Do You Need a User Adoption Diet?

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Dieting and weight loss is hard. Many of us have tried to make healthy changes in our diet and exercise regimens only to fall off the wagon and regain the pounds a little while later.

A recent article reports that researchers found that people who practiced new healthy eating habits before starting a diet actually increased their success in maintaining weight loss in the future.

Can these same methods work for improving user adoption of your IT systems? You bet they can.

What do weight loss and user adoption have in common?

Effective IT user adoption, like sustained weight loss, both require that you make long-term, ongoing behavioral changes. Sustained weight loss requires that you adopt new, healthy ways of living. Sustained user adoption requires that you adopt new, improved ways of working.

Sure, the focus of the behavior change is different (daily life behavior vs. work behavior), but the methods for achieving success can be equally applied in both arenas.

You need to stop ‘yo-yo’ behavior

Research shows that most diets require intensive focus on eating behaviors, and that this level of intensity cannot be kept up for too long, which is when people lapse. The key to stopping yo-yo behavior was to have people make small, quick adjustments to their behavior. Small adjustments, that didn’t take a lot of effort, made it easy for people stick with new ways of eating.

Successful IT systems require that people shed their old ways of working and fully commit to new ways of performing their job. All too often, there are initial changes of behavior, but like dieting; these changes are hard to be kept up for long. By introducing small, easy changes to how people perform their jobs (such as using new systems and processes) improves the chances that the changes will stick.

Research shows that practicing behavior change increases success

People who practiced making small changes – and then observing the results – before the diet began had better results with sustaining new behaviors once they started a diet.

You can do the same with your users! Yes, you can get them to make small changes in how they do their jobs – often before the system goes live. You just need to plan out what the changes will be, schedule when they should be done, monitor the results, and then support users in sustaining them.

Get started with user adoption behaviors before the system goes live

Depending on the nature of your system and how much time you have before go-live, you are often able to de-couple the user behaviors from the system go-live. This allows you to start practicing new behaviors now, so they will be faster to adopt the new system when it goes live.

Of course, even if your deployment schedule does not allow for de-coupling of behavior change from the system go-live date, there are still ways you can help users apply these lessons to improve user adoption. Want to find out how? Read more of our blog articles, download some free resources, or schedule a complementary 30-minute consult with one of our experts to see how you can help your users improve adoption of your IT systems.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jason Whitehead
Jason Whitehead is CEO of Tri Tuns, LLC, an organizational effectiveness consultancy specializing in driving and sustaining effective user adoption of IT systems. He works at the intersection of technology, process, culture and people to help clients actually achieved measurable business benefits from their technology investments.

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