Not Everyone Is Cut Out To Manage Implementation

Introducing new systems and software is hard. Not for the faint-of-heart, thin-skinned or hot-headed.

It takes a full understanding of the parameters, cooperative effort, and a constant drive to slog through details and overcome roadblocks. Then it takes sharing everything you have gathered and the ability to address every single issue the naysayers toss your way.

Perseverance. Diplomacy. Empathy.

I always tell my clients to listen to the complaint department. It often comes down to: who is my biggest obstacle? You have to address their issues or they will hinder any good forward progress in a thick cloud of doubt. If you ignore their issues, these individuals will derail anything that represents success. It isn’t hard to do. They just have to say: this sucks / it’s too hard / it’s ugly / it’s not like what we had before (which they hated).

Knowledge is power.

So when it comes to finding new systems, whether it’s the way you’re organizing your company, or simply run your ad department, start with asking what people need. Then ask what they want. Ask what they’ve seen in other systems or other places they’ve worked. Everyone has a favorite. They will always tell you what doesn’t work. That’s huge.

Then start dissecting. Some requests relate directly to the tools (or lack thereof) they use. Some relate to how they’re using tools (may not be using fully). Another area relates to process – what are the steps and does anyone really know what they are? Map them in detail. Last, it comes down to people. Are the issues related to their attitude about the tools, the company or a colleague? This takes you into an area most never (want to) tread, but if you don’t evaluate requests or complaints with the filter of skills, drive and attitude, you’ll never be able to truly get to the bottom of their issues. What’s preventing them from being productive, and far less annoyed with their daily duties?

Again, it all comes down to Process, Tools and People.

In order to survive implementation, you must constantly take the pulse of the team, make yourself completely available, keep meticulous records and updates (and share them), and always be ready to fend off the hordes. Diplomatically.