The saying goes that the only thing constant in business is change. As soon as we get used to working with someone, they quit; If we get comfortable in our seats, they move us; and for IT this means that the solutions we deploy are frequently replaced with the next big thing. And while change is key in business to evolve and stay relevant, there is bound to be push back from employees.
With the shift to cloud computing solutions a hot topic in the IT world, enterprises are on the brink of major change; and it's up to CIOs to navigate this change. But making this transition to cloud computing is often pointless if a CIO does not first get the proper "buy-in" from his team.
Be a Cloud Leader
True leadership means getting a buy-in from those you lead. Once more, doing so will make your job significantly easier. Implementing change is easier to manage when employees are on board and want to work hard. In order to facilitate the buy-in, you must lead by example. Here are five simple steps to use your leadership to get your cloud buy-in:
1. Share Your Vision
Given that cloud computing has its share of confusion associated with it, its important to clearly share your vision with your team. To do this, its helpful to start with the who, what, when, why and how. Make sure that everyone is on the same page with what is meant by the term "cloud" and what solutions you plan on implementing. Communicate why you are implementing a shift to the cloud, and how it will help you achieve strategic business goals. Identify the timeline of when you plan to begin and finish the implementation; and then lay out a concrete plan of how you intend to execute it. Then assign the who's of your team specific tasks.
2. Personalize Roles
To answer the "who" of your shift to the cloud, give your team personalized roles and responsibilities to handle. Play to your team's strengths and set them up for success. By making employees a part of the process, you are increasing their level of regard for the overall outcome and desire to do well. Thus, your implementation of the cloud will likely be more successful.
To ensure a smooth transition, it is important to conduct frequent check-ins with your team. Nothing hurts morale faster than frustration, and if your team is frustrated with the process, you will likely loose their buy-in. It is best for CIOs to keep an open door policy with their teams. Furthermore, when employees encounter a problem, they should be encouraged to bring a solution.
4. Nip Resistance in the Bud
Naturally, people have an aversion to change, and to secure their buy-in it is important to be firm with your stance on your cloud strategy. Thats not to say you do not leave room for suggestions, but be aggressive in instances where you see resistance. This is critical to your successful cloud implementation for two reasons:
1. Small issues tend to become bigger issues if not dealt with.
2. Unhappy employees can poison the well for their team members that have already bought it.
5. Be Prepared to Change Again
As a leader, it's the CIOs job to analyze whether or not the implemented solutions are achieving the goals you set out to achieve. If not, you must be prepared to reevaluate your cloud strategy, the solutions you implemented and your approach and solicit your team's feedback. If it's not working, don't be afraid to change. Remember, change is the only constant!