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Users Don't Adopt, People Do!

Hack No.6 Users Don’t Adopt, People Do. Digital Transformation is the topic of conversation in every boardroom and senior executive office. How to rapidly bring technology to solve the ‘better, faster, cheaper’ challenge in business. Today, it’s an even more vital conversation – how to bring technology solutions to the ongoing disruptions businesses are facing – inflation, supply and skills shortages, and labor cost increases. This leaves an even greater challenge with the frontline leader – how to rapidly ensure people adopt these new technologies and realize the objectives of the digitization program goals. Key to this is understanding one important detail – users don’t adopt, people do.



The starting point is with the word resistance. How often have you heard managers say their people are resistant – to change, to new ideas, to new ways of working? When I hear this, I can’t help but wonder how we all adopted the string of technology we use today. From ATMs to on-line banking and checking ourselves in on airline kiosks. Using facebook, twitter, Instagram. Isn’t that technology adoption? And then of course, we have the new workforce. A generation more than capable at using technology. Any technology. And, usually self taught.


Whole new IT platforms are rolled out to billions of people worldwide without a corporate memo, a town hall from a CEO, a training program run by HR, or a lean improvement team? So, why do we do it outside work so easily and yet people are told they are resistant as they walk through the proverbial gates of their companies?


As leaders, we have to remember these are the same people - in and outside work. As leaders expected to implement new technologies, our job is to find the people connection and understand it to enable more effective technology adoption, by people.


Those who successfully implement new technology address the things that usually prevent technology adoption at work, work.

  1. They practice great communication, effective collaboration, building capability and confidence: There’s usually a story – people talking about the new ‘thing’, creating interest in it. Early users become people who influence other people, educating them, helping them through their learning. Informal coaches spring up, people help spread the world by using the technology, and helping others use it.

  2. They find a cause – no matter how small – to show how it makes things easier, more convenient, it connects people. What we learn is that its never about user adoption. It’s about community and connection. It’s about people.

  3. They address the pragmatic issues around ensuring the technology can work effectively: Making sure the manual processes and people connections fit with the technology – that the processes are aerial mapped to enable the technology to fit seamlessly and do what it set out to do (not just process mapped). This means looking at all the connection points, people who touch it, structures, data, and decisions that need to pass through it, and ensuring they work.

  4. They get people to bring their experience and input to the technology - giving the people who use it the opportunity to make it work. This is one of the most critical things you can do. Involve people.

When you understand the people side of digitization, you start to understand how to make it work, and replace the word user with people. People adoption. You set a plan to engage, enable, and energize people through the digitization.


From the book Manage to Engage. How Great Managers Create Remarkable Results. The post-pandemic how-to guide for engaging in the new world of work.


You’ll also find a few more tips on this in the Businessing article: Users Don’t Adopt But People Do.

This is another #HackingitwithHackett - the Q4 Challenge. Post-sized Hacks to help leaders better engage, enable and energize their teams, and improve their operational results - before year end.


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