“We never fail when we try to do our duty, but we always fail when we neglect to do it.”
~ Robert Baden-Powell
By: Dale Reeves, Change Management Specialist
It is common sense that “technology in use is much more powerful than just technology.” And with the constant emergence and evolution of technology, it is imperative that this premise remains constant, otherwise organisations risk becoming disengaged, losing out and falling behind.
It is those working to sell technology solutions that have a duty of care to their clients. Rather than just rolling out a new technology solution and then walking away, technology integrators need to be there before, during, and after a deployment. They need to clearly set out the importance of a solid change management strategy in ensuring the change goes as smoothly as possible and the technology is being used to its optimal capacity right from when it is introduced and into the future.
The driving force behind a technology change doesn’t always take into consideration the people it impacts, and how to best work with the end user to get them on board and using the technology in their job. To get buy-in from the end user, it’s important to ask as many questions as possible during the very early stages amongst a wide variety of stake holders across the organisation. These questions should aim to ask for guidance on factors that will help shape the technology itself. After all, it’s the people who will be using the technology that are best qualified to give advice and direction for how the technology implementation can be set up to have the best impact on their day to day roles.
The type of questions that should be asked to help shape the technology change process include:
Where are we now?
What does our future state look like?
Why are we heading this way?
What is our current state of readiness for the change?
Who are the main players and how do we get them involved and onboard in the process?
What practical steps can we take to lessen the impact on everyone and get everyone involved?
Additionally, there are also a range of factors that need to be avoided when implementing a change. These can include (but are certainly not limited to!):
Starting too late
Not communicating enough
Not communicating the key messages to the correct people in the correct order
Only relying on one communication mode rather than a combination of communication methods (one way and two way)
Not having a clear reason for the change or business case being explained
Not asking the correct questions to the right people
Lack of leadership/sponsorship for the change
Lack of sufficient post change evaluation/reviewers (Looking in the mirror)
Although popular theories, such as Kurt Lewin’s 3 stage method of Unfreeze - Change - Freeze, have been criticised by scholars throughout the years for over-simplifying the change process, it is still evident that when you look at the above points, each clearly slots into one of these phases. And often, theories will have a lot of overlap, therefore regardless of the approach, the questions asked and the players involved along the way will ultimately determine the success of the initiative.
The most important first step, though, is for the technology integrator to get the organisation behind a change management strategy which will get them on track for success.
Dale is passionate about the responsible management of change to better empower employees, and in turn, the organisation. Follow him on twitter at @DaleXReeves.