What’s In It For Me?

There is one question folks are probably wondering but won’t explicitly say when changes are introduced that may impact them. That question is “what’s in it for me?” As an organizational change leader, this is a question that you need to be ready to answer and to spend some time explaining to those impacted by the change. This is to create buy-in so as to make the change and transition process smoother. It’s also the right thing to do.

I’ve worked on and have led several campus information systems projects at UCSB since 1996 including an electronic medical records system, a system for managing international students and scholars (SEVIS), and an advising system used across the campus. One lesson I’ve learned in implementing these systems is that change can be emotional and psychological. When a new system or process is introduced, it can pose a threat to the people impacted. The threat can be to their livelihood and even worse, a threat to their identities. Some folks are attached to certain processes and certain systems. These systems and processes can represent their reputation as experts, they are part of their daily routines, and they also represent areas of ownership. When those systems and processes are changed,their identities are challenged.

So the next time you have the opportunity to introduce changes to your workplace, think about this question of “what’s in it for me?” from those impacted by the change. Take time to understand them. Get them involved in the process. Don’t make the mistake as a project manager of neglecting the human aspects of change. It’s not all about tasks, budgets, and deadlines.

 

2 thoughts on “What’s In It For Me?

  1. Bryan Fendley

    Good observations Joe. There is a lot of this going on in higher ed right now. Even though we are non profits, we are adopting for profit business models. The cultural shift taking place around technology on college campuses is significant. We should be mindful of the full impact. This includes the investment we have in people. It’s sad when we lose talent due to miscommunications related to new responsibilities.

    Reply

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