As a part of an initiative called ‘Let’s manage IT’ (an initiative to help knowledge exchange between IT Managers) founded by Polish training company Conlea, there was an event organized on August, 17th in Krakow.
I appreciate the participation in the Let’s Manage IT meetings (especially since it takes place in a very cool beer atmosphere in Lubicz brewery in Krakow. I do not know what it looks as in other cities however, in Krakow place is great), because usually you can listen to practitioners (and not, as is often the case with the similar initiatives where you can listen to consultants), here the speakers usually bluntly say what works, what does not, what is only a ‘marketing bullshit’ or what looks nice and easy in theory, and is totally different in practice.
This time, the meeting was centered on the ‘soft’ aspects of IT management. You could listen to two speakers:
The first speech was about Employer Branding, that is, how to make people want to work with us (you), presented by Anna Arak.
The speech sparked a debate on the role of employer branding and to whom such activities are directed.
In times when one of the important limitations in the development of the IT organization are: the lack of access to the right people, and the commitment of employees, which we already have, employer branding is one of the interesting tools that can help us with that limitation.
Participants of the meeting concluded that the primary recipients of employer branding’s actions are people who are just starting their career in IT (besides to your own employees). It was also stressed, it is necessary to build a coherent image of the organization inside and out. EB could not be only ‘done only for show’, to build an image that is not close to reality; eventually, such actions will harm the employer rather than brings true benefits.
The second speech was titled ‘How to change Behaviors’ and presented by Jan Schilt.
When I saw the name of the speaker, it reminded me a book I once bought and It was just shelved, and forgotten ABC of ICT: An Introduction to the Attitude, Behavior & Culture of ICT. Meeting with Jan Schilt brought the book back from the shelf and clearly, I can say that this is the recommended position for every IT manager, who must deal with organizational changes.
But back to the Jan’s presentation (about the book I’ll try to write another time), I do not want here to describe everything, what Jan said; But for me the most important was a few points:
- People do not change their behavior because of posters/banners/stickers hanging on the wall/doors.
- Daily , we do not see the culture of our own organization, but it requires simply to go to another organization and we are immediately able to sense their culture.
- To change the organizational culture takes years, it is not worth to focus on this in the short term.
- It makes no sense to focus on change behaviors alone. The change will not be permanent, it is better to focus on changing attitudes.
- introducing various programs changing (transforming) organizations usually have to deal with many high-level slogans such: ‘Customer first’, in fact, they are empty and meaningless. Each employee or even a board member understands they differently. Behaviors should be defined (SMART), and described how the desired behavior of people should look like, and only after specific descriptions of behavior, management should start to work with the change, as they are sure of the desired state of their organization.
- Organizational change should be carried out by the management of the organization, and not by the consulting firm. Consulting firms can advise, but the change introduced by the will not last long.
The presentation was supported by interesting projects in organizations with which Jan cooperates. In conclusion, the meetings within the initiative “Let’s manage IT are worth of participating in. There is very relaxed atmosphere, despite the difficultness and weight of topics discussed. The most valuable are that the speakers are not afraid to talk about their failures, and about reality, so you see the advice given by them is of great value.