My love-hate relationship: 3 rules to make technology work FOR you

I have a love-hate relationship with technology.

If you know me, I often have the latest gadgets/tech for my personal life – and, at the very least, I try to not fall behind.

If you also know me, I never get in line first. I want to see how it works using other people’s money. Why buy the first version with all of the kinks?

At work, we have the exact same tension.

We absolutely cannot fall behind in how we use technology. And we absolutely cannot waste our people/time/energy/resources on tech that makes work harder and less effective.

This week, I’d like to share the best advice I have ever received on the use of technology – and consequently always share with our clients. When we follow them, we love tech. And when we don’t…

Rule #1 – Technology is just an enabler

Technology, by itself, is meaningless. It ONLY has value when you are already doing the work manually. If you don’t track your diet – even if it’s done in your head – what good is a diet tracker? If you don’t measure the effectiveness of your marketing materials, what good is a tool that enables marketing analytics?

I’m not saying that tracking your diet or analyzing your marketing effectiveness are bad things. I’m just saying that buying the technology without already being committed to the work it enables is a waste.

How many apps have you downloaded because people said “it’s amazing/game-changing/awesome/etc.” and it started collecting digital dust the moment you finished the set-up?

The same principle is true at work – and especially sales enablement.

Rule #2 – Technology always costs double

The true cost of anything is what you have to pay beyond the initial price, right?

Technology – especially when it involves some sort of user interaction – ALWAYS requires some sort of implementation budget. Most often, we see a 1:1 ratio. For every dollar spent on the tech, another dollar should be spent on the implementation. And implementation may not be actual dollars (because people, time, energy, and other resources aren’t always converted to a dollar amount), but the bottom-line cost is equivalent.

How often have you seen a new system (or even just a new version) get launched and everyone goes back to doing the work with the old system/version? Or worse – they just create their own manual process as a workaround? All because the new tech “doesn’t work” for them.

What I’m saying is that we are all going to spend double the cost that we originally paid. Embrace that. And if you want to throw real dollars into the mix for training, troubleshooting, support, etc., you can make the experience go much smoother than simply hoping it all works.

Rule #3 – Technology implementation is anchored to your disruption tolerance

Implementing new technology involves learning. And learning – in its purest form – is a disruption.

I have long said that learning isn’t learning unless behavior changes. I never ask my kids what they learned in school because until I see their behavior changing, they haven’t learned anything yet. In other words, they weren’t motivated enough by the subject to disrupt/change their behavior.

Learning how to use technology follows the same principle. When we bring technology into the workplace, we have to expect – and plan for – some disruption. Obviously, minor technology changes bring minor disruptions. And major technology changes bring major disruptions.

Which brings us to disruption tolerance – your team’s tolerance for disruption.

What I’m saying is that when we plan to introduce technology – even if it’s the perfect enabler with the perfect budget – and the team cannot handle any more disruptions (of any kind), the technology WILL get rejected.

Every time.

If you are the one responsible for launching/implementing the technology, lift your head and look at the bigger picture of disruption tolerance. You may have to address that before you do anything else.

I mua. Onward and upward.

By Tim Ohai

PS If you or someone you know needs to get better performance from the sales team, let’s set up a conversation to talk about it. Get on my calendar here.

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