There used to be a UFO club that had an office right in the strip mall near our house. It was the joke of the neighborhood. Who were these kooks that met in the small little office? Did you have to be a little crazy to even belong to this group?
We would tease the kids and warn them not to get too close as they looked in the windows, or they would be teleported to the mother ship. This UFO club was obviously never feared by locals, because after all, what could possibly happen in a strip mall? One day the office was just empty and had the FOR LEASE sign on the window again. Did they finally catch a ride back to their planet?
What if we could travel back 100 years and tell people living in 1910 that we have seen a man go to the moon, that we make video phone calls to people living on the other side of the world, and that every day we pay $4.50 for a cup of coffee that comes in a paper cup to our automobile window as we drive by? Surely they would call us kooks and even pull their children a bit closer warning them not to get near us!
Some of us feel the pain of the time traveler within our own organizations. When you have seen the future alive in other organizations, where they are using new tools and technologies to solve problems and connect people, you are sure that others will want to learn these new ways. But this is not always the case.
Organizations are very eager to talk about change and how they are focused on moving into the future but when you start trying to implement new tools and techniques, many times the old skeptics and critics come out of the rocks telling you why it’s safer to keep things as they were, at least for now. When trying to convince these curmudgeons, I suggest you start small.
Maybe for your next conference or all hands meeting you Skype in an expert from another company to share 3 top tips for your group. Get your sales and marketing team to shift just 15 minutes a day to connecting strategically on social media sites to begin building those networks. Use handheld video cameras to get your managers and executive team members to share 5 things they know now that they wish they knew when they first started and use that in new hire training. These are a few ideas to begin expanding the thinking of a crusty-thinking organization.
Don’t scare them by trying to do too many new things at once. Instead of trying to get your team to board the mother ship, perhaps you just invite them to meeting in strip mall–after all what could happen in a strip mall?