Tips for Managing Technology Change
Tip 6: Mitigate anxiety
The first step in mitigating anxiety is understanding that it exists and acknowledging its presence. People might be afraid that their jobs will change (or disappear), that they won’t be able to handle or learn the new technology, or that the new technology will have other negative impact on them, their jobs or their day-to-day work lives. You can help to mitigate that anxiety through good communication, opportunities for feedback, and by allowing people to explore their anxiety in ways that let them know that what they're feeling is normal, understandable and manageable.
Tip 7: Support people throughout the life cycle of change
Your work isn’t done once the new technology is in place. Keep reaching out and providing opportunities for feedback. Frequently, the people in need of the most support are the least likely to talk about it. Create ways (e.g., an open-door policy, user guides/cheat sheets, a suggestion box, recruiting a sympathetic colleague) to check in with people who are reticent, and create safe and private spaces for them to keep learning and getting support.
Even if you don’t have an imminent technology change on the horizon, you can set the stage for successful change leadership in the future by connecting with people in your organization, establishing your expertise in your subject area (whether it’s technology, fundraising or something else), serving as a resource for others, and understanding your organizational culture and the priorities and perspectives of your co-workers.
While people in your organization might not be Luddites, acknowledging that they may feel some anxiety about a pending technology change can help get them on board. Getting wide support for the initiative through good communication early in the process can help the technology change succeed.
For more information about managing technology in your organization, a great reference is the book "Managing Technology to Meet Your Mission: A Strategic Guide for Nonprofit Leaders."
Dahna Goldstein is founder of PhilanTech, a social venture dedicated to using technology judiciously to enable social-sector organizations to maximize service delivery and social impact. Dahna presented a session on managing technology change at the NTEN Online Technology Conference held Sept. 16-17.