When launching a custom software solution in your organization you may find the common aversion to change that we humans typically have. We fear change for different reasons, maybe there is so much change that we feel overwhelmed, or maybe changes have been introduced and then fade away after implementation. Whatever the reason, I’ve learned that almost all change failures are attributed to one of 5 things. Let’s examine each of these and identify how you can be prepared to not only launch your custom software solution with excitement from your end users but also in a way that leads to long-term adoption and growth.
5 Issues That Typically Appear When Introducing Change (and will derail your launch)
There are 5 pieces, ingredients if you will, that typically appear when introducing change in your organization: confusion, anxiety, resistance, frustration, or false starts. Each of these can be attributed to a missing piece within your change management approach and can be intentionally addressed and accounted for. These are also the pieces that impact user adoption of technology. And, without adoption, and integration into the organization, the money you've spent on developing a custom software solution will go to waste. However, if you approach and address the ingredients involved in change, you will successfully launch, integrate, and maximize user adoption when implementing a new technology solution.
The 5 Requirements to Ensure a Successful Launch and Maximize Adoption of a New Technology
Vision [ vizh-uhn ] - a vivid, imaginative conception or anticipation.
Have you and your team ever been introduced to a new software tool and found yourself asking “why?”, “what’s the point in this?” What you’re recollecting is a Change Without Vision (CWV). If you and your team cannot visualize what the future looks like or how it will change due to the implementation of this solution, you are more likely to feel confused as to why the organization is spending its time, energy, and money on this venture. To account for this confusion, a solid vision statement is a key communication tool that gives your team a view of what success looks like after implementation. See your vision statement as a compass to where this change will take the organization, and in turn, each specific person you look to get buy in from.
A change vision statement requires the same ingredients as an organizations vision statement. Sean Peek does a great job in his in-depth guide to creating a successful vision statement in his post here https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/3882-vision-statement.html. The most important takeaways are below:
- Project five to 10 years into the future.
- Dream big, and focus on success.
- Use the present tense.
- Use clear, concise, jargon-free language.
- Infuse it with passion, and make it inspiring.
- Align it with your business values and goals.
- Create a plan to communicate your vision statement to your employees.
- Prepare to commit time and resources to the vision you establish.
Skills [ skil ] - the ability, coming from one's knowledge, practice, aptitude, etc., to do something well.
If you walked up to me today, handed me a basketball, and told me I had to make a half-court shot or I would be fired, you can be assured that there would be a healthy amount of anxiety making its way through my body. The implication of failure is a healthy energizer but if you’re not connecting the vision with the skills necessary to successfully achieve the outcome, you’ll spend more time wondering why no one is stepping up to help. If the adoption of your custom software solution depends on a specific skillset, be sure you highlight that fact and show how you’ll either provide the training to successfully achieve success or give the proper authority to the person who has those skills so they feel confident in moving forward.
Incentives [ in-sen-tiv ] - something that incites action or greater effort, as a reward offered for increased productivity.
As much as we like to believe that our teams will just “do what needs to be done”, the fact is they will question “what’s in it for me?” and that’s a good thing. Identifying how each person will benefit from this change will give fuel to your high achievers and likely surprise you with new faces stepping up to the challenge. Without incentives, you’ll receive resistance and waste time trying to encourage your team to make some moves. Mallow’s Hierarchy of Needs https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow%27s_hierarchy_of_needs need to be kept in mind while working on your incentive explanation. Can the implementation of this custom software solution improve their career opportunities and in turn increase financial security? Would their involvement give them the opportunity to be part of a special group of individuals that scratches the acceptance itch?
Resources [ ree-sawrs ] - a source of supply, support, or aid, especially one that can be readily drawn upon when needed.
If you’ve ever been given a task and have not been supported with adequate time, authority, or training, this leads to a tremendous amount of frustration. Don’t leave your team in a similar predicament. New tools and technology often times requires training and some time to get up to speed. When you are promoting this change, show your team how you’re going to support their adoption. Offer the time and training along with the communication so that they know they will get the necessary aid to successfully adopt this new tool.
Action Plan [ ak-shuhn plan ] - a scheme or method of acting, doing, proceeding, making, etc., developed in advance
You’ve set the vision, clarified the needed skills, identified the incentives, offered the resources, now you must bring it all together into an easy to understand action plan. Even with all of the work you’ve already put into this launch, without an action plan you’ll get false starts. A false start is not only frustrating to everyone involved but also really hits at morale. The momentum and excitement that you’ve built just never seems to get off the ground and it’s hard to recover once that happens. Bring all of prepared information into a step by step guide with timelines and people identified on how we will all roll this software solution out. The easier it is for your team to see themselves in the plan, the more ownership and autonomy they will have to make sure it’s executed.