Influence attitudes and behaviors for ITSM success

The culture of an organization defines how it works. The team’s attitudes and behaviors are critical components of the culture, and they define how the work is completed. With any ITSM-related initiative, how work is completed will change. To be successful, there must be a focus on influencing the attitudes and behaviors of the IT team, as well as the customers and end users.

When influencing attitudes and behaviors, we must appeal to both emotion and logic. These two key areas are substantively driving the behaviors and attitudes that exist within the IT staff and the customer base. It is important to note that prior experiences, coworkers, and other social influences exist, so IT must not only focus on helping people with the changes – additional work may be needed to overcome history and to combat those that may not be supportive.

Value proposition

To ensure a strong start to an ITSM-related project, the project sponsor should work closely with key stakeholders to fully understand and define the value proposition of the initiative. Why is the organization adopting the ITIL® framework? What will be different once the initiative is complete? Remember: The value proposition may vary based on the department or position. It is important to address this value at the different levels within the organization if you are going to influence attitudes and behaviors. For example, a value proposition relating to cost reduction may appeal to senior leaders, but it will often have a negative impact on frontline teams as it may be associated with layoffs. A frontline team may find more value in the ITIL initiative if it is linked to minimizing silos or the ease of getting work done.

When communicating the value, include an example of the successful outcome that is expected. Communications should appeal to both emotion and logic. Metrics are key to success and they are usually a logical way of reflecting success. Consider communicating information about how your metrics will change and how the new metrics will allow for a clear picture of both success and opportunities for improvement.

Within the initial communications relating to value, consider asking for volunteers to play a role within the project. Immediately giving those affected the ability to shape the future will minimize some of the fear and uncertainty that exists by laying the foundation for a supportive, open environment.

The value proposition should help to paint a compelling picture of why the adoption of ITIL is important to the organization, the various teams, and, possibly, some specific positions. This picture will help to influence individuals to make a decision to support the initiative. It will help to motivate them to become involved.


This is a guest post written by Pamela Erksine, author of ‘ITIL and Organizational Change‘. Pamela was recently a guest on the IT Governance Podcast, when she spoke about her book, what encouraged her to write it, and how it can help ITSM professionals. You can listen to her podcast below.

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