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20 Change Management Tips for Adopting New Technology

New technology frequently fails to live up to (often outsized) expectations.

McKinsey and Company, working with the University of Oxford, found that on average, large-scale IT projects run 45% over budget, 7% over time, and deliver 56% less organizational benefits than expected. (For what it’s worth, the average benefits shortfall is much better when the project is software-focused, at 17%.)

Ouch! Those aren’t numbers anyone wants to read in reference to major technology projects. So, what’s going on? It turns out that change management is inescapably critical. McKinsey found project ROI hit 143% on average when there was excellent change management, but only 35% when there was poor or no change management.

But change management is one of the hardest tasks any organization can undertake. Here are 20 tips to make it easier when deploying new technology.

  1. Pick the right technology for your needs.
  2. Do your due diligence and research the technology, including looking up reviews and references.
  3. Choose user-friendly technologies. “If your goal is a high adoption rate within the organization, make sure you’re choosing the most approachable, most intuitive system possible,” Michael C. Mankins, a partner in Bain & Company, told The Harvard Business Review.
  4. Understand what deployment and implementation really involves, including customization efforts, hardware investments, setup, and deployment.
  5. Get it on paper: create a comprehensive execution and implementation roadmap.
  6. Prepare for resistance. Even if it’s not immediately apparent, people will fight change.
  7. Understand the resistance. It’s almost always based in fear, but what are the specific concerns (e.g., am I going to lose my job or have less work, what if the new tech doesn’t work and makes my job harder)?
  8. Address those fears head-on!
  9. Involve affected employees from the beginning.
  10. Solicit stakeholder buy-in. This builds on the previous point: don’t just talk with (or at) affected employees. Get them on board.
  11. Focus especially on getting influencers, including star performers, on board.
  12. Understand what their needs are and how the new technology will affect them.
  13. Solicit input on how to handle the change.
  14. Communicate! Describe the personal benefits of the new tech, not just the company benefits.
  15. Train, train, train. Do not skimp on this step: you cannot expect any of your people to be successful with a new technological tool if they’re struggling to figure out how it works.
  16. Update procedures and processes as appropriate to make use of the new technology routine.
  17. If appropriate, reward adoption and use of the new technology.
  18. Consider penalties for non-use if there are real problems, but be sparing – these can backfire.
  19. The goal, says Mankins, is to “implicitly raise the cost of not using the new technology.”
  20. Ensure that leadership is committed to, motivated for, and confident in the change.


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