The Don’ts of Implementation of a New Tool: What Mistakes To Avoid?

Much has been written about implementing a project effectively and introducing a change or a new solution to the company. Despite this, many managers still do a lot to avoid achieving the planned effect of the implementation. That's why I've prepared a small guide on how not to implement a new system. It will help you demotivate even those who were initially motivated. There is a simple recipe for this, and its application will bring the expected results - such as failed implementation. This text was created in cooperation with Tomasz Wysoczański, an experienced coach and trainer of managers.

Arkadiusz Terpiłowski

Co-Fundador

Business Intelligence

10/10/2023

Common mistakes in an implementation of a new tool

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About the author

Tomasz Wysoczanski is an experienced coach and business trainer. He works primarily with managers, supporting leaders in the development of their leadership competencies. Thanks to his managerial experience he is able to combine theory and practice which results in a pragmatic approach to coaching and training.

What contributes to the lack of success of the implementation? 

I propose focusing on three factors influencing motivation and commitment: a sense of competence, a sense of purpose, and good work organization. While these are not the only factors contributing to the potential failure of your implementation, this recipe should work in 98% of cases.

Sense of knowledge

If you want the implementation not to bring the expected positive results, the plan is simple - you will ensure that your people do not learn how the tool works. The less they know, the better. In that case:

  • Do not organize training (even if your business partners offer such a proposal);
  • Do not provide support during implementation - however, if by some chance training took place, you can leave people to their own devices at the implementation stage; there was time to learn, and they could ask about everything; now is the time to implement. It is not important that without working with the tool, some questions could not have arisen during the training; it is not important that knowledge about new issues quickly evaporates. In short, the company has already spent time on training, so the topic is closed;
  • Don't give feedback on how individual people are doing - you certainly have many other tasks;
  • Do not show interest and concern during the implementation - hopefully, one of the employees will say that training, further training, or some other form of support would be useful, and you will have to think about how to get out of it. 

Why is it so important that you give up on properly preparing your people?

A sense of competence is one of the key aspects of building motivation and commitment. Why?

Let's do a little experiment. Find an A4 sheet of paper and scissors. Then, cut a hole in the sheet to pass the card through yourself - it is really possible. There is only one rule to this task: you cannot rip the paper apart. If you don't have A4 paper, you can do this exercise with a business card. Then, it's not about getting everything through yourself but through your head.

So, how it was? You did it? Did you handle the task?

Probably after a few or a dozen attempts, you felt discouraged and consequently gave up.

People want to act efficiently and effectively - and without competencies and skills, this is not possible. When there is no correspondence between the task to be performed and the competencies, frustration, and discouragement increase - then it is easy to give up, it is easy to give up.

So, if you do not want to achieve success, do not organize training and support during implementation.

A sense of purpose

Make sure people don't feel the purpose of this implementation - it's quite simple; don't tell why it's being done. However, if you feel strong pressure, say, "Because I said so", "Because this is the decision," or, as a last resort, indicate a different goal each time - such blurring is good for building demotivation. 

Make sure that people doubt that the new system is serious - leave them believing that maybe you will go back to the previous solution.

Why is it so important that you let go of building a sense of purpose and meaning?

Much research has been conducted on the importance of purpose and meaning at work, and many articles and books have been published based on it. As people, we need to know the “Why”. When identification with the goal occurs, motivation and commitment increase.

It is worth remembering that implementing the system itself is not the goal. Similarly, the goal is not to build a road - the goal may be to shorten the travel time from point A to point B. Similarly, in the case of implementing a system - it is intended to serve a purpose (e.g., increasing the profitability of projects).

Therefore, if you want people not to get involved in the implementation, do not let them see the goal.

Good work organization

You can approach the implementation of a new system as a project. So the recipe for not achieving success is quite simple:

  • do not appoint a responsible person;
  • do not prepare an implementation plan with potential risks;
  • do not plan “milestones” or other points to discuss progress;
  • do not signal that you are interested in the implementation progress.

Why is it so important that you give up on good work organization?

As in the case of the need for competence, the ability to work efficiently is important for motivation and commitment. However, when there is chaos and disorder, there is a direct path to demotivation. Secondly, according to the Reiss Motivation Profile concept, one of the key human needs is the “need for order.” It makes some of us need plans, structures, and clear guidelines. Without this, their engagement will decrease.

When planning the implementation as a managed project, e.g., one of the Waterfall methodologies, we introduce order. Generally, the beginning and end of the project are determined, activities and responsibilities are planned, risk analysis is carried out, and progress is measured during implementation, etc.

The same applies to signaling that you, as a manager, are interested in implementing this project. Research shows that employees focus more on those tasks that the boss focuses on. This is completely natural and related to the survival instinct. So if, as a boss, you don't pay attention to the project, you haven't communicated its importance, and you don't ask about progress during implementation, employees will also pay less attention to the project. They will focus on those tasks that you pay more attention to.

Therefore, if you care about the lack of success, leave the implementation without an appropriate process and do not show any interest in this undertaking.

To sum up, by neglecting areas such as appropriate training, giving the implementation appropriate meaning and purpose, and ensuring that the implementation can be carried out effectively, you can cause even people who initially had a positive attitude towards the new solution to become demotivated. Those who were skeptical from the beginning only become more convinced.

Taking care of these elements should not pose many problems, especially since Primentric offers time tracking and timesheets, as well as project management and progress tracking that make the whole process much easier.

It is also worth mentioning that there are people who are skeptical about the implementation of the tool from the very beginning. But that's a story for another guide :)

Arkadiusz Terpiłowski

Co-Fundador

Arkadiusz é Chefe de Crescimento e Co-fundador na Primetric. Antes disso, Arkadiusz esteve ao leme da sua própria empresa de desenvolvimento de software, onde supervisionou as operações. Um grande entusiasta da melhoria de processos, a sua missão pessoal é tornar as empresas de software mais rentáveis e eficientes no seu caminho para o crescimento.

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