Rhythm is one of those tools that works best when everyone uses it, and most new clients worry about system adoption. We've all been through a poorly executed software roll out in the past, and nobody wants to be burned by that experience again. So, how do you make sure the new system "sticks" and that people in your organization see the value?
I've worked with many teams as they implemented Rhythm, and where the disconnect usually happens is when the executive team is ready to roll the tool out further in the organization. Our most successful clients use the software at the executive team level for at least a quarter before attempting to roll it out any further. This allows the leaders to develop strong habits and have success in the system; if the leaders are excited about it and can demonstrate how it helped them be more effective, it will go a long way to easing the doubts of those individual contributors you are trying to bring along.
When rolling out Rhythm, you'll have to overcome some objections. Any new software implementation is a change, and change is hard for people. I've heard most of the objections and put together some bullets for you below to help you work through them. I've found that your message is most persuasive when you start with "why." Why is this important to the company? Why is it important for our team? Why on earth is it important for me, individually? The more thought you put into the why the more successful you will be with your change initiative. We help our clients come up with an objective statement to share why Rhythm is important to the company, but you should put some thought into the why for individuals. I've pulled together some reasons why our clients who aren't on the executive team love using Rhythm that might help you with your list.
Here are some of the reasons why individual contributors love using Rhythm Software:
Know we are working on the right things. Nobody wants to work all quarter on a project only to discover that the executive team decided to go a different direction or work hard on something to deliver a result that was not what their boss expected. This is even more important for remote workers. Having the role and goal clarity (knowing who is doing what and what success looks like) is a real gift for all Rhythm users. You are spending your time working on something, so you might as well be confident it is exactly what your company needs and expects from you.
Line of sight to company strategy and numbers. Being able to see the executive team's priorities each quarter and having visibility into where your individual work ladders up to the company's strategy is highly motivating. Seeing where this priority fits into the company's overall strategic plan helps team members understand why their work is important and feel connected and engaged in achieving the company's goals.
Collaborate easily on cross-functional projects. Working with people in other departments can feel like trying to learn a new language: Rhythm gives you some common ground. You can build dashboards to see how all the work comes together from different departments and avoid the headaches of chasing people down for updates.
Avoid overload by having objective conversations about what's already on your plate. If you've already got five important priorities on your list for the quarter and your boss comes to you with a big idea, you can pull up the dashboard to show the five important things on your plate already. "Great! I can work on this new idea, but which of these other priorities that we agreed to will come off my list?" Rhythm can help you manage your workload and stay focused, aligned, and accountable.
Demonstrate goal achievement for performance conversations. Rather than going into your performance reviews with vague statements about how hard you've been working, you can bring receipts! "Here are the key priorities I completed that laddered up to these important goals for the company. Here's how my work has impacted our bottom line, and here's why I deserve that promotion!"
Here are the 3 most common objections I hear most often when bringing people further in the organization into Rhythm, along with some helpful questions to navigate through each.
1. I just don't have time for this.
- A few questions to dig deeper:
- How much time would you be willing to spend to ensure our team is aligned and working on the right things for our company to be successful?
- We are committed to doing this as a team, and for us to be successful, each of us needs to do it. What could we take off your plate to make time for this?
This one is usually an indication of something else. Everyone has 15 minutes a week to share progress on their most important projects. The truth is that updating Rhythm doesn't add more work; it helps your teams be more effective and aligned in the work they are already doing. I usually find if you dig a little deeper, time is not the real issue. If you've tried other systems that didn't "stick" in the past, people may be resistant to learning the new "flavor of the month" that they believe could go away in a few weeks. You may also uncover that people on the team are afraid of sharing their progress. There could be underlying trust or accountability issues that need to be addressed. I've found that leaders modeling strong use of the system will go a long way to easing this concern; if your executive team has time, so do you.
2. Not another software tool! We have too many systems already.
- A few questions to dig deeper:
- Our leadership team has found that this tool actually helps with multi-system chaos. Would you be willing to try it for a quarter and see what you think?
- It sounds like you're feeling system fatigue. Can you tell me more about which tools are causing you stress?
Often, the issue here is the same as the one above—not wanting another new thing that we're going to start and then stop using a few months later. This is a big reason we recommend executive teams use Rhythm for at least a quarter before rolling it out to the rest of the organization. Once you have strong adoption at the top, you can demonstrate that this tool isn't just another one in the stack. Companies who use Rhythm best are ones who use it as the operating system that sits on top of all the other systems. You may find that there are software tools and spreadsheets that Rhythm effectively replaces, but there will always be specialized tools for specific uses (i.e. your ERP, your CRM, your detailed project management system). When you use these other systems, you can integrate with Rhythm so it's easy to see how they all fit together into a cohesive strategy execution effort.
3. But I already have a system that works great for me.
- A few questions to dig deeper:
- Great! We are not going to replace what's working for you. Would you be willing to use Rhythm to help the rest of us see your progress at a high level?
- Have you ever had a hard time communicating your progress on projects with other teams or executives? Have you ever been blindsided by something another team worked on in their individual system?
To the point above, many of your teams will have tools they need for their day jobs, and Rhythm will not replace all of them. There are some key benefits of using Rhythm alongside your day-job tools:
- It helps you step back to see the big picture. What is the goal for this quarter? You can get into the weeds of project work and forget to step back and set goals, milestones, and success criteria for the quarter.
- It's an easy way to communicate high-level progress with stakeholders. Chances are your exec team wouldn't know how to log in to your Jira account, much less know where to find the high-level update on the new release you're working on.
- Stay aligned and avoid surprises. If other teams don't have visibility to your system or know how to use your tools, you will have a hard time keeping aligned with them. If the delivery team doesn't have a pulse on the sales pipeline in your CRM, they could be surprised by an increase in orders. Having everyone in one system and sharing the high-level progress on important goals keeps teams on the same page.
Hopefully, this has given you some food for thought as you plan your implementation. If you want help implementing Rhythm, our amazing team of experts is happy to help you with training and onboarding your teams. Adoption is key. We've seen all the patterns and can help you navigate even the stickiest of change management problems.
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