Consistency and Adoption

Variety is the spice of life, the only constant is change; we’ve heard this all countless times but in business what we probably hear most is, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” So what happens when something breaks or better yet, becomes outdated? Usually, it gets fixed or replaced with something new but what about all the other units that aren’t broken, do you “fix” or replace them as well? You should and here is the reason why: Consistency across an organization breeds adoption. This holds true at all organizations and relates to everything from policy change to new technology. “People fear what they don’t understand, hate what they can’t conquer, I guess it’s just the fury of man”—Nasir Jones. Nas hit the nail on the head; people fear the unknown, we crave consistency and in order to adopt something new we need to be able to relate to a familiar experience.

Let’s take a look at policy change within an organization, something as simple as a time-change for a recurring meeting. Your departmental meeting has been running smoothly, with high attendance all year but now your manager decides to change the time, what happens? The first meeting starts late and has lower than usual turnout. After the meeting your manager decides it must have been the time, so he changes the meeting again and sees an even worse turnout, this keeps going until everyone starts to blow off the meeting. You may be saying, this would never happen, no one is that foolish and to be honest you’re probably right. Any manager worth their salt would change the meeting time once and stick to it, understanding that the consistency of the new time would eventually phase out the familiarity of the old time. Why should this level of commitment and consistency be any different with technology?

Well, technology is a bit more difficult to handle than a policy. You wouldn’t change all meeting times just because you changed one so why change the user experience from one piece of technology to the other, you wouldn’t? If you want your organization to feel comfortable using the technology at hand it should be as consistent across all platforms as possible. The phones should work as well in the lobby as they do at your desk, the video conferencing in your board room should be as easy to use as the video conferencing on your PC. People don’t like change, especially from room to room. If you give people a choice between something they know how to use and something new/different (especially in the workplace) they will almost always go with what is familiar, so why give them that choice?

When presenting new policies and especially new technologies keep things consistent to maximize adoption. Everyone is resistant to change but if the way that someone interacts with their phone is the same as how they dial a video conference they are going to be a lot more comfortable using both. For concrete examples of consistent user experience across an organization feel free to contact us on our website or give us a call at 716.856.1182