Working toward widespread acceptance of TAM processes is a culture shift worth pursuing. DOTs are typically known for a “can do” attitude, and that can be powerful in creating the energy needed to make strategic change. An important aspect of culture change is to create open minds that are receptive to TAM advancement initiatives, so the whole agency can embrace them and lead them.
Changing an agency’s culture can have widespread benefits to TAM programs. A culture that fully embraces TAM can make the best use of TAM tools and techniques to further advancement and progress toward maturity. When TAM culture is present and working well, the agency is able to achieve optimal results by working through conflicting perspectives on the key elements of the process.
TAM Change Agents
Making changes is inherent to TAM success. TAM teams need people who will guide and lead the change process. It is important to note that the person making decisions about what changes are needed is not necessarily the one who will carry out the changes. This requires a change agent with the ability to help people understand and adapt to new ways of doing things.
MnDOT has had a culture of innovation for a long time, and its TAM culture in particular has been advancing. The innovative nature of MnDOT has helped with TAM implementation, but the organization has struggled to fully embrace all of the elements of TAM. The need to institutionalize risk management is an important aspect of MnDOT’s TAM program and progress is being made incrementally. TAM leadership understands that change takes time and they are making progress using a continuous improvement approach.
Colorado DOT’s (CDOT) change management program seeks to “help all members of Team CDOT be successful with each and every change which impacts them.” CDOT’s people-centric approach to change management highlights the two-way flow of the information system. Information can flow from project leads, to change agents, to supervisors, and finally to employees. However, information and ideas can also originate with the employees and flow back to the project leads. This encourages engagement from frontline workers. CDOT has identified the following contributors to success in change management:
- Active and visible sponsorship
- Frequent and open communication about the change
- Structured change management approach
- Dedicated change management resources and funding
- Employee engagement and participation
- Engagement with and support from middle management