Technology Adoption: Do More Than Migrate Users, Transform Your Culture
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A company I once worked with had acquired several companies over the years in an effort to diversify their service offerings and compete in new markets. What worked in financial theory had far reaching cultural implications in execution. The problem: sloppy direction led to extreme lack of unified culture between those companies. That lack of vision for a cohesive, people-centric future led to disunity of employee experience and eventuated in to fractured teams, lack of cohesion around common goals, and remarkably – poor engagement with the tools meant to solve communication breakdowns and foster collaboration and productivity.
Here's what is interesting about that last part. The tools in question were not lacking in capability, nor were the employees incorrectly trained on how to use them. The problem was this: just because you possess a "cutting-edge" technology, does NOT guarantee you will reap the ideal utilization you had envisioned.
Take this recent study of Microsoft employees that showed an alarming 25% drop in team activity when simply relying on tools alone to breed innovation and collaboration between teammates. "Microsoft's principal takeaway is that, regardless of how you mix remote and in-office work, the resulting change in how workers communicate could impact how effectively a company can innovate, by making organizational teams more siloed," says ZDNet's, Owen Hughes.
The recent pandemic revealed crucial information for companies and their technologies – simply possessing a tool does not instantly create a culture of sharing and innovation with that tool. In fact, that same tool could become a mechanism for lack of team cohesion just as much as it can be a force for increased production. "But," you may ask, "how can we foster that positive cultural behavior we want our employees to engage in because of our tech, rather than despite of it?"
WWT's Adoption Services team helps organizations train and successfully connect end-users to a new technology. What was learned over many implementations of new technologies, such as Cisco Webex or Microsoft Teams, is that the result of those efforts could be split into two outcomes – Passively-Driven Change versus Actively-Driven Change.
- Passively-Driven Change focuses on migrating users on to the new platform/technology with as few hiccups as possible. The focus is all on the beginning of the life of the new tech in the organization.
- Actively-Driven Change is different. It understands the vital need for a successful user migration to the new technology, but it also understands a crucial element – if users are going to use this tech to it's fullest, that won't happen on its own, we need to systematically and actively pursue a change strategy that will encapsulate the proper vision for this technology's purpose in the organization. This focus is on the transformational goal we use this technology to accomplish.
In Adoption Services, we call Actively-Driven Change effort, "reaching for the cookie jar." It is modeled after how a child incrementally takes steps to reach the cookie jar on the top shelf as shown in this picture (below).
- In stage one (failure to implement), the child has availed itself of no tools for reaching higher than its arm can extend. It has wasted it's time in looking for a snack as only brussels sprouts are available at this level.
- In stage two (Passively-Driven Change), the child has learned to use a chair to solve for the height difference. But, unfortunately, this only yields it the substantial, but less tasty crackers.
- Finally (Actively-Driven Change), the child gets wise and exerts extra effort by stacking a box on the chair to give it the last bit of height needed to obtain their prize, the cookie jar.
In the same way, WWT's Adoption Services sees many organizations' change efforts varying in effort, with few reaching the prize that third level would attain. Adoption Services' Change Management Consultancy provides the "game changer" necessary for Actively-Driven Change.
Here is how we breakdown the difference between Passively-Driven and Actively-Driven Change.
There is a key word used in the Actively-Driven Change process - Transformation. Transformation makes something new out of the old. In your organization, instead of silos, you can transform to create cultural stickiness and team possibilities. When your people know the Why, they are more inclined to adopt and more importantly, ENGAGE with this new tool.
Additionally, when you choose not to settle for less, and instead aim for something greater for your technology integration, you distance yourself from complete implementation failure and heighten your chances of transformational success.
- Reaching for Passively-Driven Change = At best, Migration. At worst, failure to implement the technology.
- Reaching for Actively-Driven Change = At best, Transformation. At worst, still achieve user Migration.
Last year, $529 billion was spent on enterprise software, more than doubling over the decade - and that annual investment in software agreements will continue to rise. Just this year, the rise is expected to increase 13.2% year-over-year.
Without an engaging cultural vision and a radically different, Actively-Driven, change approach to adopting these new technologies, the loss of technological investment is incalculable. This lack of "change thinking" will not only affect team collaboration applications, but also any new technology that has no Actively-Driven Change strategy for how it fits holistically into your cultural vision.
Your best use of any technology will be realized when you have successfully communicated and engaged your users with its transformational purpose.