Adoption via Leading by Example

Leading the Way
by Eric Ziegler
A recent blog post I wrote posed that if you used a little peer pressure you could drive adoption. After writing and posting this blog post, I started to wonder if the term peer pressure was really the correct term to use. As I re-read my blog post, I realized that I hinted at my concern even in the blog post "Peer pressure is probably something most people don't view as a good thing". That got me to  wondering if I had used a different term, would the negative connotation of the blog post go away?  So here is a try at using a different term in its place. (note: I had to change some words and remove one paragraph to make it work, but the message is intended to be if not the same, very very similar)
How many times have you heard "Leading by Example".  For me, this term comes up all of the time. Leading by example is typically used in conjunction with a leader that wants their organization, or their team to act in a particular manner. The hope is that the leaders behaviors and actions will be followed and mimic'd.
Leading by example is something that you hear and read about a lot and is generally thought of in a positive light. This term is often used by and for leaders in organizations quite often.  In fact because of the strong positive connotation, leaders at all levels use it all of the time.  They use it even when it might not make a lot of sense (are you surprised?). Within the enterprise, leading by example can be used for good and to be honest, I believe that leading by example 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 obtain adoption. I also asked for others to provide their ideas. As I continue to document the techniques, I will be posting them here. Leading by example is a technique that most definitely should be added to your quiver of tips and tricks. Leading by example by the #1 must be directed at 2 through 10. It must be deliberately done. 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.  Leading by example will not be applied just by #1, but rather initially with just one other person on the team. I call it targeted leading by example.  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 just plain old leading by example.  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, leading by example for 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. I call this adapting your work style to use the technology (in fact the term adapting is coming up more and more as you read about adoption).
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 continuously lead by example. Basically they need to be the cheerleaders in their group, talking up the technology and the benefits it provides.
Lead by example, embrace the power and use it for good.
What tips and tricks do you have for those that responsible for adoption of technology in a company?

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