We understand now what type of people adopt new technology, and that it takes a certain level of confidence in yourself to do it. Fear and uncertainty may hold you back, but to overcome the discomfort that accompanies new things, you must begin with a mindset shift. It’s not easy, but it pays off in the long run.
But familiarity with these things is only useful if the change itself is useful. You don’t want to adopt some newfangled tech, only to hurt your bottom line. So in this section, we’ll walk through the value of embracing new technology.
This will be broken into three sections: The Culture of Accepting Failure, Attracting a New Audience to Remain Competitive, and Accomplishing More Good for your Team.
A. Culture of Accepting Failure
As you’ve already seen, the leader sets the pace for the rest of his or her team. You lead by example. So, if you embrace the potential for failure and view it as a part of success, you will be the model for your team.
Educators have taught us that an ‘F’is for failure, but I disagree. An ‘F’ stands for finally! You have to fail on the path to succeed. Who has ever accomplished something great on their first try? It’s a process, one where there will inevitably be ups and downs. Understanding that going into it is a key aspect of this mindset shift.
By embracing the potential for failure, instead of discouraging it, your entire organization will change, grow and reach new heights of success.
Josephine Kühl has a wonderful post about innovation leadership on Medium. Three key principles are Purpose, Trust & Empowerment, and Connecting People.
The categories are self-explanatory. A leader should lead with purpose; be clear about what you expect, and the process. A leader should trust and empower his or her team, which means putting people in place that you know are qualified and letting them excel.
Chris Byers, a guest writer on Entrepreneur.com, related his experience at the Fail Fest,“aday-long festival that celebrates the role failure plays in innovation.” It was a day spent exploring the ways people fail, but still find success. That’s exactly what you need to consider in your daily work.
My favorite quote from his piece is:“In business, failure is inevitable. It’s what you do after you fail that makes a difference.”
If you ensure that your team is encouraged to learn from mistakes and failures, instead of covering up and burying them, you all will see a much better work environment and increased success.
B. Attract new people, remain competitive
Every successful organization needs people that are willing to adopt emerging tech. Apart from the success they can bring, those folks also attract other early adopters which will create a freshness to your organization. That turnover will drive out the old ways and mentality that holds back your organization. Remember: you won’t get new results with old methods.
One thing you need to keep in mind is that change does not happen at the snap of a finger. It’s going to take time to adopt new technology and ensure everyone gets on board. In the same way you, as a leader, should understand that it all starts with a mindset shift, so too is it true for your team.
Consider this: were you convinced at once that a new idea was worthwhile? Or did you think on it, considering the pros and cons, and really spend time to ease into the idea? I would wager it’s the latter. Your team is going to need time to consider this change as well, so be patient, and solicit feedback every step of the way.
Another consideration is that the pace of change will differ. Some people, like the early adopters mentioned earlier, will be quick to embrace new ways. Others will be laggards, taking time to become comfortable. Knowing your team and their relative strengths and weaknesses will inform the way you introduce new technology. Encourage your team members to break into smaller groups, with varied skill levels in each. It won’t help to have all the laggards or all the early adopters together; by mixing people together, the team as a whole will make progress.
Know this: if your business or team isn’t innovating, or at least considering ways to improve your processes, you will languish at some point. Would you still be competitive today if you still used typewriters? Of course not — at some point, you had to adopt computers, and now smartphones and tablets. Change is inevitable, but if you lean into it and find what works for you and your team, you will have no problem succeeding in today’s competitive business environment.
C. Accomplishing more good for your team
The world is going to advance with or without your participation. There are plenty of advances just recently that are fundamentally changing the way we work.
The internet is, in the grand scheme of things, a new technology. And it completely changed everything about our lives. Now, you don’t need to be in the same room as someone to see their face. I use Zoom all the time to meet with people remotely, and to record my podcast, Victory by Association.
Many companies are embracing the change. Think about it: if you can perform the same tasks remotely as you can at work, at no loss to the company, what difference does it make? Sure, there are benefits to in-person meetings, but for a general update or quick conversation, the power of a good internet connection and a decent webcam is enough to accomplish that.
And it’s not just convenient for all parties, it’s better for your team. What sort of corporate culture are you incubating? Is it one where your team members can stay home to take care of a sick kid, but still participate in the meeting? Or is it one where they are forced to find a sitter, or take a day off, all because your office isn’t embracing new ways of working.
Think of their mental health, too. Does someone on your team have to drive through rush hour traffic, day in and day out, only to arrive at work mentally drained before they open their first email? All with the knowledge that, at 5pm, they’ll be back on the road again, beat by the time they are home and have to take care of the kids and their spouse?
If the technology exists to work remotely, and again, it’s at no detriment to the way your office works, why not embrace it? The ability to work whenever and wherever is changing everything about how businesses work. Being on the cutting edge of the new normal is going to make your business or team an attractive destination for competitive applicants.
Tools like Google Drive and Dropbox are common, but there again is another way you could lead the charge in adopting new technology. We’re all familiar with these tools, but are we using them to their full extent? The ability to collaborate with other workers has never been easier, and you don’t even need to be in the same timezone.
Embracing collaboration will improve your bottomline, make your teams more efficient, and increase the quality of the workplace. All three of these lead to a better business and a better environment for your team and interactions with potential clients and customers.
To conclude, it’s clear that embracing new technology is a net positive on your business, and especially for your employees. It’s going to take some time to get used to change, but the benefits far outweigh the costs in the short term. Seize the day, and make the change.