We’ve written about the need for culture change in networking several times, including:
- A strong aversion to risk and desire for perceived “safe” incremental changes, leading to the accrual technical debt
- Enterprise networks aren’t agile which results in an ever-widening gap between business needs and network capabilities
We’ve also written about how to start to overcome this challenge, including shifting spend from premium products to premium people, and how to stimulate innovation. That said, changing culture is extremely difficult in practice, although easy to understand in theory. Along these lines, I regularly talk to clients about how to kick start network innovation, discussion things “network automation hackathons” or declaring “No CLI Friday’s”, etc. There is actually a formal term for some of these things: culture hack.
A culture hack is a small adjustment to the culture that garners big results. A great culture hack includes four characteristics: emotional, immediate, visible, and low effort. We/Gartner (Mary Mesaglio) just published research on culture hacking that your (and your boss and CIO) should read: The Art of Culture Hacking.
A couple snippets from the research: Start today, start small, and start with a hack that is fun and not too scary. Know what you are hacking toward (i.e., don’t just hack for hacking sake). Watch for signs that the hack has backfired, and have a plan to contain damage (i.e., create a contingency/resiliency plan – we should be pretty good at that as networkers). Sounds pretty cool, right? Check out the full research here:
The Art of Culture Hacking (Paywall)
Summary: What’s the biggest barrier to change and transformation? According to CIOs, the resounding answer is culture, but that’s not a very useful answer. Culture is big, unwieldy and hard to change. Most CIOs approach big change with big transformation efforts. We suggest you hack your culture instead.
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