What it takes for me to change

I want to share something with you.

I am really stubborn. And I hate change. I like to think that this is what makes me a good Change Manager — I deeply empathise when technology is changing and with the people suffering the impact. It’s tough when all you want to do is come to work and do your job like you do every other day, in the most effective way possible.

I can be happy to do things the same way and know it so well that it all just works well and is satisfying. Unlike trying new things that can be daunting and clunky.

So combine all that with Office 365 and you have technology that constantly enhances and.. Wait for it.. Changes that are ongoing or seeming to never end. Sometimes it hurts my head.

Don’t get me wrong, I am open to new things, at times. But it has to be worth it.

The good old ‘What’s In It For Me’, or ‘WIFM’ needs to be strong and appealing for me.

When it comes to Office 365, I am certainly not one of those people who is always tinkering and staying ahead of the curve testing out all the new features and blogging about what’s coming. It’s not in my nature to spend evenings reading blogs and discussions online. It’s not how I want to spend my free time. My way of being is more so as a realist — tell me when its coming, what it is, how it will work and impact me. And what I will need to do with it. Or what I need to do to help others get across it. I need the features in a heatmap of complexity versus severity to assess how to spend my energy — which bits I can ignore and keep on working my way, and those that will hit me head on that I need to be aware of. Along with the personal impact is also obviously what is coming that is cool and highly beneficial to the organisations I am helping transform.

For people like me, any change has to be worth it. And so how does that happen?

How do we get people like me to change? This super resistant being. The great untouchable.

I like to think about the Carrot and Stick Motivational Theory. This metaphor for the use of reward versus punishment can help us drive users towards the behaviour change with Office 365. With this theory, based on the work of reinforcement by Jeremy Bentham, the stick is tied to the bridle of a mule or donkey with the carrot on a string hanging out in front tempting the animal to move forward to claim its reward. The carrot is just out of reach to keep the animal moving forward but not receiving the reward until the human wants to provide it. In the corporate world the reward is usually in the form of a bonus, promotion, pay rise or just praise. One of the key questions around this principle is what the size of the carrot should be. How big the pay rise or bonus. Too big may seem unobtainable, too small may not be worth the pain.

In the world of Office 365, this principle serves a purpose and can be worth thinking about when you are outlining ways of working and the start/ stop behaviours. However it’s not as clear cut — you cannot just offer money to get people to stop doing things. Imagine if you could actually pay people to stop attaching documents to email and start sharing links. The speed of that progress would be fantastic! I would love a bucket of money and to just floor walk bribing people to stop doing things to drive transformation. But alas, no company yet has offered me an endless bucket of money.

What should we do?

A lot of programs establish a roadmap for the technology enablement, then with that outline the strategy for adoption. With this you then go deeper into the scenarios and use cases to establish new ways of working. All this is great, but what happens a lot is that this is all then turned in to a training program and communication plan. The content for campaigns is high level product benefits and tips that often don’t hit the mark with the user population. We need to take the ways of working and talk to the users in a much more targeted way. Don’t focus on ‘moving the needle’ from an adoption metrics point of view. Think about what is cool and really makes someone’s day better, and then create ways to make them see it. As I said, I want someone to tell me the feature, why I should try it and how its going to blow me away. Not just roll out a new App and set up a training session on click here, click there. Actually establish WIFM that really motivates people, rather than broad statements about benefit that don’t trigger desire or connection.

Make the goal appealing — why should we stubborn folk bother? I see through vague WIFM. I want the goods. If I make the effort to try something I want to be blown away.

Office 365 is a great ecosystem with many products and features that can really improve my work life. It’s a journey and I am aware that along the way features and Apps will pop-up that will require me to move into an uncomfortable phase to try and change. Great campaigns push through the noise of ongoing enhancements and drive my attention to what matters most, tempting me to give it a go and consider a small shift in my daily method.

Know your users and take the time to dangle the right size carrot to maybe, just maybe, blow their minds.


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