Skip to content

Fear of Change? Jump Into the Future!

by Amaya Marichal

I don’t know yet what to think. I’ve been telling people around me to jump into Social Media as soon as possible and I’m still pretty sure of all the benefits you can get from it. However, there seems to be a kind of fear well spread over the population related to the adoption of social networks, gadgets, online tools and applications of all sorts.

It’s almost as if we were afraid to change the way we use to work, to communicate, or to have fun…

But don’t panic. It’s not Zombieland. We can control this disease before it’s too late…

I couldn’t believe it when I read it, but it’s a fact: A majority 64% of CEOs are not using Social Media to engage with the public, according to a new study from PR firm Weber Shandwick.

The report “Socializing Your CEO: From (Un)Social to Social” looked at the Social Media presence and activities of CEOs from the world’s top 50 companies and guess what, well, only 36% of the CEOs were found to engage with the public through podcasts, blogs, and YouTube channels or through social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and MySpace.

Is this a sign that people are naturally reluctant to adopt new technologies and new ways to communicate?

Do we feel more confident when we rely on the past?

Why do we feel safe with old routines and established processes?

Take for instance people who are used to picking up the phone but they find incredibly difficult to communicate by Skype or GotoMeeting even though their companies push them to do it. They just go back to doing things the way they used to. It is hard to get them to change their behavior. Why? Because if there is something that has worked for them in the past, it is very hard to get people to stop using it.

Often, end-users do not know what the technology could do for them, and so do not use it.

As Nathan Rosenberg said,

“in the history of diffusion of many innovations, one cannot help being struck by two characteristics of the diffusion process: its apparent overall slowness on the one hand, and the wide variations in the rates of acceptance of different inventions, on the other.”

Perhaps the most important factor related to the resistance to adopt new technologies and processes is the need to develop complementary skills and capital goods. The well known “Learning Curve”.

So, leave your comfort zone! If you have a serious commitment to innovation and you are looking forward to changing your old routines and technologies in your company, you must start solving the following questions to make it work:

  • How do we get people motivated to use the technology?
  • How do we get people to see personal benefit from the technology?
  • How do we initiate, sustain and institutionalize behavioral change?

Finally, according to Jeremiah Owyang, industry analyst, you must have an action plan based on these actions:

  1. Examine your organizations adoption patterns. First, define how quickly your organization responds and adapts to technologies, and factor into your considerations.
  2. Be a Category Ahead Of Your Company. If you’re responsible for new technologies at your company, your personal adoption should be a level or two ahead of the organizations adoption, as you cannot effectively deploy for your company if you don’t personally understand the impacts of the new technologies.
  3. Track The Category Ahead Of You. Find an individual that’s above your adoption category (the early adopter watches the innovator) and be sure to watch their behaviors and learn from them. Adopters are often blazing their own trail, and may not ever follow anyone.

Online Sources:

  • Adoption of New Technology

  • Socializing your CEO: From (un)social to social.

  • Social Technology Adoption Curve Benefits and Downsides

Fear of Change? Jump Into the Future!