"Quemo Los Barcos" is Spanish for Burn the Boats.
So, the story goes that in order to avoid mutiny before going into battle against the Aztecs, Hernan Cortes ordered his men to burn their ships so that they would have no other options available to them - they needed to stay and fight. There would be no going back to Spain.
It was fight and win ... or die trying.
And while burning his boats may have been a really good way for Cortes to ensure his people did what he wanted them to do, we've learned that management by threat of death doesn't sit well with most employees (nor with HR directors.)
Today, when it comes to technology adoption, many companies think a little like Cortes did. That is, they simply "burn down" their old systems by disabling them and leaving their people with no other options. And while this can be an effective way to get 100% adoption, we know that forcing people into behavior change is usually not a good way to get the best out of your people. Just like that old Cheap Trick song, I Want You to Want Me, we always want users to WANT to use our systems.
So, The Law of the Burning Ship isn't about burning things up, it's about starting emotional fires. It's about creating a burning platform for change and helping users see the benefits that the technology will bring to them. It means fueling a burning desire within our people to embrace the technology and use it to its fullest.
So, how do we begin to create our burning platform?
First, we have to make sure we have a rock-solid business case behind the project - this is the WHY behind the initiative. To drive desire, the WHY must be compelling. If the case for the initiative is not or cannot be compelling, then there are probably larger questions that need to be asked.
Second, the WHY must be acticulated simply - so simple a 6-year-old can understand it. If a simple explanation cannot be found, scope must be reexamined, communications re-crafted, or perhaps a new champion assigned.
Finally, communication on the WHY must be clear, consistent and relentless. Over-communication is seldom listed as a reason for technology adoption failure. There should be no ambiguity from anywhere in the organization about the who, what, where, when and the Why.
Technology adoption is critical to your organization's success. Remember, no matter how perfect the solution, or how smooth its implementation, or how under-budget the project is at completion, it doesn't matter one iota if the technology doesn't get used as it was intended. The Laws of Adoption are real and should be considered as you undertake any technology initiative. Be sure to subscribe to Pinnacle's free 24 Irrefutable Laws of Technology Adoption video series to help ensure your technology adoption success.