Tools

When a company implements a new tool, that is no guarantee the tool is going to fix the issue it was hired to address.

Actually, in most cases, it is quite the opposite.

A tool is merely a helper, enabling you to do something. It has very little to do with the definition of what “something” is, and even less with the act of doing itself.

I have experienced companies changing tools over and over again in the attempt to address, for example, a lack of internal communication. This is quite a typical situation in fast-growing organisations. The new tool is usually a fancy and shiny object for the first five minutes, and then people suddenly realise that: 1. they do not know what to communicate; 2. they do not know who to communicate to. And so, the new tool is mainly left unused, or is misused, and the problem persists.

Tools should always be implemented in a solid cultural and practical framework.

Culture is what tell you what to do. In the internal communication example, it tells what to communicate, how to communicate, who to communicate to, how often, for what purposes, and so on. So if a company is undercommunicating, a new tool is not going to solve it, because most likely it is not in their DNA to communicate. Or at least, they still haven’t defined an idea of internal communication that is worth following.

Practice is the act of doing itself. This is usually not very formal, though it can be (for example, a company can have a schedule for internal newsletters, updates, memos, etc.). And still, people working in an organisation know that there are certain things that need to be done, as it is part of their culture. Needless to say, managers and leaders have a dominant role in translating what to do in doing. If a company wants to be better at communicating, and (for very legitimate reasons) its managers and leaders think of communication as a least important task on the list of to-dos, a new tool is not going to send out messages in their place.

We have the tendency to give too much importance to the tool we choose and its features, when actually most of what is needed is already available. Of course, setting the stage for what needs to be done and for doing it means making decisions, and that translates into having a serious look into what is front and center to the organisation. The scarcity of resources is not something that can be addressed with technology, I am afraid.

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