So youâ²ve taken the plunge and invested in a new project management tool. Congratulations! Unfortunately, none of your staff are thrilled about the change. They each have their own system, and are hanging on to them the way a baby clings to its bottle! Until they embrace the change, your expensive project management tool is just going to sit there, empty and useless.
Every organization is going to encounter resistance to change, but thatâ²s no excuse for you to leave things as is and let peopleâ²s mule-headed behavior hamstring the business. You need to keep a firm hand and, if possible, turn them into advocates of the new system. Below are some helpful hints to do just that:
One of the main reasons people dislike new systems is the learning curve involved. Itâ²s intimidating to learn a new program from scratch. Set up frequent training sessions prior to the official roll-out so you can give people a chance to adjust. Tweak the subject matter/training schedule for the persons being trained: the less tech savvy a person is, the more classes he needs to take, and vice versa. If possible, get the students to train each otheritâ²ll also act as a good team building exercise.
Give Your Team Perspective
Sometimes it helps to know why youâ²re doing something, instead of just following orders. Set some context for the situation by explaining the difficulties of the old system and how the new one will improve things. Show them how they can benefit from the new features and how it will improve their efficiency, increase the accuracy of reports, and decrease their stress. Likewise, show them the consequences of improper data entry and misuse. Let them know that the project management toolâ²s effectiveness depends entirely on how they choose to use it.
Once youâ²ve set procedures for proper use of the project management tool, you have to enforce them ruthlessly. The project management tool is only as good as the information you put in it, and so you have to regularly check the databaseâ²s integrity and make individual users responsible for the changes they make. If someone consistently mistypes his data or uses unauthorized shortcuts, you have to reprimand him and make sure he corrects his behavior.
Some employees will want to go back to the comfort of their old systemwhether that is an old software program or some other manual method. If you can, you should take those options away as soon as the new system goes live. Delete the old project management tool from your network (or at least remove access) and discourage use of the old system.
Recruit Allies from Within
If team members are resisting the change because itâ²s being imposed by management, then sidestep the problem. Recruit the more open-minded employees and ask them to help convince their team members. The difficult employees might be more receptive to their peers.