Member Spotlight: David Williams

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Getting to know David...Screen Shot 2014-10-08 at 9.52.14 PM

Company Name: Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Services
Company Founded in: 1938
Business Industry: Information Technology; Hardware, Software and Services
Target Market: Consumers, Large enterprises, small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) including customers in the government, health and education sectors
OCA Member Since: 2012


What makes OCA Atlanta important to you?

For me, it served as a forum where I can hear diverse points of view on OD/CM matters; I am particularly interested in what kinds of problems practitioners are facing with their clients and the types of solution they are employing. I also appreciate the introduction of best practices, although some of the things I hear seems to be “out there” but it at least helps me understand what the outer bounds markers are.

How long have you been practicing organization development / change management?

Since 1998 but I don’t spend 100% all of my time on it. It is just one of my many responsibilities but it is one of the areas I consider to be a core competency and that I enjoy doing most. Just so you know, I’d put monthly budget reconciliation and resolving billing disputes as one of my least favorite job responsibilities.

How did you become interested in organizational change?

I was managing my first major SAP implementation at the time while working for one of the “Big 6” consulting firms. The partner in charge assigned this “change guy” to the project and I had no idea why he was there and what he was doing. To make matters worse, my client counterpart hated him (apparently a personality conflict) and demanded that we get rid of him. Because the partner didn’t want to forfeit the revenue (I guess a replacement resource wasn’t available at the time), he asked me to take on and finish up the change management work. I didn’t know a thing about change management. I had barely even heard the term before but I took on the challenge, dissected his plan and created another plan that made sense to me. The change plan was pretty good and proved to be an integral part of us achieving our implementation success. As a result I received a bit of notoriety around the firm and I soon became the “change guy.” I was soon consulting other program and project managers on the virtues of Change Management and how to use it to deliver successful projects. I’ve been working on Change Management projects ever since.

How does your current role link to OD/CM?

I lead a consulting practice at HP that includes OD/CM practitioners. At HP, we call this function Management of Change (MoC) to differentiate it from the ITIL-based Change Management work that we do as well.

Where do you see the field of OD/CM headed in the future?

At HP we are seeing a desire from our clients to proactively address any areas of resistance and to promote adoption. Because of our vast experience they expect that we have seen the problem they will likely incur and that we have solutions that we can readily bring to bear to address them. We are focused on helping our clients implement the new style of IT and getting whole scale adoption is intregal to that.

How have you been involved in OCA?

I mainly attend the Friday meetings because I have some personal conflicts most weekends. My desire is to become more involved in 2015 and contribute in other ways.

What do you consider are your most valuable skills you can offer someone?

I am told that I have a very pragmatic approach to OD. I credit this to not necessarily starting my career doing this kind of work. I am someone who got into this a little later in their career after having done a number of different things in IT and management consulting. It is that perspective that helps me be able to relate to and appreciate the problems CIO and Business leaders face and frame solutions to address them.

What do you want us to know that is special about you (personally or professionally, your business or both (here you may give us accolades, awards, interesting tidbits that make you unique, thoughts/philosophies, etc…)?

I often see OD practitioners, competitors and even some of the people who work for me, take the neutral position on things. I often struggle with this because I’m not sure this is the position our clients want us to take. We are to affect change and drive culture to meet the business objectives so, whether we like it or not, that is what we were hired to do. When I interview a candidate I often ask them about changing culture and am surprised by the number of people who tell me that you can’t do that. They say things like a business’ culture must evolve organically (i.e., on its own) and things like that. I’m not sure I agree with that but that seems to be common perception and stance taken by a lot of OD practitioners. Not to get into a debate on the matter, but I feel a lot of my customers want us to help them change their culture or, at minimum, want us to change the cultural norms that get in the way of them transforming their businesses.


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