A few days back, I came across news of a raging storm uprooting some giant oak trees and blocking off traffic for several hours. Initially, I didn’t bat an eyelash or gawk at nature’s fury. But then a very quirky thought came to my mind. I thought ‘how come I have never read about bamboo trees getting uprooted’. The answer was staring right back at me. Bamboo trees survive the worst of storms because of their agility and ability to adapt.
We as enterprises need to be more like bamboo trees and less like oak trees. The more rigid we are in our ways and processes the more likely we are to lose our footing. But if we are open to new technologies, processes, and experiences, we have a far better chance of surviving and thriving.
But it’s easier said than done. A technology change faces resistance from two fronts – board and people. The board would hesitate to change a technology that has been working good enough for them. They would even back their claim up with track record of past few years. People within the organization would resist change because it might require them to step out of their comfort zone.
So then how can you make them see that change is good for them? How can you motivate them to embrace change and move forward? Here are a few tips that can ease technology change management for you.
Justify the Change in Your Proposal
When you document a change proposal make sure that you justify the change. Your board of directors is going to want to know why you are suggesting that they buy something new or even overhaul a technology that looks to be working just about fine for them. Your proposal should convince them about the change and not just rally around it. You don’t want the cat to get hold of your tongue here.
Anticipate Resistance Beforehand
If you are an insider then you would have a good feel for enterprise culture. You would know what kind of resistance would come up from which pocket of the enterprise. You can anticipate this resistance and work out a strategy to tackle it. As a countermeasure, you can create sample scenarios that put up a good case for your proposed change. A closer to life example will help you drive your point home effortlessly.
Get People Involved
People are going to be the most sensitive element of change management. They are the ones who are working with the old technology and they are the ones who are expected to work with the new one. So your biggest resistance will come from them. One of the most common reasons for their strong resistance is getting pushed out of their comfort zone. Over a period of time they have established a comfort level with the old technology and are not ready to let it go yet. You need to highlight the shortcomings of old technology and educate them over the benefits of the new one. Instead of imposing the change, try to get them involved in your change. The more involved they are the better for you.
Open the Change to Debate
A technology change sets off a chain of reactions within an enterprise. The more hush-hush you stay about the change, the more volatile these reactions can get. So, open your change up for debate. Encourage people to come forth and voice their opinions. Get them talking and address their concerns. They should be comfortable in their own skin with the change before you actually implement it.
Allocate Sufficient Resources
Training sessions should accompany any technology change like a shadow. If you do not train your people sufficiently to work with this new technology then your whole exercise is futile. After all, it’s the people who shall draw out value from the new technology and make it a success.
Document The Change Process
Humans don’t have elephant’s memory. An honest slip here or there can cause mayhem in your change implementation. It’s better that you document your entire change process. Neatly record the minutes of the meetings, discussions, training sessions, and even observations. These documented facts would be a good barometer to compare your results against.
Accepting a change can be taxing for an enterprise. It can even cause an emotional upheaval. Be sensitive to these reactions and play your cards smartly to cause minimum disturbance and draw out maximum support.