The 2 things that drive organizational change

I'm going to let you in on a secret.

In all my years of helping organizations implement significant change, there was always one of two factors present when the entire organization would rise to the challenge to bring about change.

I'm not talking about a minor change.

I'm talking about redirecting resources, changing project schedules, and adopting a new operational model. I'm talking permanent, lasting change.

As an IT leader who is expected to be an agent of change, wouldn't it be useful to know what these factors are?

The two factors that will ensure that organizations will support change are:

  1. Fortuitous disaster,
  2. Timely legislation

In the case of disasters, we may not have any warning but when they strike, it is important to restore services as quickly as possible.

In the case of legislation, there is usually warning, but the impetus to actually do anything is predicated on being caught not in compliance.  There's nothing like an audit to spur organizations into action.

I don't mean to wish bad destructive events or bureaucracy on anyone (but then I am repeating myself) but both things can happen at any time and are certainly not part of our project Gantt chart.

The wise IT leader has learned to leverage these events and use them to their organization's advantage.

This is not about taking advantage of insurance coverage.  Rather, it is about seizing the opportunity to get some key decisions made quickly while everyone's attention is focused on resolving the issue, whether it is a flood or an audit.

You will never have a better time to get key decisions made about such things as disaster recovery options, electronic record management, compliance, employee skill sets, documentation, and a whole host of other topics.

Have a bucket list ready.

Know what you would do if disaster hit.  How would you rebuild?  Would it be identical to what you have now?  What would be different?

Know the gaps in your compliance.  I know that most organizations would publicly state they are always in full compliance with ALL legislation, the people in the trenches know about the work-arounds and current practices that would likely be picked up in an audit.

If you are prepared, then you can call disasters 'fortuitous' and legislation 'timely'.... because you know that all the key decision makers are waiting for you to tell them what needs to be done from a technology perspective.

How about you?  Have you found disasters to be fortuitous?


  1. Wow. This is such an honest and true post I can hardly believe it.

  2. Thanks for your comment! Coming from you it means a lot.

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  4. This article is fantastic! Very concise and the idea of having a bucket list, and simply being prepared is genius in its simplicity. Thanks for the excellent, brief, yet inspiring read.

    1. Thanks for the comment and the kind words. Simple is always the most effective way to ensure things are actually accomplished.