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2016 Premier 100: Masters of disruption

Stacy Collett | March 1, 2016
It’s a chaotic world for this year’s honorees, but that’s just how they like it, as they embrace countless ways to spearhead change at their organizations, from shaking up the IT structure to driving technology investment.

"The real focus is on autonomy, so they can make decisions on their own, and accountability, so they win together and lose together. They all have the same goals and objectives," and they are compensated equally based on results, Craig says. "It really allows each of those groups to be much more nimble."

Craig measures success in terms of velocity — the speed at which a new technology feature moves from development toward rollout in a two-week period. In the first two months the new model was in place, IT's velocity actually decreased as people got adjusted, Craig says. But today, velocity has increased by more than 20%.

"If people feel they own it and they feel empowered to make change, and they only have to talk to two or three people adjacent to them who all have the same goals, then everybody seems to be far more motivated," Craig says. As the company expands globally to London and Berlin in 2016, the model will help Craig set up new IT teams in those locales quickly.

Improving communication

At Verizon, vice president of national network operations Beth Drohan has a team that thrives on new technology. "They tend to run toward it," rather than avoid it, she says. Her role is to clear any roadblocks for them and help facilitate change.


Beth Drohan

Verizon recently launched a new service called VoLTE, where voice calls are transmitted over Verizon's 4G LTE network instead of via a traditional circuit-switched network. With VoLTE, voice is essentially delivered as data packets instead of as one stream. To make it work, Drohan's team of 1,600 IT staffers had to overhaul Verizon's wireless core network.

Drohan kept the pace of change humming by making sure that stakeholders stayed informed and involved, and by working with them on what-if scenarios for how problems would be resolved. "There's a balance," she explains. "You must include the stakeholders that you need, so nobody gets surprised or cut short. But don't bog people down by working by committee."

With that strategy, Drohan says she was able to work across organizational boundaries instead of redrawing them.

 

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