By Zara Stone
The struggle is real; you’ve invested in some great new software but found that company adoption is sluggish. It doesn’t make any sense—this tool is the perfect problem-solver for all the complaints you’ve had. “Any process where you’re trying to bring about change is complex,” said Rebecca Yoder, a global partner solutions director at DocuSign during her panel at the Dreamforce 2018 conference.
She gave the example of The Golden Circle, a TED talk by Simon Sinek in 2009. He focused on the belief and value system that drives people to do things. “It’s transformational about how you get people to listen, adopt and care,” she said. She used this to help build the six principles of successful change management. Follow these steps to help with a smooth iteration.
Step One: Define the Why
Yoder emphasized that it’s essential to define the reasons you are rolling out a change to your team. “The why will be different for each stakeholder,” she said. For example, you are updating your contract software. A sales team’s priority is speed, and getting their contracts out quickly so they can book revenue, whereas a legal department wants to understand where the contracts are and what they include so they can mitigate risk. “You need to understand what’s important to them and define that why,” she said.
Step Two: Be Transparent About the Change
“Change is hard if you don’t [understand] the intentions [behind it],” Yoder said. By letting people know what’s coming and why, you can establish engagement with employees who will be using the product. Let them ask questions and have their opinion heard. “If people have their voice in for the whole process, they’re much more likely to be engaged and use it,” she said. “You’re not only [implementing] a change, but saying ‘I hear you,’ and that’s important to them.”
Step Three: Train, Train and Re-Train
“Training is an effective way to for people to use the tech you’re implementing,” she said. Keep channels of communication open so you get clear feedback on what’s working and what’s not, and remember that it’s an ongoing process; you’ll need to continually modify the lessons. “It’s not a one and done thing,” she said. “You need to circle back, they heard maybe half of what they were trained on.” She suggested using human experts—virtually, or in person — to conduct the training. “You will need repetitive feedback, and people who can recognize and accommodate different learning styles.”
Step Four: Frame the Story
To increase adoption from all parts of the company, it’s important to provide people with a clear roadmap. Emphasize that this won’t be an overnight change and that it may take three months, three years, etc., so people understand what they’re embarking on. And it’s important to address the problem this is solving. “Explain what the new tech addresses, whether it’s controlling costs or consolidating systems, and how it affects the bottom line,” she said. “You can also discuss how it’s part of a bigger vision for the company’s technology roadmap; people find this makes sense and can move forward.”
Step Five: Leverage the Data
Keeping track of your metrics is integral to the success of your rollout. “You want to see what people are doing. How much faster are we pulling in revenue. Are we seeing bottlenecks?” she said. “Leverage the data to figure out what’s important to you, and what you’re driving towards.” She recommended setting a baseline before you start, so you can measure your progress against it. It seems simple, but many people forget this step, she warned.
Step Six: Build and Maintain Governance
Nothing should happen in a silo when you’re making a company-wide change. Yoder recommended building a steering committee out of leaders that hold budgets and make key company decisions and having them meet every six weeks or so to provide feedback and advice. “I always got something I wasn’t anticipating from these meetings,” she said.
Then there should be an operational committee, made from company leaders who can incentivize people to take training and adopt new tools. This group should meet every two to four weeks. “They know the benefits,” she said. “They’re going to get recognition for their work, and speed and visibility for their projects.”
Finally, you want to build a group of super users — they’re the voice on the ground of what’s working well. “They can also serve as trainers, which gives them a chance to grow in their career,” she said. It can take time to corral these different groups, but once established, they’re integral to your success.