Change: not the tech, but the people!
I just started reading the fantastic "Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard", and it's making me think about how I've managed change at the organizations I've been part of. I lean towards presenting facts, rational arguments, and a use little bit of bribery (candy, booze, etc). That's just who I am - a pretty rational, thoughtful guy, who, if presented the facts, will make a decision based on those facts.
Actually, nope. Not true.
Or at least, that's not really who I am, according to the authors, Chip and Dan Heath. I'm also an emotional, irrational, crazy person making decisions based on my gut. One of the important things talked about in the book is this metaphor of the "elephant" and the "rider" - the "rider" is the rational thinking self, theoretically in charge, until the emotional "elephant" starts heading a different way. It's when you align these two things, the elephant and the rider, that change can happen much more easily.
Thinking about big changes that I've been a part of, or that I've rolled out to groups of people at nonprofits, I'm guilty of trying to motivate the rider by presenting logical, rational information, and not really paying attention to the elephant. Thinking about the elephant (emotional, irrational, whimsical), made me realize that I need to appeal to both to really make change effectively. Things I'm planning to do differently:
- Have regular open "share your feelings" sessions where people can express how they feel about the change that's coming/or has already arrived. This may be 1-on-1 in an "office hours" type environment, or in a meeting situation. I will make sure to have snacks at the ready - whether it's at my desk or in a large meeting!
- Give some advanced early adopters cool "expert" badges to motivate everyone to learn a new system
- Create FUN help and training docs. These don't need to be completely dry - you can always create fake data with celebrities or cartoon characters. Anything to lighten it up. It also shows that there's a person lurking underneath all that technical expertise.
Here is a podcast series (Social Innovation Conversations) which has Chip Heath, one of the authors, talking about change as it relates to nonprofits. Hope this helps you in making change at your organization!