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Managing Service Desk Changes: 3 Questions that Reduce Anxiety

Managing Service Desk ChangesBy Matt Neigh
I just hung up with the manager at one of the hotels I recently stayed at. They had double-charged me for my room after I had checked out. Okay, those things happen when you are on the road as much as I am. However, I wasn't okay with the manager trying to convince me that the bill I had received when I checked out and the one that she was looking at were not the same. "How can it be that I am looking at a bill that's different than yours?" I inquired. Then it came—the dreadful word so many of us hate. "We CHANGED the way we bill rooms after you left" was her response.

No...not that word. Not...CHANGE.

CHANGE...not a word many hear...much less actually do. Why do we resist it so much? Think about it for a minute. What goes through your mind when you hear "change"? If you are like many people on the planet, you wonder, "How is this going to affect me?"

The people that you work so hard to serve in IT are fearful of any change in your organization because they do not know how it is going to affect them. And, sometimes they are justified in their concern. Consider:

  • Have any changes gone awry in your organization in the last 30 days that have adversely affected your constituents?
  • How much of your work is unplanned vs. planned, increasing the potential for adverse outcomes?
  • How much communication is there between IT and your constituents so they can plan accordingly and have realistic expectations?

The last one is one can be easily remedied if IT would take the time to communicate to their constituents. Here are three questions your constituents are asking themselves when it comes to change. If you can answer them, in the order listed below, it will greatly reduce the anxiety people in your organization feel when it comes to CHANGE.

  1. How will it affect me?
    The first thing I want to know is, "Is this affecting me and how?" If doesn't affect me, I move on. If it does affect me, I want to know how it is affecting me. Once I understand that, I can either ignore it (because it's not as big a deal as I thought) or I can explore in greater depth.
  2. What can I expect?
    Now that I know it does affect me, I want to know what to expect. Will it require work on my part? Will it take a long time? Who will notify me that the change is done? Will there be some challenges when it is completed?
  3. How can I stay updated?
    While I appreciate all the info and transparency, which puts me much more at ease, I am not sure how I can find out about updates. Do I call the Service Desk? Are there updates posted on the self-service portal? Will IT automatically send me updates?

Imagine if the manager had given me a contact name and number when I was leaving the hotel and warned me that CHANGES were coming to billing. What if she told me there shouldn't be any issues, but I might want to double-check my bill later? Our conversation would have turned out differently. Your constituents may not like changes in IT, but they will feel better and have a better perception of IT if IT can be transparent and set healthy expectations.

By the way, I will be doing a webinar on Change Management later this month, if you would like to join in.

Mar 05, 2013

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