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Build an Environment for Transformation

When planning for transformation, we often focus on the technology and expect the workplace culture to follow. But real change requires an engaged workforce. An environment for transformation is one in which people shape the purpose, path and outcome of each project and can acquire the skills they’ll need for the mission.

Michael Gregg, Cybersecurity Chief for North Dakota, and Tony Holmes, Practice Lead for Solutions Architects Public Sector at Pluralsight, outlined how to build a culture that addresses the right issues from the outset and fosters continuous learning. These are the steps they recommend.

Ask the Right Questions

The right questions not only start a project off on the correct foot, but they keep it on track, Gregg said.

Can we do this? “There’s limited bandwidth for things you can accomplish and accomplish well,” Gregg said. “We may come in with a list of 20 or 25 items, and we have to pare it down to the three to five we’re going to do this quarter. It’s not about the ideas you have, it’s about the execution of those ideas.”

Is it worth the effort? Ask if the result will justify the time and budget required. “Will we have an adequate return on investment to make this something we should consider a key project going forward?” Gregg said. Establish metrics up front so you can compare the “before and after” as each step is implemented.

What’s going on? Ask open-ended questions to elicit honest responses on how the project is going. Performance indicators can track progress and find the areas that don’t measure up, but it takes questions to find out why. Walk through processes to see where they can be improved. “Are there barriers?” Gregg asked. “Is this the right path we’ve gone down?”

Did it work? “When we made changes, we asked our customers, our users, developers, ‘How has this changed the process for you?’ The comments we got back were things like, ‘This makes it easier for me to do.’ That kind of question tells me what result I’m really getting, what’s really working and what needs improvement,” Gregg said. He added, “It’s OK if things don’t always work, because you’ll
learn as much from your failures as you will from success.”

This post is excerpted from our e-book “4 Ways to Help Your Workforce Embrace New Tech.”

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