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It’s the Technology Laggards That Cost You the Most

Laggards are people in your company who have stopped learning and actually insist on doing their job in the same way they have been doing it, and for one reason: it’s the way they’ve been doing it. Investing in your laggards to drive software utilization is a good investment.


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About Jennifer Matt

Jennifer Matt is the managing editor of WhatTheyThink’s Print Software section as well as President of Web2Print Experts, Inc. a technology-independent print software consulting firm helping printers with web-to-print and print MIS solutions.


By Robert Godwin on Apr 07, 2021

Adoption of new systems is always the challenge. It makes an implementer want to scream "JUST DO IT". That is demeaning, of course. Commanding compliance just generates resentment. And so your article addresses the biggest challenge in software: the human element. Envision laggard attitudes as an opportunity; those folks represent perhaps the least expensive and fastest path to internal efficiences. People can change, and do, when they care about the business that employs them. The pandemic seems to have made many people come to that realization: Give a shit or move on.
Thanks for addressing the feature most software sales people omit, the human element.


By Brian Shipe on Apr 07, 2021

"the laggards in your company will prevent even the best software from reaching its potential"

Scenario 1 - Trade the car in
Scenario 3 - Trade the car in (Upgrading a 14 mpg Hummer to 35 mpg Toyota is not a thing)
Scenario 2 - Make inaccurate machines more accurate.

"Maybe" we can apply Scenario 2 to nice, loyal, long-term, laggard employees. But what does "help them evolve to present-day standards" look like in practical terms? Especially when software developer documentation (lack of) seems to love the mantra of "Learn-by-Doing".

Seth Godin & Jennifer have touched on Learn-by-Doing as a good thing. Does that also apply to laggard employees?

Both articles highlight Self Directed learning. Putting a laggard on a Self Directed learning project with a presentation at the end - I'm not so sure about that one.

So, back to "help them evolve to present-day standards".

Is that 1:1 training in the new ERP software application or some kind of aptitude upskilling that demonstrates (to them) they can still learn and being a beginner is not that scary?


By Joe Lindfeldt on Apr 09, 2021

I've found that there is a broader issue, without needing to single out the laggards. That is a culture of learning and adaptability. Building a culture of learning and adaptability is subtle and takes time, but I've found that this tends to help everyone's ability to evolve and get very comfortable with agility. If we bake learning and adaption into the culture, it permeates everything and everyone. If we precisely try to teach or bring a laggard along, it's a very long game and a lot of knife fights. In a culture of learning, laggards use their self awareness to either get on the bus or move along. They don't hang around too long because their egos can't handle feeling like the outcast. So my advice is start with foundational culture, and ride that horse for a while. For those willing and unable or able yet unwilling, they will certainly move on peacefully in their own time. Those who are willing and able should get the attention and praise.


By Robert Godwin on Apr 09, 2021

"willing and unable or able yet unwilling, they will certainly move on peacefully in their own time."
I have become a fan of 'Hire slow, fire fast'.
Hire Slow- helps get the right type of person for the company culture.
Fire Fast- Can't wait around for people to slowly adapt. Lead, follow or get the hell out of the way. Waiting a laggard out to leave ruins the ROI of whatever efficiency solution is deployed.



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