It starts slowly; you have seen something that others are talking about. A software, or perhaps some new methodology which you think will either make your job easier, more interesting or something which has the potential to make/save some money for the company you work at. After a little while, you become so energised by it that you want to shout about it from the rooftops.

The next few weeks are a whirlwind, mesmerised with your new finding, you spend as much time on it as possible. For me that was Tableau and still is, it has made my job easier and much more interesting. I enjoy using the software both at work and at home as well. Often I wish I had more time to bring to life some of the ideas I have, but that’s another blog post entirely.

If you are like me, you’ll research blogs, social media, find your local user groups, reach out to the community leaders and generally annoy your family by talking about it incessantly….until…..

You are sat at your office and it feels lonely, why doesn’t everyone share the same enthusiasm as you do? Why don’t they believe this new way of doing things can and will be revolutionary? You may think it’s you, they don’t trust you, don’t listen to you. You look outside through the community window and everyone loves it and other organisations are using it and why can’t it be like that where you work?

lonely2

Don’t worry it may not be at the moment but it will be if you persevere.

What is not often apparent from the success stories across many organisations is that it takes one person a great deal of time and energy to become a champion for change.

For avoidance of doubt here’s the Champion definition from the Oxford dictionary:

  1. “A person who has surpassed all rivals in a sporting contest or other competition.”
  2. “A person who vigorously supports or defends a person or cause.” 

I’m referring to the second definition, the one where someone finds something so enthralling and engaging that they make career changes from it.

But back to the office, why does it feel lonely?

  • People generally don’t like change
  • People don’t mind change as much if they are the ones pushing the change
  • It’s easy to dismiss some new technology as “hot air”, just ask Uber and Spotify
  • People are busy with their own stuff

Some people will tell you to quit your job and go somewhere where you are appreciated, but what if you already doing a job you love and you want the company and your colleagues to benefit from the same thing as you? Do you quit?

We can’t blame others and we shouldn’t either, in my experience you can’t force change but what you can do is to slowly work your way through the hurdles. From here on, I’ll focus on Tableau as that has been my experience:

  1. Start by finding a problem or an obstacle, do it even if that’s not on your job spec. Help your colleagues by showing them why this new software can make their life easier.
  2. Share what you’ve learned, blog posts, and visualisations but don’t go overboard to the point of annoyance.
  3. Create some training materials that relate to your company, these can be small ½ hour training sessions during lunch time.
  4. If you attend conferences or events,make sure you document its benefits and share these.
  5. In contentious issues like pie charts and red/green choices, pick one battle at a time.  Don’t try to force all changes at the same time.

Even after doing all of that, it might feel lonely and sometimes looking at the outside community can make you think things are worse where you are at. To prevent you from losing energy, my advice is to talk to others who have been in the same situation before. You’d be surprised how motivating a Skype call can be.

But in truth, what you are witnessing are different stages in the process and you often hear about it once it is already a success. Consultancy firms will always be more nimble because that’s their selling point, they need to adapt to different ways of doing things as a matter of course.

Finally as you introduce change against the “old ways” you may not always see it but underneath, things are changing.

Then one day out of the blue, you look around and the world is a brighter place, your colleagues have seen the benefits and are now themselves part of the change. More on this on future posts.

I hope you have found this useful and feel free to reach out with any questions if you are now the one pushing the change.

Thank you for reading

David