIL champions.

“Adoption of ITIL doesn’t end with education,” Glen says. “After education we need to get buy-in and organizational commitment. To do this we selected 20 champions from across the company. We have put them on the path to Expert level, working through online training from itSM Solutions. It’s vital that we have a mix of people on the programme, so there are people with differing levels of responsibility.”

Champions can be invaluable for buy-in and effective change communication. Positive behaviours around change have a vast impact on others. Read the case study to discover the criteria Disney used for selecting their experts.

Leveraging existing assets

Just as it is important to leverage the right people to champion ITIL, it is fundamental that you leverage existing assets. Whilst there will be occasions where an overhaul is needed, more often than not resources can be better utilised, improved or built upon. Change tends to be better handled and received when it is evolutionary rather than revolutionary!

Disney’s adoption of ITIL mirrored this approach. Glen recommends that businesses look to “leverage the tools and documents that already exist and don’t reinvent wheels.”

Continual review of assets, software, and processes will allow you to re-prioritise and re-purpose successfully.

Real talk

Change is essential for development and progression, but even with widespread buy-in it can be unsettling for employees. Be sure not to overcomplicate changing practices. Keeping it simple and practical is one of the 7 guiding principles of ITIL 4 and is echoed by Disney’s Glen Taylor, who advises to; “Stay as practical as possible, and don’t overcomplicate what is really common sense.”

When it comes to managing change a great deal of communication is necessary to ensure clarity throughout the company. ITIL enables you to speak a common language, leading to more effective communication across the business.

Rounding up

With ITIL best practices for change management you can ensure you have the processes in place to best cope with change. From continual business shake-ups for improvement, right through to unprecedented business disruption like a global pandemic. You will be equipped to take control and manage change.

If you’ve been inspired by Disney’s widespread adoption of ITIL and think it could benefit your company too (82% of IT professionals agreed that ITIL brings value to their organisation), then get in touch with our team.