PM MEN­TOR: IM­PLE­MENT­ING NEW TECH AS A TEAM

Keep­ing your team up to speed can be dif­fi­cult when it comes to im­ple­ment­ing change. Natalie Hast­ings demon­strates how to lead from the front to achieve a smooth tran­si­tion.

Elite Property Manager - - Contents -

Natalie Hast­ings

The real es­tate in­dus­try has been chang­ing at a rapid pace, with tech­nol­ogy giv­ing smaller teams the abil­ity to han­dle greater work­loads while of­fer­ing their clients su­pe­rior prop­erty ex­pe­ri­ences.

For those of you who are in­dus­try vet­er­ans, think back to your ideal week of a decade (or even two decades) ago. In all like­li­hood your days were con­sumed with ‘heavy lift­ing' com­mu­ni­ca­tions, in­clud­ing phone calls, snail mail and slow pa­per-based ad­min pro­cesses.

Since then, new tech­nol­ogy has max­imised ev­ery one of our work­ing hours – and as a pro­fes­sion we're keen adopters of new tech, start­ing with mo­bile phones and web­site de­vel­op­ment be­fore, more re­cently, in­vest­ing in so­phis­ti­cated prop­erty man­age­ment soft­ware and be­gin­ning an earnest con­ver­sa­tion with the public us­ing so­cial media.

In such a fast-paced and re­spon­sive pro­fes­sion, it is easy for a busi­ness to suf­fer from ‘change fa­tigue' – some­thing that causes teams of peo­ple to be­come neg­a­tive, tired and de­mo­ti­vated.. Costly in both a mon­e­tary sense and in terms of morale, change fa­tigue is the re­sult of new re­spon­si­bil­i­ties or learn­ing hav­ing been mis­man­aged into a team.

Im­ple­ment­ing new prop­erty man­age­ment soft­ware into an es­tab­lished real es­tate busi­ness is com­plex but may be an im­por­tant step for­ward for any­one look­ing to stream­line their ser­vices whilst grow­ing their rent roll.

I've ex­pe­ri­enced first-hand the anx­i­ety and con­cern of teams who have been through too many changes to sys­tems, pro­cesses and tech­nol­ogy too quickly.

It's not that change it­self is the is­sue here: it's change mis­man­age­ment and poor im­ple­men­ta­tion that is at fault. Change is rarely well man­aged and, with­out your team's full ‘buy-in', the pos­i­tive changes you hope to make by im­ple­ment­ing new tech­nol­ogy or es­sen­tial sys­tems and pro­cesses will be dif­fi­cult to im­ple­ment.

So what can you do to en­gage your team fully when adopt­ing new tech­nol­ogy that re­quires sub­stan­tial learn­ing? How can you pre­vent change fa­tigue while min­imis­ing neg­a­tiv­ity to­wards ‘new­ness'?

WHY SHOULD WE CHANGE?

Un­less your team un­der­stands why a change is needed, it is very un­likely they will get on board with the pro­ject. Don't use neg­a­tive re­in­force­ment here – scar­ing staff with neg­a­tive con­se­quences should they not com­ply rarely cre­ates good out­comes. In­stead, talk to them about the ben­e­fits of change: how the pro­posed changes will help them, why change is im­per­a­tive to their suc­cess. As a leader, you'll need to ‘walk the talk' here. If im­ple­ment­ing new soft­ware, don't del­e­gate knowl­edge to a mem­ber of the team who be­comes a go-to for ev­ery­one – you must adopt changes and lead from the front.

Bring your team to­gether and ex­plain the sit­u­a­tion, and the sub­se­quent changes re­quired. Let your team know what you ex­pect of them and en­sure that it's an ‘all in this to­gether' mes­sage.

I'VE EX­PE­RI­ENCED FIRST-HAND THE ANX­I­ETY AND CON­CERN OF TEAMS WHO HAVE BEEN THROUGH TOO MANY CHANGES TO SYS­TEMS, PRO­CESSES AND TECH­NOL­OGY TOO QUICKLY.

EN­GAGE AND EM­POWER

Peo­ple dis­like feel­ing forced to do any­thing: there's a nat­u­ral re­sis­tance to be­ing out of con­trol. Take steps to over­come this re­sis­tance by giv­ing your team a sense of change own­er­ship, al­low­ing them to gen­er­ate prob­lem­solv­ing ideas as a group.

Whether you book out brain­storm­ing meet­ings or ‘change re­treats', stay on-point when it comes to why change is nec­es­sary and what your ex­pec­ta­tions are of the team – then fa­cil­i­tate use­ful dis­cus­sions to get the ideas flow­ing. En­sure on­go­ing en­gage­ment by ap­point­ing team mem­bers re­spon­si­ble for change projects or ac­tions; ac­count­abil­ity is key here. Got a team cur­mud­geon who hates change? Put them in a po­si­tion of re­spon­si­bil­ity – they're likely to flour­ish in a lead­er­ship role and won't want to fail, mak­ing them an ally.

FASTER, FASTER

Af­ter all that team brain­storm­ing, you'll likely have lots of ideas. It's time for you as change man­ager to cull many of them. Long lists of good in­ten­tions can be daunt­ing, so cat­e­gorise the list into ‘easily im­ple­mentable', ‘needs plan­ning to ex­e­cute' and ‘nice, but not nec­es­sary'.

Act on the ‘easily im­ple­mentable' im­me­di­ately, so that your team can see change in ac­tion. Then go on to cre­ate a change plan which in­cor­po­rates other ideas you've dis­cov­ered as a group. Iden­tify re­spon­si­bil­i­ties to change, time­lines for change and de­pen­den­cies; ac­count­abil­ity is ev­ery­thing when it comes to mak­ing changes stick.

Take prop­erty man­age­ment soft­ware change im­ple­men­ta­tion, for ex­am­ple: your change plans would in­volve team train­ing in blocks rel­e­vant to their func­tions, ex­port­ing data suc­cess­fully into the new soft­ware and cre­at­ing a ‘sys­tems and pro­cesses' man­ual to man­age work­flows changed by the new soft­ware.

By ‘be­ing the change you wish to see' and fully ex­plain­ing the ben­e­fits of the changes you in­tend to bring about in your busi­ness, you're not only likely to min­imise change fa­tigue: you're more likely to bring your team with you into the fu­ture in a more pro­duc­tive way.

Re­mem­ber – cre­ate quick wins af­ter brain­storm­ing change with your team, recog­nise achieve­ments in the process and al­low the team to take re­spon­si­bil­ity. ■

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.