Community & Events Manager, 2+ Years of Content Marketing Strategy & Project Management
November 24th, 2019
Workplace relationships can be tricky. The risk of the relationship not working out can hurt everyone involved and can force your organization to make an uncomfortable decision.
Imagine it. You work together every day, navigate the ups and downs, and you can’t see working without each other.
Then, one day, you learn your manager has been speaking with leadership about a change and your partner in crime is being replaced.
How could this happen? It seemed like everything was going so well. Now, you are suddenly charged with feelings of betrayal and helplessness. You've invested so much time getting to know them, building processes and workflows. You relied on them to be successful.
How can your manager change software systems just like that?
Oh, you thought I was talking about people? I’m talking about technology.
In the modern age, you and your technology are in a relationship.
When you have a strong relationship with the technology you work with, two things happen: First, you feel empowered to complete your tasks, without needing to worry that you don’t have everything you need to succeed.
Second, you are more motivated to succeed and your confidence will be high. There is nothing stopping you now.
So, how do you identify your technological ‘soulmate’ in your organization?
For example, a finance director and their accounting platform.
It can be easy to assume the job is getting done so they must be working effectively, but that is not always the case. Rather than assume, Yousif recommends pushing deeper and challenging the relationship.
Consider a recent project you worked on with your team.
Is there someone who you found to be more difficult than others to work with, but still managed to get the job done? Even further, is that same someone a person you have had difficulty working with in the past?
Surface-level success can be deep-rooted in tension and frustration.
In Yousif’s example, the operations director was using five different technologies in their day-to-day.
That can be a scary reality, and something I’m sure we have all dealt with before.
What is the login for this? Where do I pull data for that?
When Yousif spoke with the Operations Director, they recognized that “he always felt overwhelmed by his job, but it wasn't until our conversation that he thought it might be because of the technologies he was overseeing.”
The unknown relationship is where technology is reporting to several different places without a specific owner, or where it is being flat-out ignored by the company.
In this case, it’s likely the technology could be outdated but never removed or it could be an unknown resource your company has.
Yousif’s analogy sums it up best. “It was like someone had hired it and then didn't give it a desk or any instructions on what to do.”
Sometimes, it makes sense to remove the technology from your company, but that can be difficult when you imagine this technology as an employee.
How do you manage these relationships?
Build trust with your technology
To build trust, consider doing a team-building activity with the technology platform.
I know what you are thinking… icebreakers with a computer program?
Not exactly, but sort of.
Consider reaching out to a technology specialist or industry expert in the program to walk through the challenges you have been dealing with and how you are currently using the platform.
Given their vast knowledge, they will be able to provide tips for how to approach specific situations differently and maximize your relationship with the platform.
Another option, especially in unknown relationships, may be to host a coffee chat with your team and the technology.
For one hour (or more if you prefer), set no agenda other than to familiarize yourself with the technology, experiment with the different features, and see what you come up with.
Sometimes, it may confirm that this technology isn’t right for your company and it is time to move on. This saves your organization money that can be invested elsewhere.
Other times, it can open the door to new ways your organization can be using the technology that could increase productivity, simplify processes, and ultimately drive your company’s bottom line.
Delegate technology to the right person
While delegation can be seen as a sign of weakness or inability, it more often than not is better for all people involved.
This is especially applicable to those in a technology overload relationship because it removes pressure from one party while handing the responsibility to someone who is more hands-on and qualified to use the technology in the first place.
In the case of Bovingdon’s, there was an opportunity to delegate the food inventory program over to the head chef.
3. Be adaptable
A culture of adaptability and open-mindedness is at the core of any business-technology relationship.
Your organization must always be challenging technology and the employees using it to ensure it is in the right place and performing the right job to be successful.
When the technology is not up to par, it is time to find something new that will propel your business forward.
If you are stuck in the mindset that changing your technology will slow down your company, there may be a larger issue with your team worth investigating.
How does this compare to your business?
Are you building meaningful relationships with your technology?