Changing Culture On IT Teams: A Journey Without a Destination 

We’ve all been part of different teams across our lives. Teams formed based on athletics, common interests like reading or art, and work. No matter how each team was formed, there became some written or unwritten team culture. Webster defines culture at a team level as the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and ways of working. While culture can be defined at the team level, it also reflects how an institution or organization operates.  

In June 2023, I started a new professional journey from the insurance and financial services industries to leading digital strategy and business development at Insight Global. I’ve experienced firsthand the transformative power of culture within our technology teams. They say if you want to change the way of being, you have to change the way of doing. That change starts by getting team culture in alignment with delivering value to the business.  I want to share what I have learned through my experience at Insight Global so far about the importance of culture while going through a technology transformation.  

What Type of Employee/Organization Do You Want? 

From being a “Corporate Athlete” for over 20 years, I believe in fostering a culture where these aspect are valued: 

  • Mentality: Employees are proactive, resilient, and embrace change as an opportunity for growth. 
  • Skills: The team has a blend of technical acumen and soft skills allowing them to adapt to new technologies and methodologies quickly. 
  • Behavior: Collaboration, innovation, and a strong focus on business outcomes characterize the team’s approach to projects. 

It’s crucial to identify and cultivate the attributes you deem most important for your team or organization while also being mindful of the traits we wish to avoid. These can be qualities like resistance to change, siloed working styles, and a focus purely on capabilities rather than adoption and impact. 

Establishing these are an important first building block to change.   

Putting Culture Change into Action: The Insight Global Way 

When I started in my new role at Insight Global, we initiated our IT culture transformation by hosting my direct leadership team in a two-day Compass event. This event involved us stepping out of the day to day and going deeper as a team to identify the good, bad, and ugly things impacting our ability to enable technology to the business. It’s all about building connection so we can work together to achieve better results. 

Now, there are two important components to having an effective Compass. First is a clearly defined problem statement. What’s not working? What do you want to change? What do you want to accomplish? After understanding the problem that needs to be solved, you must identify what does success look like.  

Here is what we used for our inaugural Compass event with my leadership team: 

Problem Statement:  

We have been operating in siloes within our teams and lack collaboration as a group that is focused on shared goals/outcomes for the business.  

Success Criteria: 

  • Build more connection within our leadership team. 
  • Identify a 90-day quick win that is driven by the whole leadership team, together. 
  • Define the behaviors that will drive the 90-day quick win. 
  • Start to rethink the brand of Insight Global’s internal IT team and what we want to be known for.  

This Compass directed us toward achieving a tangible business focused 90-day win: Creating a lead conversion rate for all digital marketing leads, with a simplified and automated contact creation. This goal was not just about improving a metric–it was about shifting our entire approach to be product-led, prioritizing the adoption and effectiveness of our solutions in the market.

Image of DeWayne Griffin, Insight Global's CDIO, with a quote about technology adoption.

Focusing on Adoption—Not Just Capabilities 

This shift towards a product-led culture is the crux of why transforming the culture of tech teams is so imperative. In the world of technology, it’s easy to get caught up in the capabilities we can build. However, the true measure of success is in how these capabilities are adopted and utilized to create value. By focusing on adoption, we ensure our efforts are always aligned with the needs and success of our customers. 

My team successfully delivered that 90-day quick win and along the way set the tone for a new culture of IT at Insight Global. This culture that has further matured since that 90-day sprint, using real experience to embody four key behaviors that make up our new operating model: 

  • Using data-informed decision making. 
  • Applying our knowledge of business needs to internally set IT priorities and solutions. 
  • Staying committed as a team to foster proactive and consistent communication by being honest and transparent. 
  • Foster the ability to disagree and commit as a team. 

A Journey Without a Destination 

The journey of transforming the culture within technology teams is continuous and ever evolving. It’s a journey without a destination. This perspective is crucial in the tech world, where change is the only constant. The success we’ve achieved at Insight Global so far in fostering a product-led culture serves as a testament to the power of focusing on adoption–not just capabilities. 

As we move forward, we carry the lessons learned from my years as a corporate athlete—valuing relationships, leading by example, and the continuous pursuit of growth and learning. These principles guide us as we navigate the complexities of technological transformation, ensuring that at the heart of every innovation lies a culture poised for success.