Don’t Fight the Tech

Technology has revolutionized the speed and efficiency of business. But resistance can often derail even the best implementation efforts. Dan Maurer, Critical Ops Senior Training Manager, is an expert at helping groups blend technology with human ingenuity. Throughout his seven-year tenure, Dan has traveled the world implementing tech-based training programs with diverse audiences. He has successfully found ways to help even the most reluctant user adapt technology into their work. In addition, he has been instrumental in improving programs for a user-friendly experience. In this article, Dan shares his key recommendations for seamless integration.

How do you get groups to focus on using the technology instead of resisting it?

Technology assists everyone but it is really just a simple machine of input and output. Technology provides the information, then you need to filter out what is relevant and crucial. It does not matter what system you use. Leadership must set the tone for success. Provide clear expectations and objectives up front so everyone can accomplish their goals when incorporating new technology. It’s important to have a passion for the problem you’re trying to solve. Then everyone can have valuable discussions to see where technology can improve efficiency or communication.

How have you seen the adoption of technology and training change since you began?

Technology has come a long way. There are so many tools to track changes, share documents, and gather information in a way that is faster, easier, and more user-friendly. People want more and expect to do more with it. We’re at a time when older generations who didn't grow up with it sometimes struggle to use it, where younger generations want to know more about the technology’s capabilities. Over time, this dichotomy will shift. The challenge is transitioning between generations. There will always be something newer and better, but it always boils down to training on the system and synchronizing the communication.

How do you pair the early/easy adopters with those who are more resistant?

Give early adopters more capabilities and best practices so they can master the tools. This keeps them engaged. These individuals can gain skills through self-development, such as a manual or class, and become experts and learn how to maximize its potential. For more resistant adopters, make it relevant to them. Incorporate what they know into the technology, or in addition to the technology. Let people use the tools they’re used to and support that need. Ensure everyone is engaged with the technology by providing value and assuring they’re not standing on the sidelines. Ask those who are more reluctant if there is someone on the team who can help them with the task if they have a deficit in an area.

How can leaders help employees become proficient with technology?

Many organizations don’t train their employees on how to use tools and software and expect everyone to figure it out on their own. They don’t always know the capabilities of the technology. There is a lack of professional development for routine software programs. This requires people to be self-taught. Provide mini lessons on how to use the technology. Ask individuals what they know to get an understanding of their skills, then build on those. Have a system in place to help people use the technology to overcome personal shortcomings and make them more effective.

As the organization becomes more proficient, you need to share data in a format they can use. This might mean integrating different systems and programs. Learn the overall picture by understanding the different requirements for the end-user. Tech makes tasks easier and filters distractions out, but everyone has to learn how to use it to maximize success.

What is one key aspect for successful human-technology integration?

Technology can cause information overload, so it’s important to filter down to the “so what” element of why you’re using it. People have to be intuitive to figure that out, which only comes from experience, training, and development.

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