Today's confession. I love techie stuff.
In fact my business and I couldn’t function without it.
Not everyone does though. Technophobia is rife within internal comms, particularly in departments that are outside of the usual HR and IT clique. Some people firmly believe that tech is overrated and overpriced. Or progressing faster than their mental capacity to handle it. Or, that to set up a new system will be so disruptive it'll be counterproductive.
Have those thoughts ever flitted through your brain? Does technology:
- make your wallet shrivel at the mere mention of its name?
- have you reaching for the Tech for Dummies manual?
- give you birth pangs and growing pains even long before conception?
Well, I can tell you that it doesn’t have to be that way. Heck I can even show you - that’s my business after all! But here today I thought I’d tackle the three main barriers that tend to stop technophobes from embracing those techie tools that can help make a difference at employee level:
Barrier 1 - Too expensive
Tech costs money – there I said it, I ripped that big Elastoplast off first. But that’s a very short-sighted view and one that is all too easy to throw out there as an excuse not to invest. Tech shouldn’t be an add-on, it should be integral to all internal communications strategy and delivery – whatever department you’re from.
To me, cost is all relative though and this is where sound investment and prep come in. Cue a Dee analogy…
My husband invested in a pressure washer - not just any pressure washer but a super duper deluxe, life changing pressure washer. I was told that this would revolutionise our life. You can pressure wash EVERYTHING - windows, slabs, gutters, decking, tiles, cars. The list is endless. He bought the full shebang with every attachment known to man last year. He has used it twice. We don’t have a deck, we have grass and stone chips instead of slabs and we have a window cleaner called Geoff who pops around every Tuesday. What’s my point? We (Barry) spent a lot of money on something that didn’t meet our actual requirements and which now lives in our shed - in terms of success or ROI, it’s a big fat dud.
The key to keeping a handle on costs is to align tools, people and processes from the outset by talking to people. Create more disciples than Jesus if you have to. But get out there and find out what they really need and don’t forget to ask why. Extra upfront investment in the investigation and planning stages saves cash in the development stage. You heard it here first.
Barrier 2 - Too complex
Technology can be complex, but complex doesn't necessarily mean complicated. The process of developing and rolling out doesn't have to be the full shebang immediately – it can be gradual, iterative and strategic. The key is that it works, it is adopted and that it can be measured.
Take it one step at a time, leaving the really technical details to those who really need to know. Focus on strategy, alignment and engagement. Nothing's set in stone and the requirements need to be reviewed frequently to make sure everything's synchronised. It's a given that people, processes, tools and businesses change, so agile development and flexibility is the key.
With so many attachments for the pressure washer, I left using it to Barry and Barry alone. I instead continue to use a wonky old hose that leaks to wash my car. It’s a workaround – because the alternative appears too complicated and too time consuming – an elephant to crack a nut as my gran would say. In reality though, the shed contains the perfect tool for the job – I just need someone to convince me and show me it’s worth the effort.
Barrier 3 - Too disruptive
Here's a scary thought - not all disruptions are negative. Didn't someone once say something like, 'when you finish changing, you're finished'? Roll your eyes as much as you like but it's people who are disruptive, not technology – and any new tools, whether communication-led or process-led, require people to implement and manage them.
I was sold a life changing business case and it failed almost as soon as it and its million attachments arrived - Barry was the disruptor, not the pressure washer. I had quite happily been using my wonky hose as I didn’t know any better. That's where you need technophiles, evangelists and disciple-creators (like me!) to manage positive change, effective training and appropriate feedback.
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