Supporting Your Project Team Through a Change

Last month we talked about 3 ways to prepare your project team prior to a change:

  • Host a lessons learned roundtable
  • Include them in the product/workflow assessment
  • Know where they want to go with their professional development

Preparations were made, and now it is GO TIME!

Imagine that your change project is in flight, and your project team is busy working on implementation planning and strategy to help the rest of the team succeed at the time of deployment. While they are busy with a laser focus on end user experience, you’ll be well-served by slowing down just a bit to make sure to nurture their experience with the change.

Even with a project team that is fully brought into the “why” behind your project, there will still be an adjustment period. Change is hard work. Read on for a few of our favorite ideas to help your team put on their own “oxygen masks” before helping others.

Train ‘em Up!

Have you ever admitted something to a close friend that you wouldn’t want to admit to your family? For sure, right? We’ve been there, too. And when it comes to our work family, it isn’t all that different.

Your work family (project team) might not be willing to share their gaps in knowledge around the new product or workflow you are about to deploy. Protect them from having to be super brave and admit it by making sure that they are afforded learning time and resource support to boost their knowledge and confidence. Maybe even frame it up as an exercise in “thinking like a newbie end user” if you think egos might be at play.

Provide a Safe Space to Vent

If the road to change is too smooth, we are probably missing something. Give your team space to look around and identify opportunities for improvement, describe what they need in terms of assistance, and give them room to vent a bit about the whole process. There are lots of resources to help you learn more about the value of the broader concept of psychological safety – with this one being one of our favorites.

Remind the Team of the (Inspiring) Mission

When your project team is in deep with a resistant executive, an unexpected timeline delay, or yet another competing internal project  – help keep them moving forward by reminding them of the mission you are mutually striving to achieve.

Gratitude

Love, love, love. Find out how your team likes to be recognized on an individual level and deliver! A special lunch for those that like treats, a shout out in a leadership meeting for those that thrive on public recognition, a chance to present to VIPs for those who want professional development opportunities, etc. Go, go, go!

Your project team probably feels like part of your family, so let’s give them your best! Support your team and treat them well because it goes a long way to assuring a successful project.

Best Kept Secrets of Change Management: Investing in Training

Training, as you probably know already, is a big deal! So big, in fact, we’ve split it into two separate blog posts, catch our last post on “sticky” learning plans here.

Today we want to focus on why you should invest in training, while inspiring your team to actually take the training. Because as the old saying goes, before you can teach a person to fish, they need to know the importance of eating!

Even Olympians Have Coaches

We often find that users are enthusiastic and excited to sign up for training and attend, as long as they are given the opportunity to do so. Unfortunately, if users aren’t given the opportunity to sign up for training, we often see less enthusiasm around training.

All joking aside, the resistance to training in many organizations is not due to the attitudes or behaviors of end users. The big hurdle to offering training is usually getting the right project leaders and convincing those with the keys to the budget that training is worth the up-front investment and ought to be offered in the first place.

Many decision-makers employ the logic that because you have hired a strong team, they should be able to figure it out on their own. Indeed, some users probably would be just fine with this unguided approach.

However, we’d like you to consider the fact that even Olympians have coaches. Similarly, even the best and brightest on your team can and will perform at a higher level if given the appropriate support and motivation to keep growing.

With tight budgets, it’s not uncommon for the decision makers in your organization to have to stretch your dollars – we get it. Since so many of the new tech tools are designed to be intuitive (it’s one of our favorite selling points of G Suite) it can be easy to think that a simple way to hit that budget is to skimp on training.

But by omitting training, many of the most efficient features of new technologies will go unnoticed and underutilized because users aren’t provided with early support.

Chances are that at least once in your professional life you have had to learn a new technology, only to find out weeks or months later about key features that would have been great to know about back at the start! It’s such a bummer to think about the minutes (or hours) you could have saved if only there would have been the right learning opportunities for you at the right time!

Getting Buy-in

So, how do you get training for the team to be seen as a necessary part of your tech launch? It all comes back to winning over your stakeholders.

If they are metrics-minded, consider sharing stats about the value of offering training as part of your change management approach, leveraging articles like this piece from Raconteur (page 6). If the decision maker is swayed more on emotion, try sharing one of your own stories of success relating to training that links closely to the technology you are intending to launch. You may need to go the distance and approach getting buy-in from a variety of angles; just keep reminding yourself that the energy you invest now to get training in place will pay huge dividends!

