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New Tools, New Culture?

When was the last time you read a user manual? I was recently asked this question, and had to admit the last manual I read was many years ago! Actually, I think that my recent laptop shipped without manual. And so did my smartphone! And I don’t even know if my apps or software come with user manuals…

We have come to expect our tools to be sufficiently intuitive and user-friendly, that we don’t need any formal help or learning in using them. But is that really true? In her talk at The Modern Workplace conference, Microsoft’s Carole Dohan acknowledged recent training on Skype for Business was an eye-opener! It’s not that the tools we use are not user-friendly… quite the contrary, but our learning experience with most tools remains superficial… and we may be tempted to reject wat doesn’t work as expected right away!

One of our clients is implementing a Digital Workplace (DWP) and the collaborative, inclusive, social nature of the new environment is quite a change from the old ways… And whilst that organization may not be planning on training its people in using Office, SharePoint, Skype, or any of the other tools integrated in the DWP, we are actually developing a learning path on “expected usages” and “right behaviors” in line with the DWP vision. It’s in changing those behaviors, for every person in the organization, that we will eventually change the work culture! Because culture cannot be imposed…

And then, one day, when people take a distance and look back, they may say: “well, things have changed here… This would not have been possible just a few years ago!” – and that’s when one realizes that the organization’s culture has actually evolved!

So, how can technology be supportive of the culture change? The modern workplace is evolving towards an integrated set of enabling technologies that can, and will, influence our behaviors:
  • When sharing with a mouse-click becomes easier than sending an attachment, it will reduce our email overload and enable true collaboration
  • When running a meeting remotely becomes more comfortable than commuting all to the same place, it will impact our mobility and we will truly work from anywhere
  • When working in continuity with the same apps across laptops, phones, or tablets becomes natural, it will enable true device independence and will allow BYOD

Then, what role is left for organizational change management? As a CIO said during a recent interview: “we make the very best technologies available to our employees, but they don’t pick it up, don’t use them well… adoption is very slow and productivity is deceiving!”

Recognizing that it’s not because “we build it, users will come”, Microsoft FastTrack was introduced. Fasttrack is a service facilitating the move to Office 365, which includes a process, scenarios and templates, etc. But, as everyone certainly understands, communication and training alone won’t cut it…

For adoption to be successful, people need to understand the rationale behind the change, how this contributes to organizational objectives, what exactly is being asked of them… Then, organizations need to demonstrate that they are taking this change seriously, putting the right processes, resources and systems in place, supporting every person in the path of change, driving new behavior… Most importantly, people need to see that the rest of the organization, especially the leadership team, is engaged, using the new technologies, behaving accordingly!


Our change approach, which is inspired by the Influence Model of Keller & Price, covers the full organizational change path and relies on Art of Hosting, Collective Intelligence, and Storytelling techniques to drive lasting behavior change in the organization.

So, bringing it all together – Microsoft Office 365 technologies, the Microsoft FastTrack customer success service, and proven organizational change management approaches – the Digital Workplace is primed for success! Not with manuals, but thanks to a balanced, integrated approach to change…

Note: Microsoft FastTrack & FastTrack Consulting are not affiliated in any way.
Disclaimer: article written on invitation by Microsoft, available in Dutch translation on their site
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