Colleagues and IT: how do you get them to adapt faster?

15 November 2019

You already know your way around the digital landscape. Colleagues know where to find you with questions as soon as they have any IT related problem. You ensure that you stay current and you keep searching for possibilities on how ICT can support and improve the education at your school. A change is imminent. You want to, but now the rest of the team. How do you do that?


With almost all changes there is this brick wall: resistance. We all know: prevention is better than cure. But how do you do that? Step 1 is always to create support. You may have been busy for some time with the potential change that is bound to happen. You have sorted things out, and discussed the change with the principal. For your colleagues, it is being presented on a beautiful day, and they have to start working with this new ‘thing’. Then resistance comes around. Certainly when it affects their daily work practice.


Ensure that you inform your colleagues from the start. You are looking for a solution for problem A. Involve your colleagues. Share the reason why a change is needed. Do they have any ideas or is there something you really need to take into account? Who knows, you might have missed something. This way they are informed and can give their input. Keep them in the loop in the following phases. You have focused on the solution and you are probably going for solution B. Then looked at parties and company C is now preferred. Of course, it depends on which change you are facing, but these could be the phases.


Fear and uncertainty

Lack of enthusiasm for the new solution can arise from fear. Anxiety may sound a bit heavy, but it is an attitude when the unknown presents itself. ‘What does this mean for me? Can I do this, I don’t know much about computers? ” In addition, the uncertainty quickly comes into play. You can anticipate this by minimizing the fear for change Ensure that the team receives training to work with the product as soon as possible after the introduction of the IT change. Isn’t everyone at the same IT level? Then divide the group int two. By building up knowledge and knowing the tricks of the product, you make people more confident.


This is going to take time

Another common objection is: I don’t have time for that at all. Do I have to do this every day? If you get this kind of signs, you may have skipped a step: identify the benefits and show them. You explained that you think you have found a solution for problem X, but how does it actually help your colleague in the classroom? Show concrete examples. Show how it works, while the teacher and the rest of the class are watching. And yes, is it going to cost you extra time? Of course, you have to invest the time, in the beginning, to get to know everything about the product. The intention is that IT will take work off your hands in the long term. If this is not the experience, something goes wrong.

So here is a list:

  • Involve your colleagues from the beginning
  • Share the reason for the change
  • Ask for input and suggestions
  • Name the benefits and let them experience


Three ways to make the change

Not all your colleagues will make the change with the same degree of acceptance and enthusiasm. They can be roughly divided into three groups. Consider in which group you want to invest the most energy.

Group 1, the most enthusiastic group, leads the way. “How nice, something new, I’m going to try it right away!” You only need to support this group where necessary.

The middle class asks a few more questions, looks at it for a while, finds it quite exciting, hears about the positive experiences of the colleagues from the first group and starts. This group needs knowledge, skills and can use some of your persuasiveness at the start. Why are we doing this again?

The third group has been digging their heels in the sand from the start (“I didn’t ask for this”) or very passively (“It will take my time”). Have you completed all of the above steps with them, but are they still standing with their arms crossed in the corner? That will cost you energy. Sometimes you can’t get away from it: a change that is implemented throughout the whole district, everyone has to come along. You can then ask yourself what the best way is to your energy. Does that go to the largest group, the mid-range drivers that you can support with training and explanation, or the individual who is not open to your attempts to make something of it together?

Hold it

You are now a few steps further in the process. The change has been implemented. Then don’t fall into the trap of thinking: I’m here. Even today, colleagues can drop out due to a lack of involvement. There are examples of schools that organize an IT moment every week. This is the time to ask your question, help each other and share new tips or experiences.

Also make sure that someone is available to support your colleagues, certainly in the initial phase. Someone who can and wants to make time for this and knows how to handle all questions patiently.
Give the right example. Show how IT will help in the daily work. IT is not scary! For example, use a handy app for team meetings or show how you got those well-organized diagrams in your spreadsheet for the parents’ evening with Explorer.

Is your school on the threshold of a change? Can you use some more tools and knowledge in this area? Make sure that you are completely ready yourself. Read in, ask about experiences from another school or book a call with our COOL specialists.

  • Schedule a recurring accessible IT moment
  • Make a person in the organization available for questions
  • Give the right example
  • Be prepared yourself for the change process