Thanks Kim Wylie, another nice post. Managing change for a Google Apps transition is very important. Especially because humans are change-adverse creatures by nature so there are a lot of risks if it's not done correctly.
What I like to do is show small Google Apps scripts that utilize the power of Google Apps to bring automation to daily tasks. It can also help when you are dealing with the inevitable: "We had this with Outlook, how do we do it now?"
I know Google shies away from comparisons to competitors but I'd love to see well written explanations and solutions for these issues which are consistently brought up:
1 - The ability to attach and forward multiple emails at once in the Web-Interface
2 - The ability to sort the inbox by Sender, Date & Subject
My normal answer to number 1 is using GAS with a forward by label script. And for #2, I usually point them at the advanced search features. But it doesn't always help mollify those who want things exactly as they were and will complain it was faster/more stable/etc. on XYZ previous platform.
I think acknowledging complaints, workarounds and things that can be done better from Google at the top-down for real-world transition scenarios would be very helpful for the change management as well.
Thanks for the comments and sharing your work-arounds for those couple of user queries you mentioned above.
I love that you look for ways that you can bring automation to daily tasks. Finding those small (and sometimes big) things that the technology can do to make people's lives easier is the quickest way to driving adoption. In order to change people's behaviour you have to connect with them on a rational, emotional and behavioural level (or head, heart + feet as I like to call it). Rational is relatively easy - your leadership team should be able to clearly state why they transitioned to Google, the behavioural piece is all about giving people the training and resources they need to be able to use the new tools, but we often forget about the emotional piece. Based on my experience, I've found the best way to connect people to the technology on an emotional level is uncovering the 'what's in it for them'. In other words, finding out the ways that the technology will make their lives easier.
Regarding the two use cases that you mentioned above (forwarding multiple emails / sorting emails) my question back to people that ask such things is always 'tell me what you're trying to achieve' and get them to explain the use cases for wanting to be able to do such things.
Typically I find that people who are wanting to forward multiple emails are people working on projects together with others, or doing hand-overs or other such activities, where the second person needs a bunch of information about a specific topic or customer. In this case what is actually a better thing for them to consider is to move that information to a shared document. Then the information it won't just become lost in another inbox and all parties can collaborate and access the same information without worrying about who has access, what is the latest version, and then not being able to find the information in the future. This is a change to the way that people who've been using outlook for a long time have to think - and they might needs some training and hand-holding initially but once they can see the benefits of using docs for customer / project information it will help them be more efficient.
Regarding the sorting question - again I like to ask people what exactly it is that they are trying to achieve. Typically here they just want to find a specific email. The way that they've done this in the past is by sorting so that habit is engrained and they have this idea that their goal is 'sorting' when it is actually 'finding'. Once you talk through this logic with someone and show them all the great search short-cuts as well as showing them the drop-down search box, they realise that there is better ways of finding things than sorting. Rather than coming at a task with your 'habit-goggles' on - think about the goal you are trying to achieve then identify the best way of getting there rather then simply trying to replicate the task itself.
Both the above are examples about the importance of getting people to really think about the reasons they want to perform a task, then once you understand what they are trying to achieve - showing them a better way of getting to their goal. Then encourage them to challenge themselves and question other tasks that they do and look for ways they can improve other tasks and business processes. This is what will bring transformation to your organisation.
Happy Friday all!
You are correct, it's not possible to attach multiple emails and send (or forward) them in one go (as in outlook) from the Gmail web interface. Here's the compromise with that (in outlook), try to search for content from any of those attachments and see how far that gets you. Something like that may also have some implications in so far as any standards are concerned, too. Message recall comes to mind.
As for your second point; replace the word 'sort' with 'filter', and you'll see that the search functionality can actually provide what you're looking for. Additionally, you can get a reverse date listing (ie: oldest first), just hover over the number of messages displayed on the top right hand side, as below:
The computational approach to open a large data set and then to seek particular values within that set every time you need to find something is obviously not what makes Google able to scale it's services to the millions of users who might want to be doing that on a regular basis. Think more like how you might organize that data at ingress (or at time of creation), so that via so-called 'filtering', you might be able to present it in the way you need, and IN AN INSTANT, and then maybe you and your users can appreciate why Google is different. It may make the effort involved in doing things a bit differently than what they might be used to a worthwhile one.
Hope that helps!
This sorting question is very good example of difficulty users have to move to Google Apps or other equivalent solutions. This example is true in Gmail, Docs, Chats, etc..
One interesting solution for that I've found is to keep getting in touch with users by explaining the new behaviour (go from sort to search). A user who hears every week about new behaviour will start one day by trying it, understanding benefit of it and sell it to colleages.
Of course, this can only work if the new behaviour is more efficient ;-)
Thanks for your comments Benoit.
I completely agree that all the behaviour changes that employees must adapt to should be covered throughout the communications and training activities.
Apparently as humans we need to hear the same message at least seven times before it properly sinks in(!) This is why we suggest poster campaigns, emails, tips and tricks, Q&A sessions, Google Guide support, self-paced and formal training and other activities are planned to really help employees think differently about what they are doing - and of course find better, quicker, more collaborative ways of doing things!
Thanks for the post and for reinforcing that change management is an investment - one that is ongoing. This is what I see far too often and at least one other person has mentioned it - we start out with good solid change management elements as we move to deployment. Then, once the systems/functions are available organisations too often think "We're done!" instead of seeing deploy as one of multiple milestones. Sustain and ingraining the changes in behavior happen after the tools are available. Unfortunately, this is often the time of the hardest work as you have to be prepared to communicate not just in a big way (resource materials, messages from leadership, etc.) you also have to roll up your sleeves and talk to small groups and even individuals to build understanding and gather those "ah-ha" moments. As you build that in people they tell others and start helping others. You repeat messages, build the basics, help users see how Google can transform their everyday work one conversation at a time!
It is this post deployment work and integration into ongoing processes that so often falls apart. I'd love to see continued discussion and ideas about how companies address this and how we walk our talk by changing how we work with ongoing training, new hire onboarding, management expectations for teams, etc.
Thanks for your comments - I wholeheartedly agree with your comments!
Go-live is the beginning of the organisations transformation journey - not the end! And just as you've noted, the 'ah-ha' moments always come after go-live.
We've had many comments and ideas on how to continue to drive engagement across the other blogs and threads - and I look forward to hearing more examples from this group as well as sharing more of my own suggestions in the coming posts.
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Thanks for your comments - I wholeheartedly agree with your comments!
Go-live is the beginning of the organisations transformation journey - not
the end! And just as you've noted, the 'ah-ha' moments always come after
We've had many comments and ideas on how to continue to drive engagement
across the other blogs and threads - and I look forward to hearing more
examples from this group as well as sharing more of my own suggestions in
the coming posts.
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