The other part of getting buy-in is making sure end users take advantage of the training that you have worked so hard to provide! We could write pages on this topic alone, but a couple of our favorite hints are:

  • Tell the team WHY the change is happening in a way that focuses on what’s in it for them
  • Don’t just say it once
  • Don’t just say it one way  

The more you can appeal to the various personalities on the team and focus on the value of leveraging the learning opportunities, the higher your attendance and adoption rates will be.

Will mastering this new technology help the team provide faster service to your clients? Tell them about it!

Will leveraging a certain feature set of the new tool save them headaches in their day-to-day work life? Don’t keep it a secret!

Speaking of secrets, we’d love to hear from you! Got a best practice or hint on how you’ve succeeded in getting your organization’s “Olympians” the right coaching? Comment below!

Best Kept Secrets of Change Management: Designing “Sticky” Learning Plans

You’ve got a new technology that you know will be fantastic for your organization. Now the hard work begins. You have to get your users to actually adopt the new tool(s) and integrate a new way of working into their current, comfortable day-to-day routine.

To get your users to take the leap, you’ll want to invest some time and energy into creating a thoughtful learning plan. Keep reading for a few of our hints on how to take the stress out of putting your learning plan into motion!

A Change Workout Plan – Beginning with the End

Our last post on change management focused on User Groups and the idea that a “one size fits all” approach can be risky. When it comes to deploying training, the message really is no different.

As you think of the user groups who will engage with the new technology, imagine what success with their new workflow should look like a few months post-deployment.  With the end goal in mind, take a moment now to rewind in your mind to how these users are working today.

Are we talking a subtle and easy-to-digest change or are we talking a mammoth marathon-type endeavor? Who are the users who will have the biggest disruption and what resistance might be in place? With answers to these questions, you will be better able to prescribe the right types of exercises to get your users fit for the task of changing!

Walk in the Park or Marathon Training?

Just like your fitness goals, when it comes to considering learning plans, you want to design a workout that will get you across the finish line as sensibly as possible. Generally, there isn’t just one type of exercise or learning event that will be the ticket; we usually need to offer a blend of possibilities for users to get in shape for the transition.

Consider your unique users as you determine the right mix of in-person versus virtual learning events. While many users prefer an in-person approach, a quality virtual learning session will generally give the learner the same core takeaways (while keeping your budget in check).

Another consideration is to look at the technology in terms of digestibility. Will bite-sized feature overviews be more palatable or would giving users a longer dose of holistic learning create a more pleasant experience?

Finally, do be sure to consider whether the users will be most motivated to “show up” for mandated training sessions or “choose their own adventure” with self-paced and/or self-selected options.

Ready, Set, Go

To get users ready for a change, be sure to provide them with the more in-depth and comprehensive learning events prior to the launch of the new technology. Change comes with a dose of anxiety for many, and one of the best ways to boost the confidence of the team is to equip them with tools to succeed up front!

Once users know the basics from your initial training, you can shift your approach a bit and get creative after the “go live” of the new tech. How about offering a “question and answer call line” or a peer panel to show off a department’s success with the change? Could you generate interest in some peer-to-peer shadowing and best practice idea swaps?

They key is to realize that while we often will continue to offer some traditional learning opportunities, there is some wiggle room for you to find other fun ways to get your users to dig a bit deeper!

You’ll really get the change to be “sticky” with your users when you continue to feed them with learning opportunities in the weeks and months that follow the change.  Not everyone may have been ready to really embrace the new tools during their first encounter with training, but in the weeks following a “go live” you’ll have some users who will finally realize that the new technology is here to stay. They’ll realize it’s time to get on board and will now be looking for learning opportunities to help them get started.

You’ll likely have another subset of users who have been sticking to the plan all along (ROCK STARS) who are now itching to take their learning to “pro” status. Let’s not miss the chance to feed into the appetite of those hungry learners. Rock stars deserve your attention too!

Celebrate Success

We’d love to hear about some of your successful learning plans! Let us know your winning moments in the comments section below.

Best Kept Secrets of Change Management: Internal Project Marketing

What comes to mind when you think of internal marketing for a change project?

It may be a simple answer for you, or something that doesn’t change much from customer to customer or project to project. But should it? What is stopping you from adapting your marketing strategies to each individual project and different groups of users?

