August 21, 2017
You've probably heard there’s going to be a total solar eclipse over the United States, right? Historically speaking, people used to be afraid of eclipses. A fire-eating dragon, or wolves caused it, they thought. In their eyes, it was a freak occurrence that had to be stopped. People used to take action to save the sun when an eclipse began. They would bang pots and pans, or shoot arrows to get the monster away from our precious fiery ball. In fact, people in some countries still shoot guns at eclipses—whether out of respect for tradition or “just in case.” In either case, the reasons are fear and superstition. It’s a little shocking when you learn that superstition drives a lot in business, too. Even the revered Harvard Business Review acknowledges this. And this fear and superstition brings us around to the ways organizations implement automated solutions to streamline business. For example, your sales people may be a little concerned—consciously or subconsciously—that your new automation process will cause contracts to be messed up by the internet goblins (not to be confused with the internet trolls—something altogether different). What do you do? Evolve Easing people into the change—in this case, by adding automation to their day-to-day lives in phases rather than all at once—can be a way to allow them let go of their old ways slowly, acknowledging gradually the reality that the old beliefs don’t apply anymore. It’s not a fire-eating dragon swallowing the sun—it’s just a scientifically predictable, temporary obscuring of the sun, and it’s safe. Your contract will be signed and safely returned, too, even if you can't see it while it's happening. Add a charm It’s not easy bringing change to your business. HBR offered this interesting tidbit: “Subjects equipped with their lucky charms not only reported higher levels of self-belief than those whose charms had been confiscated, but also performed better and persisted far longer with difficult tasks.” Which is to say, give your sales people a talisman that’s outside of the old process (wearing lucky shoes is the example from HBR). It provides safety and confidence through the change. It could be a lucky fidget spinner, even. Make it easier The single biggest factor in getting your team to accept the change in process—from manual copy-pasting of data to automation of a contract, for example—is to ensure the process is easier than before. That way you can overcome any resistance because you’ve made their world a better place. The value of automation is well documented—plenty of studies and even our own case studies at Conga show time and again the increases in productivity that you’ll find with document automation, contract automation, and leveraging apps that simplify your ability to use and update Salesforce data. Getting people to change is the hardest part of changing solutions—but when you help them through the process, they will feel grateful, lucky, and empowered to close the sale even faster. And in the meantime, enjoy that amazing natural phenomenon in the sky. While holding your lucky rabbit’s foot.