1. You have heard a small number of team members express concern about, and demonstrate resistance to, a new strategy which requires them to report all information technology (IT) issues to an external help desk by lodging an electronic request rather than just verbally telling their supervisor that there is an IT problem. Outline the process you would use to coach these team members in the use of new processes.  2. You want to attend an event that might allow you to build relevant work related networks and relationships that meet client needs and organizations objectives. Your organization's manager does not believe that networking is useful and that time spent networking would be better used or engaged in normal work activities. What would you say to the manager to convince them that attending this event is worthwhile?

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There is almost always resistance to change in most organizations, regardless of each organization's mission or function. Change is discomfiting to many people, and mandating or encouraging a change in the way certain procedures have historically been performed can be upsetting to employees accustomed to the old system or methodology. The change specified in the student's question, however, should not encounter prohibitively difficult obstacles among staff. While it is, needless to say, easier to simply communicate orally up one's chain of command, it is beneficial to the employees as well as their managers that communications involving problems, including in the area of information technologies that are common throughout the organization, be made electronically. 

Having spent many years working in government, as well as in the private sector, this educator is a firm believer in establishing "paper trails" documenting important communications. By communicating business-essential questions and answers—including those pertaining to information technologies integral to the organization's smooth functioning—electronically or via actual paper, the employee is protected against any potential allegation that communications regarding any particular issue failed to take place. Simultaneously, the manager has documentation that the message was conveyed and, presumably, responded to by the manager. "Paper trails," chains of documented communications, help ensure that issues are addressed, whereas verbal communications can easily fall prey to "he said, she said" disputes among employees or between employees and their superiors. 

The reason for this discussion of the importance of "paper trails," then, is that concerns about information technologies that are communicated to an outside contractor or to internal departments are documented, thereby indemnifying the affected employees against charges that problems were not reported. If management explains the aforementioned change in procedures in these terms, the employees will, or should, understand the rationale and "buy into" the new procedures.

With respect to the student's second question—how to convince one's superiors of the importance of networking, even if networking involves expenses—the challenge is a little trickier. Managers resistant to the notion of authorizing subordinates to attend conferences, especially those taking place in another city or state, requiring lodging and food expenses in addition to the inevitable costs associated with registering for conferences, are not easily persuaded otherwise. The effort, however, may be worthwhile. Depending upon the nature of one's job, networking may or may not be important. For purposes of discussion, let's assume that networking would be beneficial. In business, as well as in many other types of organizations, including nonprofit and government work, professional relationships that can only be forged through personal interaction can be essential. Professional relationships built through interactions at social events and/or at professional conferences can prove immeasurably beneficial to the organizations whose employees are in attendance. 

So, with the importance of networking established, the challenge is to convince one's manager of the attributes or advantages involved. It is, therefore, incumbent upon the individual seeking his or her superior's consent to demonstrate that the forging of professional relationships through networking will result in improved productivity and net financial gains. Either such relationships hold that potential or they do not; the key is to be able, to the extent possible, to quantify those advantages, for example, by demonstrating how relationships with individuals from other organizations can help improve efficiency and profitability. If an employee meets, for example, a vendor or representative from a competing organization and develops that relationship through networking, better business arrangements can accrue and, possibly, important insights into the competition's strategies can be revealed. This latter advantage does, admittedly, constitute a sort of corporate espionage, but that is how the world works.

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