Dealing with history

Published: September 13th, 2007

One of the biggest hurdles in accomplishing effective change management, it seems, is not what’s coming at you down the road but what’s sitting in your rear-view mirror.

Instituting the elements of change is a tall enough task, from arriving at a common set of goals across all departments, laying out a plan for improvements, and then choosing and using the right technology tools to turn theory into practice.

That’s the here and now. What’s in the past, however, is sometimes a bigger headache to deal with. Specifically, the legacies and traditions that a company carries with it from previous eras has a huge bearing on how fast change can take place — or even if it can at all.

Right from its inception, a company begins developing a culture and philosophy unique unto itself. As the years go by, these elements become further ingrained and harder to alter. In many cases, it will take either a highly compelling financial argument or a wholesale change in management before true change is affected. Such is the unfortunate reality that many CIOs and other executives must face when trying to steer their company ship in a different direction.

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