Adoption via Peer Pressure?

Green leaves
Photo by Ben Ziegler
How many of us remember high school and doing things that we should never have done, but we did them because our friends were doing them?  How about that time you stayed out later than your parents wanted or you drove the car that you were told not to. Ever do something illegal with your friends?  Did you decide to do it on your own, or was it really peer pressure?  Peer pressure, is basically they way of getting people to try something they would never have thought of doing.

Peer pressure is probably something most people don't view as a good thing. Especially with teenagers. In fact because of the strong negative connotation, most people don't like to use the term, unless it is too prove a point about something not being good. But within the enterprise, peer pressure can be used for good and to be honest, I believe that peer pressure is one of the best methods of getting others to adopt a new technology - just behind defining the value proposition.

In one of my previous posts, I talked about the 1 v 9 rule.  In that post, I provided some of my thoughts on what you could do to drive adoption. I also asked for others to provide their ideas. As I continue to look for new techniques, I will be posting them here. Employee peer pressure is a technique that most definitely should be added to your quiver of tips and tricks. Peer pressure from the #1 must be directed at 2 through 10. While it seems simple, getting others to use this technique is not easy.  But it is important and the best way of getting the #1s to do this is to help them understand the value of using this technique.

The approach is pretty straight forward.  Peer pressure will not be applied just by #1, but rather initially with just one other person on the team. Let's call that person #2.  #2 should be chosen wisely.  The choice should be based on someone that #1 is close with and #2 is someone that is on the fence related to the technology (e.g. they are closer to being on the same side that #1 is on).  #1 needs to work with them to get them off the fence.  #1 needs to get #2 to the point where #2 is as strong of an advocate. #1 should use whatever tricks they can use, including some peer pressure. To do this, #1 needs to get #2 to truly see the value.  And there are many other tricks you can use.

Once #2 is on board, peer pressure to 3 through 10 can start.  #1 and #2 need to use the technology almost to exclusion (especially if there is a technology that is being used that is the incumbent that 3 through 10 use and don't want to give up).  #1 and #2 need to use the technology in their job, as part of their formal and informal business processes.  #1 and #2 can't give up, even if 3 through 10 are resistant in using the new technology.

As they have use the technology, they need to circle back and refine the story/message they use.  and together they need to share this story/message with 3 through 10 often.  This should be done in both formal venues and through informal conversations (think water cooler conversations).  They need to be a mini marketing group. While they work together using the technology, #1 and #2 need to talk about benefits they achieve from the technology and apply peer pressure continuously. Basically they need to be the cheerleaders in their group, talking up the technology and the benefits it provides.

Peer pressure, embrace the power, but use it for good.

What tips and tricks do you have for those that responsible for adoption of technology in a company?