When overhauling or bringing in any new digital tech whether a new CRM, website, payment system or new digital marketing or email tool, adopting something new in the digital space is far from simple!  

Bringing your users onboard something new, of course centres around having the right tech. However, it is just as important if not more that you have the right organisational culture and buy-in to drive and adopt the change – from culture, leadership, talent, and skills, to how your staff make decisions and interact daily.   

Influencing your key influencers

When you embark on any project, think about who your stakeholders are right from the start, even at the Business Case stage. Keep revisiting this as you agree your project scope, impact and what the deliverables are.  

Who are your do-ers, who are their managers and who are their heads of teams? 

Also consider the other teams who aren’t directly involved or the project team itself, but who will still need to be consulted, involved or will still have an interest in the project.  

Telling a story brings people on board

A story will engage people in a way that data and tech can’t do on their own. It allows you to envisage the change and specifically what it means for each individual person on the project.  

One important way of doing this is by tailoring and personalising your communications –  

A senior member of staff might be more interested in knowing what costs the project will save, maybe the impact it will have and about the risks?  

In comparison, a junior member of staff is more likely to be interested in how their life will be made easier by the efficiencies a new system will bring to their day-to-day role and how they might be able to spend their time on more value-added activities rather than manual processes.  

Influence your stakeholders by tailoring your messages and understanding who to talk to and what to talk to them about. Bring everyone board early and have those difficult conversations early on with the groups where you expect there might be more barriers – there isn’t a one-sized fits all communication.  

Influence vs Interest – do you know where all your stakeholders belong?

A stakeholder map should be put together and used alongside a communications plan. Mapping out the involvement of your stakeholders in a project is key to understanding who is going to be needed when, who you approach and at what point.   

List out all your stakeholders and think about how they might be grouped into different segments. You might have groups such as:  

  • The do-ers who could also be your subject matter experts 
  • Managers who need to be kept informed 
  • Heads of teams or members of the SMT who are going to be influencing decisions 
  • Your project team members 
  • Staff who work in the teams of your project team members. They will need to be kept in the loop with regular communications as they might end up being delegated areas of work 

Consider laying this out in a chart where you map your stakeholders across their influence versus their interest in the project. A project sponsor might be very interested in the direction of the project but might also be very influential in the change that it’s going to bring. Whereas another team member might be very interested but may not have the influence to change. 

When you’re doing this exercise, it’s about fusing people, culture, and processes together it’ll help ensure you’re ready to tackle all the activities, challenges, and issues in one go by speaking to the right people at the right time. 

In summary, when delivering any digital project, you can’t focus on the technology alone and do a project ‘at’ people. To give yourself the best chance of success, you have to harness the skills, leadership qualities, culture and talent of your staff to bring them along with you.