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Remove old barriers to effect change

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in Leaders & Managers,Office Management,Office Technology,Workplace Communication

As the FBI struggles to transform itself into a modern terrorist-fighting machine, its leaders face a daunting and important reorganization.

Besides its gaps in seaport protection and language translation, the FBI still has major problems with technology. You think you’ve got information technology (IT) issues? Check out these FBI problems:
  • Limited web access for FBI agents.

  • Outdated database to track and share casework.

  • Centralized IT budget hasn’t happened yet. The top technology officer has a budget of $5,800.

  • Outmoded FBI tech help desk shuts down at 7 pm every day, with no after-hours help.
Harvard business professor John Kotter identifies factors that can derail change.

One factor—failing to remove old barriers that keep people from acting in new ways—comes up as the main issue at the FBI.

“Even when you can get people all pumped up about the ‘new’ and they understand what’s needed and why, all people need to do is hit the same old barriers about four times and their enthusiasm drops like a rock,” Kotter says.

Lesson: Ask your people what’s keeping them from making the top three changes everybody agrees your organization needs. Then ditch those impediments, fast.

— Adapted from “Mission: Impossible?” J.J. Brazil, Fast Company.

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