Technology is taken for granted in most facets of our lives, but within corners of the professional world there remain holdouts against the advance of the machines. Some of it may be practical —as much as we think technology will improve anything it touches, there are still a few things that are necessary to do the old fashion way — but much of the resistance comes from those afraid to change. They’re not holdouts entirely; there are phones and computers to be sure, but often not much beyond that, and little in the way of using those computers to their full extent. They’re people married to the status quo, committed to established ways of doing things and resistant to change beyond what little change they’ve already accepted.
Close up of female hand using laptop on office table. Cropped shot of businesswoman working on … [+]
The people I’m describing may not seem real, straw-men and women propped up to make an argument, but I can tell you from my own experience that they are most definitely real, and while perhaps open to the idea of change, or at least saying that they’ll change, slow to actually implement any of those changes or advances. It’s one thing to invest in technology but another entirely to use it and integrate it into your business and your daily routine, and I’ve seen too many who’ll say all the right things because it’s what they’re supposed to say and ultimately won’t make any changes in their day-to-day operations.
Perhaps you’re this person, or you know someone who fits the bill. How can you change, or get them to change, when they’ve thus far held out in the face of overwhelming options and the growth of the internet of things? Here are some ideas on how to tackle the problem.
Figure out the benefits and ease of use. Resistance to change is nearly always about fear of things getting worse or harder, as well as a stubbornness about the way something has always been done, whether it’s one person or an industry at large. As challenging as a task might be, there’s always the fear that the alternative will be worse, even if it’s been sold as the easier option. And then there’s trying to figure out how to use new technology, something that many of us take for granted as easy but perhaps not so for the less tech-adept. All of this serves to make a case to many to not change or update what they’re doing, because why mess with what works?
In getting others on board with technology, you have to take the extra step of explaining how it will make their life and their job easier, and walk them through what they need to do to get the most out of those solutions. By allaying those concerns at the start, you can disarm defenses and arguments against new methods. If you’re the one resistant to tech, you should educate yourself on what’s available and how it works before dismissing it out of hand; there are plenty of salespeople willing to demo their wares and make sure that you understand how it works and how to implement it in a way that satisfies you. The odds are there’s something out there that will work for you if you’re open to it.
Get input. For companies of more than one, getting input from all involved parties is best before making any big decisions on tech to invents in and implement. You want to make sure that you understand all the needs and requirements of various stakeholders, as well as any issues or mitigating circumstances. Few things will derail your introduction of tech faster than unforeseen problems, or at least problems unforeseen to you if you didn’t bother to ask. You might not be dealing with a resistance to change so much as a specific issue that makes your specific solution of choice less than ideal for your business, and if you’ve already committed to it you’re stuck in a suboptimal situation. You want to find something that works for all involved, and most importantly, something that everyone will use. Even if you’re the final decision-maker and fancy yourself an expert on tech, choose what works for the greatest number of people and not just what you like.
Give it a fair shot It doesn’t make much sense to go to the effort and expense of adding new tech to your business only to leave it unused, and yet that’s what happens far too often with too many companies. Often it’s because people haven’t followed the above two steps of seeking input and explaining and showing everyone how it works and how it’ll help. But it’s equally likely that some people remain holdouts, or only try out new tech briefly before going back to their tried-and-true methods. If that’s because the tech selected is a clunker, well, fair enough, but often it’s the people involved that are at issue, not the tech.
Some people hate change and think that they can ignore or wait out whatever new solution is introduced, particularly if a company is cycling through different options quickly without sticking to one for too long. Both individuals and businesses need to give what they try an honest and fair opportunity to work and integrate into their daily workflow before dismissing it to try the next thing. Changes take time, and changing too often will put everyone off of the idea of technology altogether.
Technology can improve our work lives as much as it does our professional lives, but only if we allow it to do so, and often that can require buy-in from skeptics. It would be easy to shame or dismiss those who are seemingly being left behind by the twenty-first century, but we should offer them a helping hand and a new perspective to show how things can be better, not worse. #onwards.