We’ve heard that old phrase taken from the movie Field of Dreams, “If you build it, they will come.” The truth is…they won’t. It takes more than just creating or building something for people to use it. People have to understand the WIIFM – what’s in it for me – before they start using something.
Here’s an example: A company builds a terrific repository of information for employees to use. It’s great because all of the information is online and accessible anytime. But employees don’t use it. Why? Well, there could be several reasons:
- No one knew it existed.
- It’s easier just to walk around the corner and ask someone.
- The system has a lot of information but it’s not updated regularly.
- Information located in one section of the system doesn’t match information found in another section.
- And the list goes on.
When we create things, part of the process needs to be establishing a clear understanding of how it will be maintained. I’ve seen plenty of great things created that fall to the wayside because no one stopped to consider what happens once it’s implemented.
Here’s another great example I’m sure you’ve seen before. A group meets to discuss some sort of organizational challenge. Someone says, “We should do XX.” Everyone agrees. Then nothing happens. Because the person who came up with the idea thinks they’re done. They came up with the idea. And the others weren’t specifically told they were supposed to implement the idea. So the idea never gets implemented.
Or here’s another one. A group meets and decides they are going to create XX. And they do. The group designs and builds a terrific solution. Then they go back to their regular daily activities. After a few months, the group realizes no one is using the solution they created. Because the group thought communicating the new resource and maintaining it was someone else’s job. They were just supposed to create it. Oh, and now it’s outdated.
If your job is to build something, consider all the phases. Not just design and creation. But how to implement, communicate and maintain it. Otherwise, all of your hard work could be for nothing.
Image courtesy of kuroda0