Sowing the Seeds of Change: Supporting People to Embrace Technology – Liz Coup #DWCAU

As human beings, we resistant to change. So much effort is put into the shiny thing, but not on managing change. Never assume that people will just get it.

Change by it’s definition is to transform from old way to new way.

  • Taking away folder structures and telling people to use metadata is change.
It is possible to have a technical success, but an operational failure. IT got installed and it works, but does anyone use it?
  • What is your measure of success? Are people using it? That is the true measure of successful change.

Who are you dealing with?

So often projects refer to users. Faceless people. But when you deal with real people, they don’t fit in boxes. They come with baggage, prior experience, fears, expectations, ideas. They have contributions to make. Allow them to make them. Give them a voice. Involve your humans and get to know them.

By their very nature, humans are lazy and will take the path of least resistance. They just want to get on with their job.

Blocks to change

Elephants in the room.

  • Fear – You are changing how people are doing something. They know how to do their job. If you change something, they need to know how to continue. Address that fear.
  • The Busy factor – Everyone has so much to do. Adding new things is just another thing on the list. Give people to go beyond the busy factor.
  • Assumptions – Don’t make assumptions about how people will deal with the change. Ask the people. Ask the people that you assume will have a problem. Don’t just go with the opinions of the SME. Question assumptions.
  • Expectations – We aware of expectations. Set them. Make sure they are clear.
  • Perceptions – Show people how something works. People will form a perception in the absence of information.
  • Overload
  • Status Quo – It’s easier to stay the same.

Red flags

Focus on the human aspect of change, rather than the technology. Sometimes things fail because you didn’t involve people in the process. The tech works. But the small use-cases may become broken. A key stakeholder may be very influential and effected by the change. The challenge is to find and involve these key stakeholders.

  • Be a gardener. Look for the weeds. Find the blockers.
Change can’t grow if weeds are choking it.
  • Detach from the outcome. People might do things a little differently than the change intended.
  • Other things might come in and effect that change.
  • Some people are not ready or willing to change. Be aware of that.

What’s your why?

  • Don’t change for the sake of change. Make people aware of the value of the change.

If you invest effort with the laggards, you will everyone else.

  • What can you do differently this time?
  • Get creative.
  • Make it fun. Roll out the red carpet. Play some music. Give out prizes. Smoke machines. The result was huge excitement and wonder. Get creative!

Offer follow up support. Give 1:1 sessions to help people answer their questions.

4 keys to technology change

  • Education – let people learn in the real world. Let them try it and touch it after the training. Give a support structure (email, forum, allow people to ask questions.) Allow people to help themselves. They can search for the answer in a forum. Others may have the same questions. Train the trainer.
  • Communication – Some people choose to be a mushroom. Some just don’t want to know about the change. (Why is that? Find out if you can.) Keep communicating about the change. Drip feed it. Let them know what to expect and when. Be clear how it will impact their day.

Keep telling them. Keep telling them. Most people don’t read the first communication. Tell them. Then tell them again.

  • Agreements – What have you agreed to? What if there is a mistake with how the technology is used. I.e. Applying metadata. Have an agreement up front that if you see a mistake, fix it. Agree on a roadmap. Create a roadmap.
  • Time – Unlearning takes time. Help them to form the new patterns. The rule of 3, tell them three times. Have patience. Put your patience hat on.