5 Things ITSM Can Learn from the Royal Wedding

Just incase you haven’t already had enough of the Royal Wedding, here is some more!

With what seems to be the biggest event of 2011 so far, I thought that there must be something we in Service Management can take away from the occasion. Here are five suggestions.

1. At Times of Hardship Find Reason to Celebrate

British heirs to the throne have a habit of marrying during periods of economic hardship.

In 1947, the Queen married Phillip against a backdrop of post-war austerity, rationing and devaluation.

When Charles married Diana in 1981, unemployment stood at 2.5 million and the inner cities were erupting in violence.

Yet both occasions proved hugely popular with the beleaguered British public – the glitz, romance and opulence of the ceremonies offering respite from eras of hardship and uncertainty.

William and Kate are marrying at in the post-credit crunch UK of mid-2011 when the government spending cuts are beginning to bite.

From all accounts, this royal wedding will be no different with the British public taking similar refuge from reality in Prince William and Kate Middleton’s nuptials?

So what does this mean for us in Service Management? When things aren’t going too well, find a reason to celebrate. If something has not gone as planned, celebrate that failure and learn from the experience. Bring everyone together and develop a sense of camaraderie. Run a workshop to brainstorm what went wrong, why it went wrong and how you can avoid it happening again. With that done, follow it up with a social event for all those involved. It doesn’t have to be a street party! A free-lunch, morning tea or drinks after work will do the job. Celebrate the fact that you have all learnt from a bad experience and can move forward with renewed vigour.

2. Win The Hearts and Minds of the Cynics

Even the most anti-Royalist will have been happy when it was announced that April 29, 2011 was going to be a public holiday in UK. I will put money on it that most will also settle down and watch the wedding on TV, join a local street party and have a few beers or take some level of interest even if they wont admit to it.

So when you get resistance to new or improved processes in Service Management what are you going to do? You have to win the hearts and minds of everyone so work out your answer to the question everyone will ask – “What’s In It For Me?”

Find some reason why everyone will want to take an interest in what is happening. Will it make their job easier? Will it give them more time to work on projects rather than fire fighting? Will it enable them to go home earlier than usual? Will it enable them to achieve their performance bonus?

Once you have captured their interest you now have the opportunity to win their hearts and minds too.

3. Reuse not Reinvent

The 1902 State Landau – which will carry Prince William and his new bride from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace  (weather permitting) – was specifically built for King Edward VII in 1902.

The Glass Coach – which will be used to carry the Royal Couple in the case of wet weather – was built in 1881 and was purchased for use at King George V’s Coronation in 1911.

If your vehicles for process improvement worked well previously, make sure you capture the learnings so that you can use them again. Don’t reinvent the wheel each time.

Of course some vehicles for process improvement are a no-brainer such as cross-team collaboration and communication etc. But there are other things that may work more effectively in your organisation than others. If you found that getting a subject matter expert in to the organisation to speak to staff was a really good way to generate interest, then do that again. If you found that sending key people to special interest groups and user forums was a success, then do that again. If you found that establishing internal online collaboration tools for questions in regard to the change Initiative(s) worked well, then do that again.

But like the royals keep a contingency plan up your sleeve just in case it rains on your first attempt!

4. Provide Ways For Everyone To Get Involved

Over 2 billion people are expected to tune in to the Royal Wedding in 3 weeks time. An amazing 450,000 people expected to line the streets of London and outside Buckingham Palace. More than 5500 royal wedding street parties are expected to be held across Britain.

Everyone will want different ways to be involved. Some will want to passively watch on TV whilst some will actively participate by throwing a street party or making the trip to London and lining the street to get as close to the action as possible,

It’s different strokes for different folks. In Service Management the key is to provide ways for everyone to be involved remembering that they will not all want to be involved in the same way or to the same level. Some may want to keep abreast of process improvement initiatives via online forums and provide their feedback through that medium. Others may want to be more actively involved in workshops and process improvement committees etc. Make sure to cater for the different needs across the organisation.

5. Don’t Bombard!

I for one will be tuning in on 29th April to watch the wedding. Being in Australia, it is actually a civilised time to watch the event around 7pm in the evening.

If it were 2am in the morning, would I still be watching? Probably not – I would wait for the highlights during my normal viewing hours.

So I have a certain level of interest in the wedding. I certainly do not have the level of interest to put up with the bombardment of wedding trivia and nonsense being pushed out by the media.

I don’t really care how much weight Kate has lost leading up to the wedding or “how to catch a prince”. I am really not interested in the fact that the odds of Kate and William appearing on Buckingham Palace balcony under an umbrella have dropped from 6-1 to 7-2.

Without the ability to avoid the hype, one can soon get so fed up of it all that you switch off altogether. There are plenty of people already saying via social media channels that they will not be watching the wedding because they are already fed up to the back teeth of the hype. Whether this be true or not, their sentiment is clear.

In Service Management you have to make sure that when you are communicating information about process improvement and project progress etc. that you know your audience. What is they want to know, how often do they want to know about it, and in what format? The information you provide for the CIO will be very different to that you provide for support staff.

You want to maintain everyone’s interest and keep them onboard. Once they switch off, it will be harder to gain their interest again.

So, that is my take on the event from a Service Management perspective. Here’s to April 30th 2011 when it’s all over…..or will it be?

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