The old adage that \u201cthe soft stuff is the hard stuff\u201d certainly applies to CIOs. Consider the many new ways we work together today as companies adopt global shared services, enterprisewide architectures and systems, and entirely new business models that arrive in mergers and acquisitions or \u00adoutsourcing arrangements. All this requires finely honed skills in transformation and transition.\n \n In a recent meeting of Society for Information Management\u2019s Advanced Practices Council (SIM\u2019s APC ), we explored the key lessons learned by successful CIOs with track records of leading company transformations. Some tried-and-true tactics emerged, including:\n \nSet up a team to guide people reluctant to change.\n \n\n Have a compelling vision or purpose to share.\n \n\n Engage both the rational and emotional sides of your staff.\n \n\n Target and measure desired outcomes.\n \n\n Foster ownership, commitment and idea sharing.\n \n\n Make two-way communication \u201crelentless and \u00adboring.\u201d\n \n\n Build credibility and momentum with quick wins.\n \n Let\u2019s focus here on the three techniques most likely to fall outside your comfort zone: \n \n1) Have a compelling vision or purpose to share. Cutting costs and increasing revenue aren\u2019t compelling to staff in the same way a visionary goal can be. NASA\u2019s vision, for example, extols the value of revealing the unknown \u201cso that what we do and learn will benefit all humankind.\u201d PepsiCo distills its corporate goal down to \u201ccreating a better tomorrow than today.\u201d Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer dedicates itself to \u201chumanity\u2019s quest for longer, healthier, happier lives.\u201d What does your organization\u2019s vision say to employees? All too often, CIOs create vision statements focused only on IT\u2019s role in the company. Redirect that vision to connect more directly with a noble cause that will motivate extraordinary efforts.\n \n2) Foster ownership, commitment and idea sharing. Several APC members have used \u201cinnovation jams\u201d to get staff to generate fresh solutions to long-standing problems. One CIO recommended getting staff involved in any transformation plan as early as possible to avoid setbacks later on. Chubb\u2019s Chief Architect Patrick Sullivan, for example, engaged the company\u2019s highly independent business unit architects (with patience and persistence) as he engineered the transformation to a corporate enterprise architecture. CIOs can play a central role in times of change by asking staff at all levels to identify barriers\u2014impediments in structure, attitudes, systems, styles, processes, performance measures, incentives or rewards\u2014and then work together on busting them.\n \n3) Make two-way communication \u201crelentless and boring.\u201d Former GE CEO Jack Welch advocated this for leaders communicating about change. We know how much time-pressed, overcommitted CIOs dislike \u201cwasting time\u201d by repeating what they have already said. But people hear your message only when they\u2019re ready, so CIOs must not only communicate messages many more times than they might like but must also do so in multiple formats. That means writing blogs, holding breakfast and town hall meetings, sending weekly emails, broadcasting videos and chairing panels of company leaders. This is one area where you can never overdo it. \n \n The most successful CIOs share as much info about impending change as they can, as early as possible. One CIO we know shared every decision about a major outsourcing with staff within 48 hours, thus building trust. Another senior IT leader leapt to his feet at a town hall meeting where a major organizational change had just been announced and declared, \u201cI\u2019m so excited and I\u2019m so scared.\u201d \n \n The soft stuff really is the hard stuff. But it\u2019s worth it.\n \nMadeline Weiss is director of the Society for Information Management\u2019s Advanced Practices Council (APC). June Drewry is former CIO of Chubb and a contributing adviser to the APC.