November 17, 2014//Ellen NeveuxLast Updated: May 30, 2018
The world is divided into two groups – people that look for emerging technologies and those that do not. There is likely some grey area here, but for the sake of an honest conversation, you probably know which camp you fall into.
You are either someone that tries to predict the need for new solutions or too often you find yourself holding a tool that no longer works the way you need it to. The problem with the reactive nature of the latter type is that you only move forward after you’ve been kicked back.
The sales guy that still uses a flip phone, the system administrator that hesitates to push for new implementations or a manager that denies social media. They can say it works for now, but we all know their growth is handicapped. It’s much better to be on the cutting-edge than to be in the back of the pack.
If you find yourself in the reactive or slow to respond camp, it’s important to understand what drives you.
Here are the top 10 reasons people use outdated technology:
1. Ignorance is bliss, until something happens
Even with the best of intentions, we all have blind spots – the trick is keeping them to a minimum. A company’s technology stays at status quo when managers don’t understand why they are feeling pain. They have yet to discover the source of inefficiency, so it’s difficult to research tools. However, the flip side of this is that you don’t know you have options – there could be products better suited for your needs than what you’re currently using but you have no idea they exist.
Tip: Ignorance can be overcome as long as it doesn’t turn into apathy. You should have high expectations of your products. No matter what industry you’re in, there is a genius in a room creating a machine that will soon solve your problems. Make time to regularly reassess your requirements and hold your existing products and processes to that standard.
2. Apathy is the enemy of progress
Technology requires an investment of time and resources. The best products never land in your lap – they must be researched, budgeted for, vetted. Once you find them, you have to learn how to use them effectively. This takes will – you have to want it. That’s why people take such pride in the discovery of new, shiny and powerful tools.
Tip: If you don’t have interest in investing time, you will never find the best-in-class products. You may scoop up the old school gadgets that once had luster, but by then they will have been replaced by bigger better tech. Try substituting apathy with fear and greed. Be fearful of ending up in the headlines because your security systems were breached. Be greedy and deploy elite technology to get a promotion and/or that handsome bonus.
3. Overwhelm never goes away
Implementing new technology is not easy. This is a major deterrent to change. When your current process is not working and you begin to fall behind on your goals, the idea of a new implementation project is daunting.
Tip: This concern is real and valid. With growth there are pains, but without growth opportunity fades away.
4. Environment and restricting influences
You are not always at the heart of change resistance. The company you keep has a major influence on the decisions you make or are allowed to make. Sure, this is an obvious statement, but sit with the idea for a moment. It’s important to acknowledge this point because if we lose sight of why we make the decisions we do, our instincts become less effective overall.
Tip: When we talk about new technology, there are always risks involved – money, time and resources. In order to take leaps, support is usually necessary. If risk adverse individuals surround you, the likelihood of you stepping out of line decreases. Think about how you would act with no restrictions and begin to build a case for that reality.
5. Fear guides the willing
There is no surprise that fear limits technological advancements. Fear has many faces, but when technology is the topic it typically comes down to lack of evidence. How do I know this will work for me?
Tip: Research is the key to winning this battle. Do your due diligence and build confidence around a product. Identify worst-case scenarios and work through them.
6. Take pride in your work, but leave room to grow
Having confidence in what you do and the decisions you make is essential. However, technology changes everyday. Even if a product has worked for several years, it’s likely that a brilliant engineer has adapted to the new world and created something more impressive and relevant.
Tip: Make a habit of taking stock of your products to make sure they are still best-in-class.
7. Money, money, money
Early adopters tend to have disposable incomes or budgets. Price tags on new solutions to new problems can be high – but more often, new products that solve existing problems have competitive pricing.
Tip: In order to survive in a thriving market, a new product needs to win with features as well as price. Don’t be quick to write-off newness as expensive.
8. Familiar tools
You know it, you like it – been using it for years. When you’re comfortable with a product, there is little cause to make waves. This is why as late as 2011, 311 million people were still using Windows 98 or 2000. It’s easy to stick with something that you believe not only satisfies all your needs but for which you are now the foremost expert.
Tip: This compulsion is quicksand – you become trapped in your habits. However, unlike quicksand you must resist. Get uncomfortable and explore your options.
9. Timing is everything
Tough to argue with the timing excuse as it is critical to success. It’s important to identify the ideal time to implement new technology so that it has the best chance to succeed.
Tip: It should also be said that timing for new products rarely feels spot on, so select your timeline wisely and stick to it.
10. Low tolerance for change
Some people gravitate toward new opportunities and can’t wait to explore new solutions to make their lives easier. Others have no tolerance for any kind of deviation and become anxious with the thought of change.
Tip: Understand your personal drivers and try to create balance to continue moving forward.
Takeaway: New technology is born everyday – some good, some bad, some relevant, some trivial. If you want to be an expert in your field and be in position to grow, you must become a student of emerging technologies. If you tend to fight change, push yourself to get uncomfortable, do your research and become an explorer.
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