Gartner Suggests a Balanced Diversity Approach to Change

In July 2011 Gartner published an article called “How To Influence the Collective Mind to Adopt ITIL for IT Service Improvement”.

The article stated that many IT organisations often struggle to mature their processes beyond ad hoc, fire-fighting operations and the legacy cultural issues and entrenched mindsets prevent them from successfully leveraging ITIL to improve IT services. In order for ITIL adoption to be a success, Gartner suggests that it requires an initial focus on the cultural obstacles that go beyond the standard formal training and push-down mandated directives from senior management.

The Gartner recommendations included:

  • utilisation of informal interactions and social communications in the organisation to increasingly involve larger numbers of employees and improvement initiatives;
  • encouraging open communication and experience exchange among extended peer networks to build awareness and enthusiasm;
  • choosing IT supported business processes that have real problems or opportunities for improvement as transition pilots for improvement;
  • using competition to encourage ITIL adoption and service improvement ro encourage team working and participation; and
  • using RACI charts to monitor progress and to make people accountable and involved in service improvement initiatives.

These recommendations are a mixture of formal and informal practices that deliver on current change commitments and also move the organization further along the path to future change initiatives. This is exactly what the Balanced Diversity framework for organisational change facilitates.

The framework provides a total of 59 distinct practices (or interventions) that enable organisational change to be embedded into the fabric of the organisation. They are grouped into categories that make business sense and distributed across a framework that consists of four quadrants. These quadrants represent the informal and formal practices that build on current commitments and future initiatives.

By selecting practices from each of the four quadrants, leaders of change can build a balanced yet diverse portfolio that will ensure the change becomes part of the DNA of the organisation.

In many organisations the practices that are selected to effect organisational change are contained solely within the quadrant labelled ‘Clarifying Expectations’. These are the formal practices that build on current commitments and include practices such as training, developing metrics, monitoring and tracking and reporting.

As the Gartner article suggests and my experience confirms, these practices alone will not result in successful organisational change. Some movement towards the change may be made but the chances are that people will revert back to the old ways of working very quickly and find solace in their comfort zone.

It is only by creating a balanced portfolio of practices from each quadrant that the change will become entrenched and established as business as usual.

The white paper on ‘Balanced Diversity – A Portfolio Approach to Organisational Change’ can be read here.

Macanta also offer Balanced Diversity workshops to help organisations use the framework for their current and future change initiatives. More information is available here.




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