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Technology is easy. Changing mindsets is difficult.
17th November 2019

We are often caught in the middle of a silent battle happening within our client’s businesses. The battle is between an older generation clinging to a fixed way of doing things and a new generation eager to implement the latest technology, impatient to change.

I always say, ‘technology is easy, changing mindsets is difficult’. Technology is very secular, it affects everybody equally. Some react well to it and some don’t. As the purveyors of technology to our clients, it is incumbent on us to ensure that all stakeholders are handheld through the upheaval of change.

If you are one of us, agents of technological change than here are some ideas for you to help make the transition smoother.

A client champion is an invaluable asset

A champion is a person within a client’s organization with a bit of clout who is committed to making the technological implementation successful. He/she acts as your flag bearer within the organization. Helping you navigate the politics, smoothing the path, cajoling and threatening to make sure the project moves ahead. Such a person is critical to success or failure of any engagement. In fact I would go so far as to say that if you don’t have a committed champion, don’t even bother.

Find the middle path. Respect the rear guard.

I have seen many technology implementations where the older generation’s concerns and issues are brushed aside to make way for new technology. But what is lost in this rush to embrace new systems is the wisdom and experience of people who have seen it all. At some point all the technology in the world cannot replace good old fashioned experience and knowhow. In fact technology might blind you to perils that experience can see a mile away. So listen with respect and try and find a middle path through every engagement.

People’s livelihoods are important. Tread lightly.

Any significant technology change is going to threaten a set of people’s livelihoods. Technology makes people redundant, that is the hard truth that we all have to face. But this can be dealt lightly. Do factor in the human cost of implanting your solutions and work with the client to mitigate this. Perhaps retraining can help deploy them in other areas, perhaps a hybrid solution that allows them to continue working alongside the technology, both adding value. When it comes to people’s livelihoods, tread lightly.

Fight systems not people.

Your fight is with the old way of doing things, not with the people. Sometimes we tend to forget this and it gets personal and ugly. But if we simply remember that it’s the system we are trying to change, not the people (changing people is a tall order) then new paths emerge. Trying to find win-win solutions becomes the goal instead of a slash and burn strategy. The caveat to this is ofcourse you will not be able to win over everyone. Try your best and leave the rest.

In conclusion, remember - SWSWSW.

"Some Will. Some Won’t. So What.” Not all battles can be won. Not all technology implementations are examples of efficiency and change. When you come against human nature you have to accept the good and the bad. And move on having tried your best.

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