This article is part of a week-long look at how technology can improve the way we work, learn, and ultimately live better lives.
Technology transformations can miss the human element. It’s common to go from looking at exciting new features, creating an implementation plan, and, of course, managing costs—all important, but not enough. We must personalize the technology to realize the benefits.
The answers to these questions can determine if a technology transformation will be successful and personalized:
Why did we introduce this new technology in the beginning? How will it improve our business, customer experience, or make life better?
How will we know if this technology is utilized as we expected?
How will we work differently once the technology is in place?
What must our workforce learn or understand to work differently?
Technology Transformation Misses
New technology often misses the original intent in organizations.
Stop hosting the ‘everyone who’s involved’ calls that dilutes essential information and implies that those with multiple interest levels are the same.
Technology Transformation & Leadership Actions
These leadership actions make technology do what it is intended to do:
Relentlessly share why the new technology is essential.
The business case is determined before the decision is made. Don’t stop there. Keep the intent and purpose visible. Many leaders assume everyone else knows what they know. So, it’s easy to fall into the trap of “we shared the plan three months ago; they understand it.” The purpose must be shared again and again, which keeps the quest alive to realize the benefits.
Be upfront about short-term challenges.
Most new technologies create frustrations and potentially even more significant challenges once introduced. Expect it and openly share what to expect. Better to say, “It will take a few weeks to learn how to connect with customers seamlessly – but we’ll take the time to be sure you’re comfortable.” This transparency can prevent resistance and change fatigue.
Dashboard the metrics and share them with everyone.
Keep the ROI measures visible, so no one forgets, and you have a continuous view of progress. Go beyond obvious metrics, such as usage or issue resolution time, and personalize your metrics. Use pulse surveys that gather reactions or create an informal feedback loop of internal “shoppers” that show how employees use the new technology.
Segment who is impacted and how.
Determine user groups or stakeholders and how they will use the new technology in their work. This simple analysis creates a roadmap for those who need an FYI, others that need effective communications, and those who need education on using the technology. Stop hosting the ‘everyone who’s involved’ calls that dilutes essential information and implies that those with multiple interest levels are the same.
Plan for learning that needs attention.
Even when technology is intuitive or perfect for self-study, you may need a plan to educate the workforce. Effective education goes beyond a review of features and explores how to use technology as intended. Share how it may change a process or how you collaborate with co-workers. Education is essential for shifting from “what it is” to “how you will use it.” This connection creates a direct link to your ROI.
Resistance can be frustrating for most leaders. Yet, bring resistance inside the tent. Listen well. Determine if there are legitimate challenges to a work process, an educational need, or just a cultural roadblock of “that’s not how we do it.” Likewise, we all work with the permanent resistors who must be convinced before they sign up. Rather than avoid resistance – embrace it. You will benefit significantly from fully understanding the reasons behind it.
Champion agile planning.
Agile is the word of the year for 2020 and is crucial for the introduction of new technology. Have a thorough plan with a continuous feedback loop, incorporate new learnings, and adapt based on ‘just in time’ information. Experiment often. Find the group willing to be an early adopter and share results with others. Test a change in the process to understand the application better. Try and test before everything is finalized and perfect.
According to a McKinsey study, ROI was only 35% when there was no change management in technology implementations. The personalization of technology and understanding the change impact is how you get the outcomes you want. Personalization ensures that you put your energy into who will use it and how it will impact their work.