It’s finally over. The months of budgeting, planning, and getting a team together. The implementation, shifting deadlines, testing, and dealing with bumps in the road. After all that work — all the blood, sweat, and tears — your new technology project is ready to be rolled out.
You’re excited — after all, your research told you that the new program will dramatically boost your team’s productivity. Plus, having listened for years as they’ve griped about old and slow systems, you’ve made sure the new setup has a modern UX that they’ll love.
So what could possibly go wrong? Well, given that about a quarter of technology projects fail outright, you’d be surprised.
The benefits and improvements the new system will bring might be self-evident to you — after all, you’ve been immersed in this project for months. But unless you communicate and roll out in an effective way, your team is more than likely to wonder what’s in it for them.
New tech adoption doesn’t happen by itself — it needs to be planned and managed. Otherwise, huge barriers will spring up quickly. By following these few tips, leaders can blast through any roadblocks before they become insurmountable:
They say you need a little patience to succeed — and they’re right. Too often, leaders think they can flip a switch and everyone will move to the new system exactly as desired. But you should be willing to play a slightly longer game.
There needs to be a gradual plan of adoption, starting with the communication of a compelling vision for the technology and what it’s going to do. This has to encompass the micro as well as the macro — how will it benefit the company as a whole, but also what day-to-day improvements will it bring to individuals?
With the vision articulated, you’ll need to put together a plan of gradual adoption. Set out key dates like when training will begin, when the new system will be in use, the point that you’ll expect people to switch over, and the final date for shutting down the old systems.
You’ll avoid barriers to adoption emerging if you set out the road ahead and show your team how you’ll all travel it together.
Great plans need to evangelize on the ground as well as from the top. It’s important to have a small group of allies that are respected in the group and will go out and champion the change you’re trying to deliver. People have twice as much trust in “someone like me” than they do in their CEOs and other leaders, so it’s vital that your change is being promoted by team members that have a less hierarchical relationship with their colleagues.
This group should understand the benefits of the technology you’re implementing as well as you do — but more important is their ability to influence the team at a “friendly colleague” level. You’ll need people who can network sideways through the organization and have fantastic communication skills.
Plus, they’ll be your eyes and ears in the office and can communicate any dissatisfaction, lack of understanding, or confusion that’s developing in your team, meaning you can tweak or enhance your rollout plans accordingly.
To win here, the way you train your team on the new technology has to be engaging, fast-paced, and personalized. One common mistake is to do things the traditional way, getting everyone in a room so you can talk to them or setting basic online courses that end up being an exercise to check off boxes to prove you’ve finished.
Workplace training will become more personalized over the coming years and 94% of companies think this shift is critical to their current and future success. With that in mind, try tailoring training to the preferences of individuals or groups. Not everyone benefits from learning in the same way and any personalization you can bring to the training process will have some benefit.
People who are tech-savvy won’t need — and will become disengaged by — a course that tells them what they already know, while others might need more sessions and a more gradual learning process. Finding out what type of training your team wants is something you can do at the start of the process when setting out your vision.
Change has to feel like something everyone is invested in, rather than something they feel is being pushed on them from above. The more you can make your team active participants in change, rather than just recipients, the better you’ll be able to drive through any barriers in your way. Want more ideas on how to manage change? Join our webinar series to hear Salesforce Architects reveal secrets for making your company’s implementation successful.
Joan Yanabu is head of AMER Customer Success & Adoption focused on helping Salesforce customers adopt our technology, educate them on our services and how to access help at every phase of their journey. A member of the Salesforce Ohana for 10 years, she also has worked at Dell, Williams-Sonoma and Digitas.