I'm a trainer and implementer for a an accounting application customized for a particular industry. We are a global company with about 1500 active customer installations and a user base of about 25000 with our software managing labor and payroll for about 250,000 workers. Our accounting software is used by many publicly traded corporations, a few of which are on Nasdaq and other world exchanges. That is my background.
What I do is go into a company that has bought our software and teach them how to use it. I also at the same time help them with process improvement, efficiency, and raw material reductions.
I represent change at a company. Many of the people I work with fear me simply because they know everything is about to change. And Im the one that is going to be changing it. Some of the companies I have been working with have been doing things the same way for literally decades. One company I'm working with now setup their current system over 20 years ago. Needless to say I run into a lot of paper and human processes where people are waiting for pieces of paper to come to them or for pieces of information to be communicated to them by another person. Needless to say that there is a lot of paper and a lot of waiting involved. They have only 15 people in their front office and they go through at least a case of paper each week. The 30 people on my floor at my office by comparison go through less than 500 pages of copy paper per week. Different type of work yes, but the point remains that there is a lot of waste going on.
So Im changing everything for these people. Im bringing them a whole new paradigm in how they work. A cliche yes, but an appropriate one. I am taking them out of the stone age and into the information age. Documents are scanned in at the very beginning of their process. That paper is then archived in a filing cabinet and will only be retrieved if needed by an auditor. When needed certain documents will only be reprinted at the very end of the process. Also, instead of having to wait for a person to deliver paperwork to be alerted that they have work to do, once a new order is created an email is sent to 3 different people indicating that they have work to do and what the order number is. They can now login to the system, find the order, and begin working independently of each other and concurrently. Information about the order, instead of being handwritten is now recorded in the system. If you need that information, instead of having to track down the file folder, it is now available in the system. Need a milestone date? Its in the system. Need to know if something shipped? Its in the system. Waiting for parts to come in? Instead of having to run report to see that they are past due, you now get an email alerting you that your parts have not been delivered on time and are past due. When they are delivered, you get an email. The receiving guy, instead of having to deliver parts receiving information to someone who then checks to see if the parts have been allocated to an order yet or should be warehoused, now gets a pop up window telling him which parts are allocated to orders and need to be delivered versus being put away.
So HUGE changes in the way they do business.
How do I get people to go along with the changes Im bringing them? By making the changes, and how I explain them, as relevant to the person as possible. On my first day I learn as much as I can about the customer Im working with. What their processes are, what their people do, how they work, what their issues with the way they work are. I then mimic their existing processes as much as possible so as to not change too much (there is always time for additional changes later on down the road). And then when I deliver the training, Im able to say "Here is how you are doing things now. Which has these issues: A, B, and C So here is what we are doing now. Because we do step 1 followed by step 2, that resolves problem A. Because problem A is resolved, problem B is resolved. That sets us up for steps 3, 4 and 5 which puts the required information into the system which then solves problem C. I break those steps down to the individuals who will perform them and show how Because A is fixed, Mary's job is easier. And because Mary put the information in the system, when it comes time for John's step, the information he needs is in the system. He doesnt have to go looking for paperwork. And this ends up speeding the whole process up for everybody. At the end of the day, everybody's job is easier and at the end of the day instead of everybody having to manually file a report as to the work that they did that day, a report can be ran that details the time they spent on each job, what tasks got completed, what orders got shipped, how much money was made etc. Oh, and those reports show up in the manager's inbox automatically, every day, at 5:15pm.
Seriously, when I bring it home like that. Everbody tilts their heads and in unison goes "OHHHHHH, I SEEEE!!!" And that is when I tell them: "So now that you guys see what Im trying to do, to make your jobs and day to day lives easier... work with me on this. Yeah, its extra work now, but I promise you, this is going to work for you the way I say it will and everything is going to be easier."
And all resistance to change is gone.
And I know that this is the case because Ive done it with about 40 companies now over the last 3 years.
Make the change relevant to their work life and explain to them how it is going to make their work life easier/better. If it is not an improvement why make the change in the first place? You just have to help them understand how it is going to improve their job before they will become willing participants in the change. Until then, they are only making the change because they have to. Your job is to make them want the change.