Resistance to Change

Using software like ServiceNow can bring great change to an organization.  If you are a person that helps bring that change to the company, you can become liked by many, but others definitely will not like you.

If you want to make enemies, try to change something. 
- Woodrow Wilson

Dealing with resistance and negative feedback is something I am not great at.  Often times I take offense to it. This article here talks about how I am trying to improve: Adapting to Disruptive Technology

Below are some situations that occur during ServiceNow implementations and the effect of change

We have always done it that way

This is the classic statement. When you hear it, you almost want to laugh.  However laughing would really derail your three day workshop.  Yes it is often easy to replicate the design and process of the old software.  However it is often not a good idea to do that.  If you can make those old processes better, that is the way to go.

It is this familiarity with user's old system that causes the most difficulty in the requirements gathering process. They may not care the new system is better or easier.  They know the system and are comfortable with it.    

I have been in hundreds of workshops.  Most workshops are boring, but sometimes they can get pretty exciting.  I have seen people insult each other, try to sabotage efforts, or storm out to sit in their cars.  In the end, often it is fond memory of a difficult time overcome.  Which is kind of funny, because during those situations it doesn't seem like a great time!

No time for new systems

Once I visited an office to help install some asset management client software on a woman's computer.  She was complaining about her back and I noticed she was sitting in a wooden chair with no padding.  I said I could get her a new chair.  I logged into their Self Service system and ordered a new chair.  She said she never used self service because she was too busy (or didn't want to). She couldn't figure out who to email, so kept using the wooden chair.

The chair was delivered in two hours.  She thanked me greatly for the help.  If she would have tried self service out earlier, it would have saved her a lot of misery.  I hope she started using self service more often after that situation, but no guarantees on that.  

Dollars Spent

We know that unstructured manual tools like email, spreadsheets, and walk-up visits are inefficient.  People have used these for years however and it is tough to make them change.

When I explain that ServiceNow can have a process, have workflow, approval, and task generation, with some people you can picture a light bulb over their head turn on.  They immediately have ideas on how they can better automate their work.

Others have have a stop sign up.  They don't care what you are saying or are resistant.

The truth is that you can continue using manual processes and they do work.  However if not automated, they often take extra time to complete.  When you start adding up that manual effort, it can cost thousands, millions, or even billions depending on the amount of manual effort done by employees.

Message in a bottle

Consider the audit aspect of these tasks.  With ServiceNow I can look up an old "ticket" and see what work was completed.  If that work was a few years old and done by email, likely it is lost and gone forever.  Especially with employee turnover in corporations.

A spreadsheet is a little better.  However that can easily have versioning issues or be difficult to find in sometimes if not used frequently.  You know what I mean, however it can be difficult to admit. 

Manual processes are often stored like a message in a bottle.  You may find one if you are looking for it, but it will take a lot of swimming and walks on the beach.  The beach is sharepoint, so it isn't that beautiful.

Let's have a meeting

How do managers really tell what employees are busy and others that are underutilized?  With email it is based on what they are cc'd on, meetings attended, and project results.  Some employees are emailed relentlessly, they often quit due to stress or not being acknowledged.  

At least with ServiceNow you can tell what they are working on and their current workload. Some people are resistant to allowing other see what they are doing.  However the results can really help with management.

Also people are also dissatisfied with the results of their requests.  With email they need to email or call them back to check the status.  It takes forever it seems at times, and if they can't check status, what is going on?  It is waiting on an approval?  Is it still being delivered?  Better call Bob, he might know.  Oh Bob is on vacation for a week.  Guess I am waiting until he gets back.

Oh No Moments

As processes become more complex, it becomes increasingly difficult to manage with manual effort.  You start making mistakes, and mistakes can lead to bad situations like outages.

When it becomes more difficult to suffer than to change... you will change. 
- Robert Anthony

Everyone can remember, "Oh no" moments in their career.  When you make a change that shuts down a network, or makes a system inoperable.  The key is minimize or eliminate those situations from happening and ServiceNow can help with that by using Request Management workflow, Change Management, etc.  However it does often take a remarkable disaster to make some companies and people change.

Doing Nothing is often worse

I am not perfect, I make many mistakes.  However I always try my best and make efforts to change companies for the better.  If it makes sense to improve something, I will do it, try to let everyone know it is coming, and hope I don't receive too many complaints or cause an issue.  

The path of least resistance is the path of the loser. 
- H. G. Wells

The truth is that if you do nothing it will likely cost you down the road.  Sometimes you don't have the time to change a process, and know it will cost you.  The trick is to picking the best projects to improve and pick the ones that cost you the least. 

People always complain, but compliments are often few.

Want more information?

Check out Frank Slootman's funny speech at K15 about email.

Download the "Today's State of Work: The Productivity Drain Report"

Also read this article: Adapting to Disruptive Technology