Change is HARD but the REWARD is Worth it!

February 05, 2015

Guest Post by: Dan Carusi, Vice President & CLO, Deltek

I arrived at work this morning and waiting for me with a big smile on his face is my boss. He shakes my hand and blurts out “Congratulations, you have been promoted and now own the responsibility for the organizations Social Business Strategy”. Ok, after completing some homework to fully understand what is Social Business (come on, you didn’t also look it up?), I’m ready to move forward. First task, implement Business Collaboration tools. How difficult can this be? I mean this is exciting stuff for the company and is going to change how we do business. We live in a world of technology so this should not be difficult for employees to grasp. What a no brainer and there has to be some bonus dollars or a raise in this for me when the implementation is completed. Life is good!

Fast forward to 90 days past implementation, I finally get the call from my boss to see him in his office to discuss our Social Business strategy and how we are progressing. Show me the money! He congratulates me on how smooth the implementation of the Business Collaboration tool went and for executing on the larger strategy. Here it comes – my big bonus, raise, rewards, all that good stuff. However, he pauses and says “there is one problem, no one is using the tool and since we invested money in this strategy, we are not seeing our return on investment”. Then in his best Donald Trump voice he says “You are fired, now get out!” What just happened? Wow, I didn’t see that coming. Life is not good!

It ends up the most important criteria for success is User Adoption of the tools and technology. Employee buy-in and bringing people along for the journey, plays a critical role in a successful technology implementation and a higher user adoption rate. Implementing an effective Organizational Change Management (OCM) plan with the end goal of changing people’s behaviors, can be a challenging and daunting task for leaders but something that cannot be ignored.

So what did I learn? You need to find leaders in the organization that will crystalize the vision, communicate effectively and lead the change. Make sure every employee impacted by the change knows the “why” and also knows what’s in it for them. There also has to be a consequence for not accepting the change and they need to know it and feel it. Create the burning platform, an urgency that employees can rally around and get excited about. Arm and equip them – make sure they have the tools and learning required to successfully use the technology. Finally, sustain the change in behavior (make it stick) through recognition and celebrating the success that is the result from doing things differently.

Fortunately, I convinced my boss to give me another shot with the Social Business strategy. I did a reset on the implementation of the tool while leveraging an effective Organizational Change Management plan. What a difference! Everyone in the organization has a better understanding of our strategy, why we are pursuing it and how it will help everyone be more successful. More importantly, user adoption of the tool has significantly accelerated which is critical to the overall success of our Social Business strategy.

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