I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about cultural readiness in the past couple of months.
Pretty much since the day one of my colleagues took all the air out of the room with a simple comment.
“We are not ready for this solution.”
He meant that the organization wasn’t ready for the solution.
But I wasn’t so sure.
Struck me that it was really our team that wasn’t ready for the solution.
It’s easy to point to the end user and say “well – they are just not ready.”
And for a few very vocal people, it was absolutely true.
It’s easy to focus on the noisy negative. Human nature. Looking for “danger”.
But I was getting many comments from our end users that led me to believe that the general environment WAS ready. I knew they were already using many of these features in other formats and tools. They just wanted a better way to work.
The group that wasn’t ready was our team.
So many of them spent decades working with a particular technology.
Mastering the one thing they do really really well.
And all of that is being thrown out the window.
So the finger gets pointed at the end user when it is really us.
So we retreat back to the closest thing to the thing we know and try to ignore the rest.
I’m still trying to shake off the lingering sense of failure.
I spent so much time getting the pilot group “culturally ready” when most of them didn’t need it.
I expected my teammates to have enough of a sense of self-preservation to internalize the change for themselves.
They are technology folks. I assumed they would be able to figure stuff out without a ton of hand-holding.
But I ignored the fear factor that accompanies any huge change.
– Fear of loss of identity
– Fear of loss of mastery
– Fear of looking stupid
– Fear of not knowing
– Fear of loss of status
– Fear of how others will react
– Fear of the unknown
I now wonder what I should have done differently.
How do we develop “cultural readiness?”
What needs to happen?
What timeframe is needed?
What environmental supports?
How much repetition of message?
How do we nurture and encourage those early adopters of the new culture?
And most importantly – how do we reduce the fear?