The Value of Values in IT Transformation, Part 2

Knowing your core values are critical to IT Transformation.

I was faced with a hard question – why, exactly do I believe in implementing Service Management?

Why change what’s working? Why do “this ITIL thing”? Why should staff give up something they’re good at in pursuit of something where they’re not sure they have a place?

I started soul searching, and wound up at the core values for the Service Management Office I lead: – Excellence.

As I mentioned in my last article (The Value of Values in IT Transformation, Part 1): Excellence is my Why, and Service Management is What I do to pursue it.

The Value of Values

I went through one of those ‘know your values’ exercises, and, for me, it came down to three. The exercise called for leaders to be vulnerable and share their values with their staff .  I started with: Integrity, Excellence, and Achievement. My team responded positively, and encouraged me to further describe what these mean to me, and to establish them as our SMO values.

Here’s my team’s values:

Integrity:  Being upfront and honest. Consistency between what we believe, what we say, and what we do.

Excellence:  Expect excellence from yourself and others. Excellence is relative to one’s current ability; always striving for continual  improvement. Excellence is pushing the limit of your current ability, the undying belief that you can do great things, and unrelenting commitment to achieve it.

Achievement:  Focus on results over effort. When faced with obstacles; Adapt, Improvise, Overcome.  A profound aversion to excuses

I don’t suggest for a moment that these are the right or the best values. What is important is that you dig deep enough to understand what really drives you – what’s real for you. Real enough to guide you when the going gets tough and all else fails. Adversity has a way of revealing the real you, and those around you recognize the difference between put-on values, and true core values. Your success as a Change Leader depends on your integrity with your real values.

Little did we know at the outset how critical these would become as we headed into a very bumpy ride! There’s a lot of uncertainty in transformations. Change pushes people past their outer ‘presentation layers’ and exposes guttural, instinctive, often self-preservation behaviours. Knowing your values, your “true north” if you will, helps guide us when all else is in flux.

These values became very real to us, and when I fell short of meeting them I came to the team, owned up, and reaffirmed my commitment to our values. All of these have guided us at various times, but one has risen up and done more to guide our efforts – Excellence.

I believe that all people are universally attracted to excellence – from art, to music, sports, you name it – the focus is on  those who really stand out as excellent –  these are the ones we admire. In my career, success means being part of something truly excellent. Something bigger than me that I can believe in.

Excellence is my Why, and Service Management is What I do to pursue it. Simply put, my goal is to inspire people to excellence.

I’ve had the privilege of working with some of the industry’s truly inspiring  IT professionals who live Excellence because it’s who they are.