August 28/September 4: Volume 32, Issue 6
By Wes Dillingham
(First of two parts)
One of the biggest mistakes companies make when buying and implementing software is not approaching it as change first. It’s important to keep in mind that any software you plan to implement at your company is likely to present a major change to the day-to-day routine of your employees.
In other words, if you are implementing any type of software or any other type of change to your company, you need to first recognize it for what it is—not just new software or a new process but a new way of thinking and working.
When you are changing up the routine of your employees and asking them to implement any change that includes but is not limited to a new software program, you are likely going to experience resistance and you can expect your most tenured employees to fight the hardest, even though this may seem counterintuitive. They will also have the most ammunition in their arsenal. All of their experience and history with the company will likely be used to defend their position, especially if they have a proven track record of getting successful results.
According to Nikolay Bulava of Customer Think, the top reasons cited for resisting a CRM software implementation are:
- Fear of change
- Fear of visibility into one’s daily work
- Inconvenience of use
The following is a very simple and logical way to approach change within your organization. There are numerous change management concepts and processes you can Google to learn more, but I have found the “Switch” methodology to be a very simple concept to grasp. This concept comes from Dan and Chip Heath’s New York Times bestseller of the same name. In the book, the authors describe the problem their method helps to solve in the following excerpt: “For things to change, somebody somewhere has to start acting differently. Maybe it’s you, maybe it’s your team…each has an emotional ‘elephant’ side and a rational ‘rider’ side. You’ve got to reach both, and you’ve also got to clear the way or the path for them to succeed. In short, you must do three things to impart the change you want:
- Direct the rider — appeal to the logical side.
- Motivate the elephant — the emotional side.
- Clear the path — the environment around them.”
Jonathan Haidt, a University of Virginia professor who originally proposed the analogy of the rider, elephant and the path in his book, “The Happiness Hypothesis,” describes it this way, “Our emotional side is an elephant and our rational side is its rider. Perched atop the elephant, the rider holds the reins and seems to be the leader. But the rider’s control is precarious because he is so small relative to the elephant. Anytime the six-ton elephant and the rider disagree about which direction to go, the rider is going to lose. He’s completely overmatched.”
In the next installment, I will delve a little deeper into the rider, elephant and path concepts. But in the interim, remember this: The successful adoption of a new software program is 80% preparation and 20% implementation—that’s the golden rule. If you do the pre-work, the actual software itself should be a relatively minor step in the process.
Wes Dillingham is vice president of customer success at The Lead Tool, a Cincinnati-based CRM start-up. You can connect with him directly on LinkedIn or via facebook.com/theleadtool.