Teresa Takai’s 10 tips for change

In Michigan, the governor gave the state’s chief information officer, Teresa Takai, full authority to consolidate, reassign and restructure the executive branch’s information technology staff. During a speech at the American Council for Technology’s Management of Change conference last week, she offered 10 tips on managing change.

10. Go for the money, but do it with a smile.
Having control over the dollars is essential to implementing change, but the IT organization needs to have a customer-service focus.

9. Engage politicians early.
Often, lawmakers will not fully understand what you are trying to do and why.

8. Make sure the boss likes you.
In Michigan, Gov. Jennifer Granholm understood the importance of consolidating the state’s IT management, but the rest of the governor’s staff also needed to understand why the changes were necessary.

7. Sometimes you just have to take brave pills and stand up and be counted.
The IT organization needs to be a player and think of systems from a business perspective.

6. Make lemonade.
Use the funds you have available.

5. Find ways to deliver tomorrow’s solutions with today’s people.
Takai said the state’s IT executive underestimated the level of employee resistance to the changes. Everybody loves commonality — as long as it is done their way, she said.

4. Maintain momentum without wearing out your people…or your welcome.
In Michigan, IT leaders had to be stubborn and persistent.

3. Expand your horizons.
Many IT organizations tend to be too inwardly focused. Granholm pushed the organization to move beyond its traditional boundaries by working with local communities to help them create their first Web presence, Takai said.

2. Don’t forget who you work for.
Continue to focus on citizen value.

1. It’s not a popularity contest, and they’re never going to love you.
IT transformation is a journey, not an endpoint.

About the Author

Christopher J. Dorobek is the co-anchor of Federal News Radio’s afternoon drive program, The Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, and the founder, publisher and editor of the DorobekInsider.com, a leading blog for the Federal IT community.

Dorobek joined Federal News Radio in 2008 with 16 years of experience covering government issues with an emphasis on government information technology. Prior to joining Federal News Radio, Dorobek was editor-in-chief of Federal Computer Week, the leading news magazine for government IT decision-makers and the flagship of the 1105 Government Information Group portfolio of publications. As editor-in-chief, Dorobek served as a member of the senior leadership team at 1105 Government Information Group, providing daily editorial direction and management for FCW magazine, FCW.com, Government Health IT and its other editorial products.

Dorobek joined FCW in 2001 as a senior reporter and assumed increasing responsibilities, becoming managing editor and executive editor before being named editor-in-chief in 2006. Prior to joining FCW, Dorobek was a technology reporter at PlanetGov.com, one of the first online community centers for current and former government employees. He also spent five years at Government Computer News, another leading industry publication, covering a variety of federal IT-related issues.

Dorobek is a frequent speaker on issues involving the government IT industry, and has appeared as a frequent contributor to NewsChannel 8’s Federal News Today program. He began his career as a reporter at the Foster’s Daily Democrat, a daily newspaper in Dover, N.H. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California. He lives in Washington, DC.


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