These aren’t the memes you’re looking for…

It can be easy to market to groups you know. Let’s say you work in IT. Working on creating a marketing plan for your colleagues seems easy: just hang a poster with a meme above the coffee maker referencing the upcoming change and you’re done!

While that might be effective for some projects, and it even might be enough to market a change to the IT team, we can all agree it probably will not be effective for all of your projects and definitely won’t work for all end users.

Oftentimes you’ll be in charge of marketing a change to your entire company. Your “customers” in this case are not just the IT team, and one-size won’t fit all when it comes to marketing.

You might be throwing your hands up in frustration at this point. Your day is already filled with creating communications and trainings. And now adding marketing to that is going to be difficult as well? Before you give up and hang that meme throughout your entire office, reach back into your memory and recall some of our previous blog topics. You probably have already identified User Groups. And you’ve spent time building your “Circle of Trust”. Let’s leverage both here to get a leg up on our marketing strategy.

User Groups

User groups might seem like an odd place to start your marketing strategy, but bear with me. Your user groups can often give you a lens on what might be the most effective marketing tool in your tool bag.

  • Do you have a large sales group who only access their email on their mobile devices? Make sure any posters you hang highlight mobile-friendly features!
  • Do you have a large subset of manufacturing users who rarely (if ever) check emails? Find a way to integrate marketing into digital displays in their break rooms (see more here).
  • What about hourly customer service workers who work irregular shifts? Make sure their desks have proper desk-drops that highlight when the change is happening and what they need to do to prepare.

All of this sounds much easier once you have those user groups identified, right?

Circles of Trust

If you haven’t read our post on Circles of Trust, start working now to cultivate those relationships. If you’ve already read it, now may be the time to engage their assistance!

Maybe you’ve spent the past 6 months attending Toastmasters with the marketing team, and you even brought donuts for the bi-weekly meetings. Now is the time to ask for their help to create posters!

You joined the sales bowling league even though you don’t think bowling shoes look good on you? Ask those sales reps for their help in talking about the change in their regional team meetings!

You’ve been eating lunch with the HR team even though none of them are interested in your Bitcoin portfolio? That’s okay, because they are going to help you make sure you are following the guidelines for hanging posters across the entire campus.

Without those relationships, you may not have known where to start.

Wrapping up

Every project will look different, and every company will have different marketing “toolkits” at the ready. Whether it’s instant message blasts to all employees, posters in the bathrooms, a CEO vlog series, or anything else, the key for you is to find the most effective way to reach the biggest audience before the change occurs.

Feel free to let us know in the comments below what has worked in the past, or even what you’ll try in the future!

Best Kept Secrets of Change Management: Define User Groups, AKA Seeing the Forest AND the Trees

By Nick Bathke

You’ve successfully created your Circle of Trust and you’ve navigated the dangerous waters of Executive Sponsorship, so what’s next? Let’s talk User Groups.

You can go into a project with the best communications plan, a great training series, and an effective marketing campaign and still find that some users are hesitant to embrace change or may be openly hostile about the change. What gives?

One thing you may not have considered is User Groups–including how to properly define them, and then tailor the communications, training, and marketing to them. Let’s walk through it together!

Forest, meet trees

Wise people will often say “don’t lose sight of the forest for the trees,” but in this case, we will encourage you to ignore that completely. Instead, we want you to lose sight of the forest and focus in on the trees. What does that mean?

Don’t assume you can lump all users into one group and communicate, train, and market to them as one. Each user group is a tree that we want to identify and define. If you’ve read this far, you’ve likely already started to think about user groups within your organization. If you haven’t, check out the list below to get you started:

  • Executives
  • Executive assistants/admins
  • Sales
  • Customer Service
  • Marketing
  • Manufacturing
  • HR

Easy enough, right? At this point, you can layer on more variables to further narrow down user groups. Does your organization have multiple locations? Do those locations sit in separate time zones? Are there multiple languages within your locations? You can see that quickly these questions can add up, but their importance cannot be understated!

What did we miss?

Why does it matter if you’ve defined these groups? Let’s run through a simple example to illustrate the importance of user groups.

You are in charge of change management for a new email system at a company with 400 users. Your plan includes a robust communications plan for end users, such as emails and digital signage. You’ve scheduled enough trainings over a large period of time to cover all users, and you worked with marketing to blanket the campus with posters and desk-drops.

