You are Making a Group Decision.
We’ve been discussing how you can manage change as your agency goes through a technological upgrade to a new agency management system (AMS). One of the best ways to help you manage this process is to consider the fact that this decision is a group decision.
How is it a group decision? Even if you do everything (researching, choosing, purchasing, etc.) on your own, you are taking into consideration your team. You are going to look at their strengths and where they aren’t as strong, and you will also look at the benefits the upgrade would give your team. That alone makes the decision more than just a sole decision. For example, if you have someone on your team that will be utilizing the software the most that just doesn’t handle change well, you’d want to find a system that has a great support staff that will help your team through that process. Taking that team member into consideration when picking the AMS makes the decision a group decision, whether there is overt open discussion or not.
Making group decisions can be a challenge, but these steps can help you manage the decision making-process in an easier way.
- Define the problem. You aren’t upgrading to a new AMS just for the fun of it. You are upgrading because you’re not happy with your current system whether that be paper, Excel, or another AMS. Work together to define what it is that you want to improve. Let your team bring you feedback of their relationship with the current system and where they think things could improve. Once you find the motivation for your change, it will make the process that much easier because you will all be working from the same platform towards the same goal.
- Identify a solution. This is where things can get tricky. Harvard Business Review found that the phase which causes groups the most grief is identifying the solution and agreeing on the best course of action. But there are ways to prevail. One great way Your Office Coach suggests to overcome this struggle is with a structured discussion. Have a plan for your discussion, stick to that plan and see it through. You will spend less time arguing, avoid terrible stress headaches, and come to a conclusion faster. This will also let each and every person on the team have a voice and make a contribution while also propelling your discussion to a more fully-formed end point.
- Don’t put each other down. Your team is the one that will be using the software the most; their opinions are valuable and necessary. If one on your team has become a mobilizer and firmly believes in a certain system, let their views be heard. Let them know that they have a place to speak and won’t be punished for their opinions. Likewise, if one of the members has strong objections to a certain system, let their worries be vocalized. You want to avoid groupthink at all costs. Remember, it’s what’s best for the company, not the individual. You are all a part of the agency, let everyone do their part.
"Up to half [of the team members] fear losing respect or credibility in their
organization if they push for an unpopular purchase or are unable to attract support, or if the purchase they backed turns out to be unwise.” Harvard Business Review
- Ask questions, a lot of questions. Talk to the AMS vendor sales rep. Make a list of questions; it doesn’t matter how big or small the question is, it’s still important. Ask for client testimonials and contact information, then contact them. They will be your best wealth of information because they will tell you the day-to-day dealings with the software company’s staff. One of your options could be fantastic, but without great customer support will you really be improving? Something could appear great on paper, but in actuality, it could be clunky and confusing. You will want to know these things before you buy.
- Narrow down the selections. We’ve talked before about making a pro & cons list; this is the time to use it! Narrow down your options to include only the systems that fit your agency best. You want to get the most out of the system, and you want to grow; choose a system that will grow with you.
- Discuss again. After you’ve narrowed down the options, have another structured discussion. Let anyone on your team air the grievances they may have for one system or another. This is crucial. You want to improve your system, and half of that comes from happy team members that feel they are worthwhile to the company. If they hate one system, then you should strongly consider against it.
- Make a decision. And stick to it. You’ve already double, triple, and quadruple checked everything. You and your team have picked this system and have put your faith in it. Don’t hold off just because of cold feet; follow through on your decision and see how the system can improve your agency.
These seven steps can help make group decisions easier and more fun for you and your team. They can also assist you later when managing the change when upgrading/changing your software. Having everyone on board from the beginning will make a huge difference, but the process can still be challenging. Our free guide detailing how to manage that change could be a huge help for you, your team, and your agency.
Not quite ready?
Before you start this process you need to define what your goals are and what your needs are. We know that can be difficult, so we made a free downloadable checklist that you can use with your team to help define where you want your agency to go, what tools you need to get there, and how an agency management system can be beneficial for your team.
AgencyBloc’s customized agency management system will help you organize, automate, and grow your agency. Our customer service is personalized to the needs of your agency and we will walk through the entire system with you during a one-on-one live demo. Check out our overview video to see if AgencyBloc is the solution to your problem.