SharePoint. Treadmills. And the commitment to change.

Posted by: Stephanie Donahue on January 26, 2014

It’s that time of year where exercise is on everyone’s mind.  You have your gym regulars irritated that there are all these new people at the gym doing their best and you have all the new people swearing this is going to be the year they change!   And good for all of you to be there doing your thing.

I happen to be runner, and what hit me the other day as I was slugging away on my own treadmill, is that SharePoint is a lot like a treadmill.  The treadmill in and of itself is a fantastic piece of equipment, but simply setting it up in your house and plugging it in doesn’t guarantee success.  In the same sense, we can’t expect to purchase and install SharePoint and expect it to do magical things for an organization overnight.

You start out with all of this motivation, you’re going to do things right!  You’ll roll out SharePoint, everyone is going to love it and by this time next year your company will be in excellent shape – collaborating effectively and bringing in the company lots of money.

Then reality sets in. All the excuses start.   We’re too busy.  Too busy working.  Too busy for governance meetings.  Too busy to change the way we already do things. Too busy for training. Too busy to sit down and plan a roadmap that explains our current process and how to make it more effective.   For those of you thinking, we can’t afford training!  That’s like buying the treadmill and then claiming you can’t buy a good pair of running shoes.  Running barefoot works for a while, but it won’t get you as far.  Trust me, I’ve tried :-)

Getting your company or organization in shape requires a long term commitment to change the way you work, change the way you think about sharing information and of course, it requires making some good decisions.  Or at least getting back on the wagon after falling off.   You can’t just do a half-hearted rollout of SharePoint, or any content management system, and expect things to take care of themselves.

We need to apply our new mindset in every area of our work.  A commitment to share documents in a collaborative space, a commitment to converting paper process into electronic ones, a commitment to be patient as employees gradually learn to change their way of thinking and adapt to new technology. Without the commitment, SharePoint will be like a forgotten resolution to get healthy.

It’s not easy.  I can tell you that those who sit down and make a hard commitment and stay dedicated to it over time will be the ones that succeed.  But if you are sitting there wondering why your SharePoint deployment hasn't gone better, I would ask – has your company made the commitment to change?

Topics: Change Management, Governance, SharePoint, SharePoint Solutions

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