How about fitting a square peg in a round hole? Or attracting bees with vinegar?
With these examples, it's obvious that the wrong approach is used. It could be the wrong tool, the wrong strategy or just the wrong idea.
Why do we keep doing it then?
We like our tools. Even if they don't work. We like them because we're used to them and we've learned to work around their shortcomings. Even when our tools have big problems, we tolerate them because at least we know what the problems are.
Alas, it comes a time where we must move on from our old, clunky, comfortable tools to shiny new ones.
Understand it's time for a change
Before we can start looking for a new tool, we should make the case against the old one.
- Focus on the pain points of the tool. Get a list of the tool's shortcomings, and explain them in a way that sounds as neutral as possible.
- Stay away from blaming the people using the tool. We must remember that people like familiarity and making them feel bad about a tool they like is not the best way to bring them over to our side.
- Look forward. By asking people what more they would like from a tool, we can focus them away from the past.
Selling the new tool
When changing from a broken tool to a new tool, selling it right is very important. Knowing our crowd is essential.
- Find a solution that fixes most (if not all) of the pain points. There has to be benefit to the new tool.
- Under promise, over deliver. Buy-in will be faster if the system is better than promised. Not the other way around.
- Involve the end users. Empowering people makes a big difference in getting them to accept the new tool.
Once the tool is in place, we have to keep selling it to our team. If team members feel abandoned when they have questions about the tool, they may start blaming the tool or even stop using it altogether. As the champion for the new tool, it's our responsibility to be there for the people we convinced to adopt it.
- Get feedback. Don't expect people to provide their unsolicited opinion about the tool. Ask for it, and ask for it frequently.
- Own up. If the tool has issues, acknowledge it.
- Fix it. Whatever problems arise should be addressed quickly.
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