But, the Customer Service team uses a special plug-in for their email that no other users need, and it’s imperative to their day-to-day jobs. No communications mention if it will be available in the new email system, and your trainers aren’t aware of how to use or install it. And, even though there are posters throughout the Customer Service area, none of them mention this vital plug-in.

You can probably guess the ramifications of this, right? The Customer Service team is confused (at best) or hostile (at worst) in the lead up to the email change. Even if you react to this quickly, the Customer Service team will still be wary of the change because a core piece of their workflow was ignored.

What’s the lesson? Taking the time up front to identify the user groups will save you headaches and heartaches once the change is underway!

There are many pitfalls in a change project, and you’ve probably encountered a few in your past projects. But we often find that many pitfalls link back to not properly identifying a user group up front. Once you have defined your user groups you can figure out if they have unique needs and avoid the project-stopping plug-in situation from above.

Have you gone through this exercise before? Any big successes or pitfalls you learned from? Let us know in the comments below how you work to define your user groups, we’d love to hear from you!

Best Kept Secrets of Change Management: How to Avoid the Loch Ness Monster of Executive Sponsorship

By Sarah Gasparick

Chances are that you’ve heard it before: you need to get Executive Sponsorship secured with a project early on to help it succeed.

It’s good advice. In theory, it’s so simple. In practice, it is often an uphill battle. Getting the Executive Sponsor (or sponsors) to actually be active and visible can end up being more like sightings of the Loch Ness Monster. There may be rumors and a few witness sightings of the elusive sponsor, but the bulk of users are left alone in the foggy wilderness with no clear footsteps to follow.

It is not uncommon to launch a project and experience a “honeymoon” phase with Executive Sponsorship. You think you have the commitment and buy-in you need from leadership. Everyone shakes hands and smiles. Initial phases of the project get rolling and everything is just rosy.

Then the honeymoon is over and there’s a battle on the home front over who needs to do the dishes – er, I mean – there is a battle over who needs to deal with a difficult project decision. As you look over to the head of the table all you see is an empty chair. Your email requests go unanswered. Even your strongest supporters within the project team start to waver. The fog begins to set in…

Leaving footprints and maps

Where did things go wrong? While there may not be just one right answer here, we invite you to ponder the idea that if you didn’t take time to invest in “marriage counseling” before the wedding – that might be the issue.

In the pre-launch of a project, it is a smart idea to set clear expectations with the Executive Sponsor so that you can clarify that you’re not just looking for a figurehead to invest 15 minutes signing a letter or making quick remarks of support in one meeting. If you are looking for well-rounded sponsorship, you need to spell it out and gain agreement up front.

Not sure just what to ask for from your sponsor? Map it out!

Think about the activities that they could participate in that would yield the greatest exposure and inspiration to end users and compel them to adopt the new tools. Consider the timing and time investment required on their end, and do what you can to make your request easy for them to digest and achieve.

Depending on your organization footprint, you may need to get creative and have the sponsor create a short video to incorporate into marketing, versus asking them to attend 10 onsite manager meetings. Asking them to sign off on all of the communications for the project would be unreasonable, but perhaps they can send the company-wide announcement at the launch of the project.

The key is to make sure that there is ample presence from the sponsor so that end users will know with confidence that they are walking on the right path as they invest their time and energy in acclimating to their new resources.

Avoid a “Nessie” project! Get your Executive Sponsor the exposure that the team deserves and you’ll be one step closer to happily ever after.

Best Kept Secrets of Change Management: Build “Circles of Trust”

By Sarah Gasparick

It’s easy to explain the value of some of the classic aspects of change management – like providing timely learning opportunities for end users, or making sure to design a communications campaign. When we dig a bit deeper into change management best practices, pinpointing some of the magic behind the “secret sauce” becomes a bit harder to articulate – but we don’t like to shy away from a challenge so let’s give it a go!

Regardless of your job title, when it comes to assisting with change management efforts for a project one of the best things you can do is to leverage your “Circles of Trust.” What? Yeah, you read that right – “Circles of Trust.” We’re talking about the people in your sphere of influence who you’ve been developing strong relationships with long before this project was conceived.

