<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none;" alt="" src="https://px.ads.linkedin.com/collect/?pid=552770&amp;fmt=gif">

Data & Analytics, Risk Management, Governance & Policy

3 minute read

Managing Change: Your Data Depends on It

Oct 27, 2021

Written by: Stephanie Lennon

A slender book with an outsized lesson remains my go-to resource in helping organizations manage through change. 

Written by John Kotter, longtime Harvard Business School professor emeritus and change management guru, Our Iceberg Is Melting: Changing and Succeeding under Any Conditions takes readers through that process with a simple parable about penguins. This compelling storytelling device connects us with the underlying message in ways that cut to the heart of the matter and make it easy to get started. 

So why’s a banking consultant talking about penguins?  

Organizations are facing greater regulatory expectations of how they manage and protect data, particularly data pertaining to customers. With the volume of bank data growing at exponential rates and its underpinning nearly every decision, helping associates understand their role in the data ecosystem has never been more critical. And contrary to the default belief that data is the dominion of IT, the shift we should be driving is a mantra of shared responsibility because today nearly everyone is either producing it or consuming it.  

We know that driving change in how you manage data effectively is impossible if your employees don’t internalize the need to work differently. That’s where an effective change management strategy comes into play, and it starts at the beginning – not the end – of your data transformation efforts. 

Learning from the Penguins 

Recently, I partnered with my Spinnaker Consulting Group colleague Cara Williams, who leads our Risk Management and Regulatory Compliance practice. We prepared a white paper that examines the change management process as it relates to the organization’s data environment. Naturally, I saw this as an opportunity to lean into Kotter’s research and Our Iceberg Is Melting. Ultimately, you’re aiming for a cultural shift that generates wholehearted engagement from across your enterprise. 

We dive into four key phases of effective change management, along with supporting practices:  

  • Set the Stage: A prerequisite to driving change is creating a sense of urgency and pulling together the guiding team. Of course, nothing lights a fire under an organization more than a regulatory finding, but a well-managed data environment will help prevent and minimize risks. Senior leaders must be on board to guide the change that needs to happen before expecting anyone else to lean in. 
  • Decide What to Do: If you’re considering a data transformation, you’ve acknowledged that you aren’t where you need to be. At this phase, you’re developing the change vision and strategy as you define your destination. Use clear words and imagery. With a clear picture in mind, you can easily transition into the planning components. As at every step, engage stakeholders across the enterprise to be partners in effective change. 
  • Make It Happen: Take a clear message to all team members and illustrate their role in data management. A simple, inspirational vision can translate into understanding and buy-in. You can’t do this alone. Embrace this opportunity to empower your people to act and improve data management in their space. Celebrate early, small wins and use that success to push through to the next goals. 
  • Make It Stick: Now that you’ve driven new ways of behaving, reinforce and strengthen those desired actions until they become second nature for your people. This phase includes critical work such as developing policies and procedures, nurturing a consistent vocabulary, measuring effective data management and keeping data stewardship top of mind for all. 

Create a Culture that Embraces Change 

Our common narrative is how hard change is. Yes, it can be, but people demonstrate daily how they are open to change with what they wear, what they eat, where they live and travel. A more nuanced read on change might lead us to believe that it is not change itself that repels people but rather how change is imposed on them, especially if what they’re being asked to do seems scary. 

As a leader, you may find the entire change management process daunting. Break it down step by step however, and it’s not so bad. Change management is essential in developing the right processes and procedures that ensure your organization’s long-term success with a data ecosystem that gets more complex by the day. The Spinnaker Consulting Group team can walk you through a well-managed data transformation roadmap, which will unlock all the power in your information and ensure you comply with regulatory standards. Start by downloading your copy of Managing Change: Your Data Depends on It. We’re here to continue the conversation as you take your next step forward.