Tips for Managing Technology Change
The Industrial Revolution brought about many great technological changes, including steam ships and modernization of the textile industry. But not everyone responded favorably to those developments. A group of textile artisans called the Luddites felt that industrialization threatened their way of life and demonstrated their displeasure by destroying the mechanized looms they thought would take their jobs.
Technologies have evolved since then, but reactions to technology changes — and the need to effectively manage those changes — have not. Most people do not like change, particularly changes over which they feel they have no control, even if those changes are objectively “good.”. Change can create anxiety, which can, in turn, create resistance to the technology initiative.
Even though your nonprofit colleagues are unlikely to smash the new technology you're implementing, here are some things that you, as the leader of a technology change in your organization, can to do help generate support for your initiative and guide its success:
Tip 1: Create context
What is the technology change you’re proposing to undertake? How will it help your organization? The people in your organization are probably very committed to the organization and the constituents it serves. Isn’t that why they work there? By clearly tying the technology change to the organization’s mission, you can help people understand the reason for the tech change, how it will help the organization and its mission, and why they should support it. In addition to focusing on the mission, creating context for change means letting people know that a change is going to happen, why it's taking place and when it will happen so they know what to expect.
Tip 2: Get ahead of the change
Letting people know what’s going on early in the process can help them feel more comfortable as the change gets under way. Small, incremental changes are much easier to handle than large, disruptive changes. The ideal change setting is an organizational culture that is comfortable with change, where small changes happen frequently (also known as an “adaptive organization”). But in the short term, letting people know about the change early in the process can help get them on board with it.