People in your “Circle of Trust” will instinctively want you (and your initiatives) to succeed. Also, they should be honest with you about barriers they see to your path to success that may not be on your radar (i.e. they are willing to tell you if you have broccoli in your teeth).

Be a friend to make a friend

Ideally, every interaction you have with colleagues can be leveraged as an opportunity to build your “Circle of Trust.” Trust often takes time to grow, so we aim to nurture that trust every chance we get – whether that means holding the elevator, sharing a news article, or volunteering some of your talent to assist someone else with one of their initiatives.

Sounds lovely but maybe you’re frantically busy? Or maybe you’re really introverted and it sounds intimidating to dive deep into relationship-building? Hey, that’s okay! Realistically, we all have constraints on our time and energy for relationship and trust building, so we’ll let you in on our little secret: it is okay to be intentional about who to target for your “Circle of Trust.” Sketch out potential projects that are in the hopper for the next 6-12 months and ask yourself who you need to win over to “your side” for those projects to succeed.

Now that you have a few names (or departments) identified, dig into the real work of trust building by paying it forward. Ask yourself what you can do to help them win in their work in the next few months, then begin to engage them in conversations to see how you might be of assistance.

This doesn’t have to mean devoting hours of your week to your new buddy. Instead, consider some of the small ways you might be able to make a difference. Perhaps you can offer to give them feedback on a rough draft, test a workflow on a few members of your team, or offer to give them a warm introduction to a connection of yours who can help them reach their goal. Model for them what you hope they can do for you in the upcoming months, realizing that your seeds of friendship have just been planted, so we shouldn’t expect to see a favor in return right away.

Bringing your “Circle of Trust” full circle

One of our favorite examples of someone who had clearly made investments in building his “Circle of Trust” came from an IT Systems Analyst we partnered with a couple of years ago when his organization made the move to G Suite. As a member of the project team, this gentleman had been fairly quiet with us as a partner. However, when we met him onsite we were able to see him work his magic. When one particular VIP user was getting rather frustrated with learning the new tools, he quickly intervened to offer her 1:1 support time later on in the day after she had time to review some learning materials on her own.

In a flash, her mood turned around – his offer of support took her from frantic to feeling heard and supported. It was evident that he knew enough about her to know (and not guess) that this would be exactly what she needed, and she trusted his offer because she trusted him. She got to win, and he got to win in this scenario that could have been a real mess.

Whether it is spur-of-the-moment responsiveness, or strategic leveraging of your trusted relationships – the more you lean into your “Circle of Trust,” the more you’ll win when it comes to change management.

We’d love to hear your upcoming plans to build and maintain your sphere of influence. Share your favorite ideas in the comments section below!

3 Reasons Why You Should Choose a Google Partner Instead of Going Direct to Google

In your company’s transition to Google for Work, you may wonder whether it makes sense to go through a Google partner, or go direct to Google.

What’s the difference, and what are the benefits?

Google for Work provides amazing products for an all-encompassing business solution. Their product suite has many solutions from email, collaboration, word processor, video chats, storage, intranet builder… and more.

But you already know that.

Think of going direct to Google as going to an auto parts store. You know your car. You know how to do the instillation yourself and you have the time. 

Going with a Google Partner is like going to a mechanic. You get services to make sure everything runs properly and you won’t stall out on the highway. Google partners provide clear and knowledgeable guidance with support from start to finish while implementing these tools for you.

Many businesses enjoy the benefits of working with a partner for an easy transition and to have Google product experts foresee situations for them and provide solutions to ongoing business challenges.

So, here are 3 things (among many others) you can get from a Google for Work Partner that you can’t get if you go direct to Google:

Develop a Custom Strategy

Google for Work Partners bring Google into your business in an efficient and knowledgeable way, from strategy, rollout, deployment, training, change management,  and onward.

Before making changes, partners assess where your company is and where you want it to go.

It’s a tailored approach to make sure each Google product fits well with your business goals and your teams can adapt.

If you need a custom solution, some partners are experts in developing scalable products on Google Cloud Platform. Application developers guarantee that your company isn’t forced into a mold.

Your partner team will guide you through recommended Google products as well as suggested custom alterations. Once a strategy and product suite is settled upon, you’re guided through a seamless purchasing process. Google Partners handle all of the logistics, allowing you to focus on managing a single account.

Working without a Google for Work Partner, your business is left with a one-size-fits-all solution. Though Google for Work products are versatile, companies benefit immensely from customized solutions that maximize ROI and productivity.

