Are you a HERO or a WIMP when it comes to dealing with ABC?

Published on Thursday 10 October 2013 by in Blog with 1 comment

Unfortunately there are too many Wimps in IT! There I have said it. Let the hate (e)mails come, let the vultures tweet (or squawk), let the (two) faced book graffiti wall messages appear, the linked-in become linked-out as people shun my network and let the sideway glances and dirty looks mark me as the unwelcomed at IT conferences… be it! This is a reposting of an article from the beginning of 2012…then again in 2013 and now here we are in 2014….unfortunately too few hero’s have stepped up to the plate. I have recently attended itSMF conferences in the USA, UK, Netherlands, Norway. STILL THE SAME ISSUES being recognized!!

There are too many WIMPs when it comes to dealing with Attitude, Behavior and Culture (ABC). There are some Hero’s, and I hope together with the itSMF, and our global partner network to find the Hero’s, to promote their cases, their approaches, their successes in effectively dealing with ABC so that we can help others.

I am sure some of the Wimps out there are simply Hero’s waiting to break out and assume their true identity. Clark Kent (Wimp) used to go into telephone boxes and come out wearing his underpants on the outside of his trousers and generally go around showing off by leaping tall buildings in a single bound and stopping runaway trains….I am not suggesting this type of hero behavior or unusual dress sense.

What am I suggesting? First I suppose it would help if I clarified these two titles, and then give some characteristics to help you decide which category YOU fall into. Of course everybody will score themselves as Hero. In that case somebody please explain to me why still the majority of ITSM improvement initiatives are struggling with lack of buy-in, resistance and lack of results.

HeroHelp Ensure Responsibility & Ownership for addressing ABC 

WimpWhy? Isn’t MProblem! Remember: ‘ABC is the number 1 success or fail factor in ITSM improvement initiatives. ABC is like an Iceberg, much of it is hidden yet it is capable of causing enormous damage to your improvement initiative, or more importantly to your business’! 

The OGC ‘Planning to implement service Management’ book confirms it ‘…The most common reason for the breakdown of Service management initiatives is failure to recognize the importance of Organizational culture…’  The book goes on to give advice for dealing with it, and suggest the ABC of ICT publication as good guidance, but the WIMPS don’t care, they don’t read the ‘Planning to Implement’ book because it doesn’t help them pass their ITIL certificate, so why SHOULD they to read it! Since my previous blogs I have now asked at conferences more than 7000 people (90% or so who admitted to ‘doing ITIL’) how many have read any ‘Planning to Implement Service Management’ book (V2 or V3) still less than 5% of hands go up! Is it any wonder improvement initiatives continue to flounder. 

The results of our world-wide survey into the top 10 types of resistance to ITSM improvement initiatives clearly shows the enormity of this hidden Iceberg. (with thanks to the itSMF for the USA LIG events and input). The top 5 cards from the last 10 years REMAIN THE TOP 5 CARDS!

The reason I say there are more Wimps is the fact that ‘Not my responsibility’ still scores as the world-wide number 3 ABC worst practice card chosen in the ‘Customer focused’ surveys. It seems that nobody wants to take ownership or assume responsibility for stopping the runaway train of a failing ITSM improvement initiative.


Take OWNERSHIP for doing something to make ABC visible in YOUR organization Let ABC worst practices happen and play the victim waiting to be rescued
Make change happen ** Watch change fail
Lead by example, walk the talk Follow the herd, talk the walk
Prepared to confront others Avoid rocking the boat
Give open, honest and direct feedback Moan to anybody that will listen…apart from those who have the power to do something about it
Lay it on the table Sweep it under the carpet
Make it known …not me! they shoot the messenger
Make the Iceberg visible Trust there are enough lifeboats
Ensure when people go on a training course they come back and start displaying new behavior Ensure when people go on a training course they come back with a certificate
Bring people together in dialogue to deal with resistance and to create buy-in Send memos and emails and avoid inviting the ‘difficult’ people to sessions in which they will moan.
Find a way of getting the message across Find excuses for not trying a different approach
Read the guidance and follow training to understand and deal with ABC. Read the guidance that is required just to get the ITIL Expert certificate.

Will people change? They haven’t done in the last 10 years. Not my responsibility seems to be a core competency in the world of ITSM! Somebody please prove me wrong. Submit a case and share your story with the rest of the ITSM community.

In the spirit of sharing here are our top 10 success factors for dealing with ABC according to the industry experts who provided cases and tips on how to deal with ABC in the ABC of ICT – An Introduction book.

Here also in case you missed them are Stephan Mann’s ‘Top 20 (Ok 50) ITIL Adoption Mistakes‘.

** ‘Make Change Happen’. This made me think of Commander James Lovell from Apollo 13 who once said to us when we met him to discuss our Apollo 13 simulation ‘There are those who make things happen, those who watch things happen and those who wondered what just happened!’ He suggested to us, if IT really is mission critical then it is time that people took personal ownership and accountability to ensure that the processes work.

And just in case you want and come and give me a piece of your mind at itSMF events for calling IT people Wimps, here is my picture. Come and visit me and show me why YOU are a HERO?

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