I enjoy flying. Fortunately for me, my job and personal activities afford me frequent airplane travel around the country and even occasionally internationally.
I never tire of soaring above billowing “cotton ball” clouds. I especially enjoy flying just as the sun sets—the colors are AMAZING. It’s not always a smooth ride; frequently there is turbulence. I am comforted to know there’s an experienced pilot to get me safely to my destination.
If I was scared of flying, I most likely wouldn’t climb on a plane, and I would surely miss the breathtaking and awe-inspiring view from the window.
In business, our fears sometimes keep us from experiences that could change our life and bring great success. I’ve found that when someone starts talking about change others often hold back and resist even if the change will benefit them. I know this has happened to me a time or two. I have been on both sides of the aisle—resisting and implementing change.
I’ve also discovered this same phenomenon in many collection agencies. The agency owner decides to adopt the newest, most advanced technology and then the collectors and/or other staff resist. How does an owner overcome this initial resistance to change and successfully adopt the new technology?
I think the answer is related to something I learned in a college business class many years ago. We were discussing key actions needed for success by retail businesses. (The answer was and still is location, location, location.) Similarly, one key to overcoming fears and successfully implementing new technology is “communicate, communicate, and communicate.”
Communicate early and often. You probably can’t communicate too much or too often about adopting the new technology.
Communicate your reasons. Share with your team the reasoning behind your decision. Help them understand why this change is critical to continued and future success.
Communicate the benefits. Explain to your team how the new technology will help not only the collectors, but all employees. After the technology is implemented, remind employees why they’re enjoying the new benefits. (This will also help them be less resistant to future technology changes, too.)
For example, if your agency doesn’t use predictive dialing and you decide now is the time to implement this technology, share this decision with your team as soon as possible. Then ask for feedback and concerns. This will give you an opportunity to address concerns and explain why the technology is being implemented. Then help your team understand the benefits—using predictive dialing will dramatically increase good debtor contacts. If all other business trends remain steady, the increase in contacts will result in increased collections. And that means collectors will hit their goals more often and the company will perform better financially.
While I’m sitting in an airplane there isn’t anything I can do to ensure a smooth ride. It is up to air traffic control to communicate any upcoming turbulence or problem and it’s up to the pilots to then fly around it. My job is to sit there and be confident that others have the knowledge and skill to safely take me through whatever might come up.
You—the business owner and manager—are just like the air traffic controller and pilots. You communicate the necessary changes and then use your management skills to smoothly steer your employees through the turbulent adoption period and into the benefits.
Remember: The resulting sunsets and financial rewards for business owners AND employees are well worth the few bumps along the way!