Migration, Deployment, and Change Management

Choosing to migrate your company to Google for Work on your own can be time consuming and interrupt flow of business.

Using a Google for Work Partner allows you to focus on work while they handle migration and deployment. With decades of experience, a partner team understands the requirements of each legacy system. They can deploy new products and seamlessly migrate your data with little to no impact on workflow.

Change management professionals are vital to the success of any major transition in a company. A lack of support and education can cause even positive changes to stall.

Your partner team will closely examine the organization, judging previous change patterns, methods that were successful, number of users, and the company’s needs. An implementation strategy is then tailored to fit the specific business.

Preparing users for the transition and determining an efficient and realistic timeline are a large part of successful implementation: downtime and redundancy are reduced while productivity increases.

Your partner team will conduct a series of trainings to ensure employees feel confident moving forward with a new system. Basic trainings cover the transition process and how to use new products.

Additional sessions are available to encourage user engagement. They’re conducted on site or remotely. A benefit of using Google for Work Partners is that every training is fitted to the client. Surveys are distributed and analyzed to determine the level of user confidence and the location of knowledge gaps.

As a result, employees feel heard, their concerns are addressed, and user engagement is heightened.

Internal marketing and communications trainings are conducted between Google for Work Partners and internal marketing teams.

Your change manager will discuss techniques to increase enthusiasm among employees adopting new platforms. Internal teams will be guided in communicating useful and energizing information throughout your company, enhancing adoption and engagement.

Maintain Support

After Google for Work has been deployed, your Google for Work Partner team remains with you each step of the way.

Account administrators are assigned to your company, ensuring ongoing technical support. Especially in the early days of a new system implementation, existing IT departments and account admins can feel overwhelmed by big changes.

Working with a partner removes that.

If you work alone, in-house technical support can inadvertently slow things down. By using a highly experienced team to complement your on-site support, both the transition and ongoing use of new platforms are made easier.

Ongoing trainings are also available to companies that use a Google for Work Partner. These cover a range of topics and are tailored to fit your business needs. Project management and coordination meetings are conducted at regular intervals. Each meeting addresses whether target timelines and objectives are being met.

Additional trainings can include case development. Every development training is designed for your particular company and its needs. Workflow requirements and business scenarios specific to your enterprise are addressed.

Your partner team will discuss how to streamline work and increase productivity in your field, leveraging Google for Work’s specific capabilities for your company.

Ongoing webinars and events keep your team informed of changes, updates, and helpful hints to maximize Google for Work’s applications.

Newsletters are also distributed frequently, containing tricks for better productivity with Google systems. If you find that your teams need further training in a particular area, your premier partner will create a custom 30-60 minute training session to be conducted remotely or in person. You can issue brief quizzes before and after each training session, assessing the effectiveness of each meeting. Additional trainings can be designed around continued knowledge gaps, and materials can be further tailored to your specific employee base. By providing your team with the tools needed to succeed, productivity and ROI increase.

Conclusion

Google for Work is a comprehensive and versatile suite of products that make the most of speed and efficiency in the cloud.

Optimize your investment in these products by using a Google for Work Partner. With support from start to finish, these experts provide amazing insight, support, strategy, and knowledge throughout the entire process.

Going directly with Google can be a good solution for some small businesses who feel confidant doing a technical deployment. But for most mid to large sized companies, product experts are required to guarantee a smooth transition.  

Work Change Management with Google Apps

Work Change management (CM) can ultimately allow teams to collaborate and work more effectively through organizational transitions. It provides context and training to be more effective in everyday work using a new tool. Too often companies skip change management, leaving employees in fear of the very resource provided to help them.

Understanding the tools you’re using

I once saw someone driving an Audi R8 a full 15 mph under the speed limit. I was almost angry as I passed it on the freeway. That car tops out around 195 mph and can reach 60 in under 4 seconds.

You don’t have to be a car lover to appreciate the concept that they were not using the car the way it was designed. If they wanted to drive carefully, remaining under the speed limit, they wasted their money. They bought a car that was designed for pushing the limits.

CM makes sure that once you upgrade to a supercar, you don’t continue driving like you did with your old Buick LeSabre (no offense to any Buick aficionados – I know a heckuva guy who swears by his LeSabre.)

