top of page

It Isn't the Clubs

(A Change Management Article)

My golf game is sad. There really is no other way to say it positively. I had the opportunity this week to talk for a few minutes with Jay Litton ( As a leader, we all need to make ourselves vulnerable, and that day I chose to share the horrendous state of my golf game before discussing business topics. I openly shared my need for clubs that fit, and in an utter lack of sympathy, he shared, “It’s not the clubs.” I had to laugh, he was right.

It was during the following discussion that I realized we in IT often approach transformation and organizational change management the same way I discussed my golf game. We speak as if it is all about the technology.

Truth is, I have never seen a technology project fail because of the technology. Technology is often symptomatic of larger issues, and we often let it take the blame. But it is not technology that failed. It is poor leadership, planning, decision-making, processes, or risk management. Technology just helps us fail harder and more expensively.

Poor leadership allows an organization prioritization to preempt the greater good. Poor planning allows us to execute a technology implementation without understanding the business impacts. Poor decision-making encourages us to throw more time or money at a project that should be abandoned. Poor processes encourage increasing bureaucracy or untimely fault recognition. And poor risk management encourages a lack of preparation for what obstacles will inevitably arise.

As leaders we try and mitigate these risks. Given my golf game, I should concentrate on hitting the fairway rather than carrying the trees on a blind dogleg to the right. We should break projects down into smaller pieces using agile or extreme methodologies. We should embed business guidance into our teams. We should manage impact by using pretotyping or blue/green fields. And we should be prepared to quickly fail by being willing to quickly abandon an investment that is no longer viable.

These concepts also apply to IT transformation and organizational change management, and enable us to change faster by making smaller changes more quickly.

Conclusion. It isn't the technology. It isn’t the clubs.

© 2018 Barry Robbins, Silver Bear Solutions

Contact The Author

Barry Robbins is an IT Executive with a strong record of success in transforming IT organizations by envisioning, developing, and implementing IT business solutions.


bottom of page