With all the products out to help people get more done and work anywhere, there is an often forgotten piece to solving the productivity puzzle. How do I get the team or company to adopt these new tools and get onboard with the change?

Change management is one of the most forgotten and under-appreciated components when implementing new software. It doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming. Change management is about guaranteeing uptake and satisfaction. How do we do this? We get people onboard.

Making a change to a computer, an application or even a phone is easy. We analyse the change, we do it in isolation, we test it and then once we are happy it works, we roll it out. Removing the risk and ensuring successful change, however, is about people. Understanding their needs, their fears and their expectations.

So how do you get people on board with change?

Lead -> communicate -> reduce pain -> mobilize an army

The first step in change which you have probably heard is “be the change you want to see in the world.” This quote by Mahatma Gandhi was not intended for technology change of course, but it still rings true. If you want to get people to accept something new, you should show the way. This means if you are the CEO, General Manager or Team Lead you should be showing people how you are taking on the new ways of working. This MUST come from the top down within an organisation. This leads very well into the second point.

Communicating change should come from the top down. If it is something that will impact the entire organisation, have an all-hands meeting or Microsoft Teams event. Get the CEO on stage to talk about the what, the why and the how. You could even put out a video people can watch in their own time, but it needs to come from the top. If people know why things are changing and how it will impact them they will be more accepting of it.

Reduce the pain, this can come in a few forms. Pain can be fear, fear of the change, not understanding why things are changing or fear the change will impact them in a negative way. Will I still be required once we automate this process? The pain could also people a lack of understanding or training on how to use the new system. Ensuring people know the new process and adequately trained, including giving access to reference materials for later use will provide assurance to people.

Finally, mobilise an army. What do we mean by this? You will always have a group of early adopters, those that can take on change, digest it, learn it and forget the old way of doing things. Make these people your champions. This group of people often spread throughout different teams across the organisation, are the best equipped to show and educate people within their team on how to use the new system or software in the context of the work their colleagues do.

Just remember, keep your people in mind whenever you are looking to make any change to your systems or processes, no matter the size.