Of course CM is much more than this. Agosto has a specialized CM team based out of our Minneapolis headquarters that offers planning and implementation to companies across Canada and the U.S. We help organizations reduce transitional risks across the enterprise.

“70% of organizational changes fail due to inadequate change support.”

— John Kotter, as featured in the Harvard Business Review

Our CM specialists specifically help companies to understand the benefits of using Google Apps (or Google Drive) for Work. These specialists enable teams and/or designated end users to gain the knowledge and skills to quickly use Google Apps the way it was designed. This also ensures users truly adopt Google Apps as a tool that helps them to do their jobs better.

Ensure organizational readiness

There are two typical paths that employees take after an organizational change that can indicate the future success or failure of the change.

(1) With change management, employees are empowered to go down a path of:

  • Adoption
  • Internalization
  • Ownership
  • Increased skills
  • Expertise

(2) Without change management, employees are more likely to go down a path toward:

  • Confusion
  • Discomfort
  • Fear
  • Reversion to previous habits/tools
  • Self/group sabotage

Further, if employees are not willing or able to use the tool after the implementation, then there is no return on investment. It’s likely too expensive to overlook change management during a transition that affects a large number of (or all) employees.

Ensure your ROI with a cost/benefit analysis

For many companies, it costs more to not use change management.

Using CM

Hard benefits include reduced expenses with licenses, infrastructure, and maintenance.

Soft benefits include year-over-year increased productivity, reduced rework, and less redundancy due to increased collaboration.

Not using CM

Hard costs include licenses, additional deployment teams, and increased internal team hours.

Soft costs include project rework, project delays, lost productivity, and morale dip.

If you need a hand getting started with the organizational change management toward adopting Google Apps for Work or Google Drive for Work, give us a shout.

What’s one time you found yourself using tools more like an aging Buick than a new Audi?

3 Collaboration Problems Every Company Faces

From project conception to completion, collaboration is the key to success for any business. Every company and team face its own challenges to achieve effective collaboration.

Technology has redefined how we collaborate, and the ever-growing marketplace shows countless applications for every use case possible. But the same core problems persist from a 15-person startup to a Fortune 100 company. Here are some of the common challenges faced by all:

1. Difficulty finding the right information

It can be a lot easier to find the hole-in-the-wall Italian bistro you visited 11 months ago than it is to find a spreadsheet from accounting from 11 months ago. People spend a considerable amount of their work day finding information, files, or trying to find the right person to talk to. Having a static intranet or email solution isn’t always the answer.  

An org chart looks good on paper, but in reality the department head cannot realistically be a CTO and COA (Chief of Answers). Knowledge is as diversified as tasks are. It takes time to find the right person to talk to, and to find the data that person sent you a while ago.

Solution:

Find a solution that allows you to search your file storage and email in the same search bar. Also be sure you’re able to search by person, date, or file type to find what you need fast. Collaborative solutions need to get you to the right person or file as soon as possible.

2. Siloed information and communication between departments

People tend to communicate with their peers in their own departments. By its natural course, information is siloed by department and by team. The expertise that comes from each department can be leveraged by other teams within the company, and each team could be significantly more effective as a result.

“If HP only knew what HP knows, we would be three times more profitable.” – Lew Platt, former chief executive of Hewlett-Packard.

Solution:

This issue is a human tendency rather than a technological one. With collaborative systems making it easy to connect with anyone, there’s no excuse for not cross-collaborating. The fix is in creating a collaborative culture to support employees sharing their knowledge and research with other team members.

3. Difficulty adapting to new systems

When people don’t fully know the capabilities of their system it leads to ineffective employees and less productivity. This most frequently happens for new employees as they transition, and even happens company-wide when a company transitions to any new communication tools, processes, or systems.

Change is difficult when people do not feel comfortable. During the change process, some might not feel like they’re properly equipped, or might just be intimidated by the changes around them.

Solution:

Change management is strongly correlated with project success. Fostering an environment where people feel comfortable to learn is key.

  • Many studies show a significantly higher ROI for projects with change management
  • Others show a strong correlation between change management effectiveness and meeting project objectives, staying on schedule and staying on budget.
  • Still others find that leadership, employee engagement, and communications are prerequisites for successful changes.

Every company faces its own challenges. If any of these 3 common challenges are evident in your company, take action.

What is the biggest communication or collaboration mishap you’ve seen?